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A meshugener in the Haus der Kunst

Sunday, 14 April, 2013

Yiddish

When the Nazis decided to erect a monument, one that would glorify the concept of art as propaganda and venerate their Aryan supremacist ideology, they chose Munich, the “Capital of the Movement”, as the location. The Haus der Kunst (House of Art) “) at Prinzregentenstrasse 1 opened on 18 July 1937 with the Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung (“Great German art exhibition”), intended as a contrast to the parallel Entartete Kunst (“Degenerate art”) exhibit of modernist works, meant to incite revulsion against the “perverse Jewish spirit” penetrating German culture.

These days, the façade of Haus der Kunst displays “The Joys of Yiddish” by the American conceptual artist Mel Bochner. The words are in yellow, the colour of the badges the Nazis forced Jews to wear, and the vocabulary is that of a language once spoken by millions of people across Europe. By the way, in Yiddish, a meshugener is a crazy person.


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