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Castaway Modernism

Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art

NEUBAU / 22.10.2022–19.02.2023 / Curators: Dr Eva Reifert, Dr Tessa Rosebrock

The Kunstmuseum Basel’s department of classic modernism houses one the most prestigious collections of its kind. It was in fact assembled at a comparatively late date. In the summer of 1939 — shortly before the outbreak of World War II — Georg Schmidt (1896–1966), the museum’s director at the time, managed to acquire twenty-one avant-garde masterpieces all at once. The works were among those denounced in 1937 by Nazi cultural policy as “degenerate” and forcibly removed from German museums. The Third Reich’s Ministry of Propaganda correctly assumed that a portion of such works would find buyers abroad and bring in foreign currency. In this way certain artworks deemed “internationally exploitable” reached the art market via various channels.

The exhibition Castaway Modernism illuminates all the facets of one particular moment in Basel’s collecting history. It also looks at how the cultural violence committed by the Nazi regime led to an artificial scattering of modern art. That act of selection — sorting some works into the category of “exploitable” while condemning others to oblivion or destruction — still casts a shadow over museum collections around the world. The show is both art-historical and historical in scope and tells unexpected stories of people, artworks, and commerce.


Events for this exhibition

Fri21Oct

VERNISSAGE

NEUBAU, HAUPTBAU Atelier
18:30–21:00

Vernissage: «Castaway Modernism - Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

We cordially invite you to the vernissage «Castaway Modernism - Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art».

Sun23Oct

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Guided tour of the exhibition: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Public guided tour in french. Cost: Admission + 5 CHF

Wed2Nov

NEUBAU
18:30–19:30

Guided tour of the exhibition: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Guided tour of the exhibition with curator Eva Reifert. Cost: Admission + 5 CHF

Sun6Nov

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Guided tour in English: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Guided tour in English. Costs: Admission + 5 CHF

Wed9Nov

FÜHRUNG

NEUBAU
18:30–19:30

Visite guidée en français «La modernité déchirée»

Visite guidée en Francais avec la conservatrice Tessa Rosenbrock. Frais: Entrée + CHF 5

Sat12Nov

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Guided tour of the exhibition: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Public guided tour. Cost: Admission + 5 CHF

Sat19Nov

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Guided tour of the exhibition: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Public guided tour. Cost: Admission + 5 CHF

Sat26Nov

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Guided tour of the exhibition: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Public guided tour. Cost: Admission + 5 CHF

Sun27Nov

FÜHRUNG

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Visite guidée en français «La modernité déchirée»

Visite guidée en Francais avec la conservatrice Tessa Rosenbrock. Frais: Entrée + CHF 5

Sat3Dec

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Guided tour of the exhibition: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Public guided tour. Cost: Admission + 5 CHF

Sun4Dec

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Guided tour in English: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Guided tour in English. Costs: Admission + 5 CHF

Sat10Dec

NEUBAU
14:00–15:00

Guided tour of the exhibition: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Public guided tour. Cost: Admission + 5 CHF

Sat17Dec


14:00–15:00

Guided tour of the exhibition: «Castaway Modernism Basel’s Acquisitions of "Degenerate" Art»

Public guided tour. Cost: Admission + 5 CHF

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