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The Painter Otto Dix and his Wife Martha  











The Painter Otto Dix and His Wife Martha, photo by August Sander (1925–26)


                  What's New
"Countries without Holocausts on their history books can also learn from Germany's grown-up, vigilant and dutiful culture of remembrance."  (The Economist, 8/13/17) At this year's Bayreuth Festival, Barrie Kosky presents a high-concept Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg that stars Richard Wagner himself.  (The Guardian, 7/27/17; The New York Times, 8/1/17; The New York Review of Books, 8/8/17) In Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919-1933, Tate Liverpool gives us the brilliant pairing of August Sander and Otto Dix, delivering "an evocation of a time and place that will stop you in your tracks."  (The Telegraph, 6/23/17; The Observer, 6/25/17; The Quietus, 7/2/17)


                  The Protestant Reformation turns 500
"Reconciling the confusing, often paradoxical origins of Protestantism in Luther and his successors seems like a good project for a half-millennium retrospective." (The Nation, 7/12/17) Through his hymns, Luther is grandfather of a musical revolution that shared and adapted, united in stomping change on the world through rousing melodies and simple words."  (BBC, 5/24/17) "Get ready to start hearing a lot about Martin Luther..." In advance of the Protestant Reformation's 500th anniversary, Lyndal Roper has written a thought-provoking biography of a difficult hero. (Literary Review, 6/2016; The Spectator, 6/11/16; The Weekly Standard, 5/5/17)


                   Music
"In 1960, four years after the venerable Blue Note Records signed pianist Jutta Hipp, she stopped performing entirely." Here's a look back at the too-short career of Europe's "First Lady of Jazz."  (Longreads, 8/4/17) The world's most powerful leaders just attended a performance of Beethoven's Ninth. How well did they listen?  (Los Angeles Times, 7/8/17; The New York Times, 7/9/17; The New Yorker, 7/12/17) Beginning in September 1965, Beat Club brought the youth rock revolution to German television viewers. (Open Culture, 5/25/17)


                  Art & Design
There's billowing smoke, horizontal piping, and an impressive Parthenon of banned books at Kassel's Documenta 14.  (Apollo, 6/19/17; The New York Times, 6/23/17; Deutsche Welle, 7/28/17) In Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919-1933, Tate Liverpool gives us the brilliant pairing of August Sander and Otto Dix, delivering "an evocation of a time and place that will stop you in your tracks."  (The Telegraph, 6/23/17; The Observer, 6/25/17; The Quietus, 7/2/17) Don't worry about Betroffenheitskitsch, and take another look at the work of Käthe Kollwitz.  (artnet, 7/18/17)


                  Books & Ideas
"Can German philosophy be consumed at a common, everyday level without being dumbed down or having its ideas stripped of their complexity?"  (Foreign Policy, 7/24/17) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie revisits Albert Speer's Inside the Third Reich(The New Yorker, 8/1/17) John le Carré makes an eloquent case for studying German. "Those who teach language, those who cherish its accuracy and meaning and beauty, are the custodians of truth in a dangerous age."   (The Guardian, 7/1/17)


                  Film
In Cate Shortland's new thriller, Berlin Syndrome, handsome German stranger meets cute with Australian tourist—and then he imprisons her.  (The Guardian, 4/19/17; The New York Times, 5/25/17) If I Think of Germany at Night, a new documentary by Romuald Karmukar, is an intimate portrait of techno DJs at work. (The Hollywood Reporter, 2/14/17; The Economist, 5/22/17) "Shot in evocative black and white, 'Karl Marx City' is a sleek, absorbing detective story, a fascinating primer on mass surveillance in the pre-Snowden era, and a roving memoir of East German life."  (The New York Times, 3/28/17; NPR, 3/30/17; Los Angeles Times, 4/20/17)


                  Theater
At this year's Bayreuth Festival, Barrie Kosky presents a high-concept Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg that stars Richard Wagner himself.  (The Guardian, 7/27/17; The New York Times, 8/1/17; The New York Review of Books, 8/8/17) Lucie Pohl introduces us to her not quite German, not quite American existence in her one-woman show, Hi, Hitler.  (The New York Times, 7/16/17; The Broadway Blog, 7/17/17) "Wim Wenders, Daniel Barenboim and Georges Bizet: when giants meet, the outcome should be huge." Alas, The Pearl Fishers earns only mixed reviews at the Berlin Staatsoper.  (The New York Times, 6/20/17; Financial Times, 6/26/17)


                  History
"Countries without Holocausts on their history books can also learn from Germany's grown-up, vigilant and dutiful culture of remembrance."  (The Economist, 8/13/17) A glass of block-ade, anyone? In January 1949, the American Women's Club of Berlin published a cheerful cookbook called Operation Vittles.  (Slate, 8/4/17) Germany's imperial government knew a thing or two about meddling in their enemy's domestic affairs.  (The New York Times, 6/19/07; The New York Times, 7/17/17)


                  Et Cetera
"Suddenly Merkel’s astonishing trajectory—from the ash heap of the failed Soviet Empire to becoming the West’s best hope—makes perfect sense: Endure, observe, listen, keep your own counsel, and work twice as hard as the men."  (Vogue, 7/18/17; The New York Times, 7/23/17) "Vorsprung durch Cheating"? It seems that Daimler, BMW, Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen have been secretly coordinated technical standards, pricing, and other matters for years.  (Politico, 7/25/17; Spiegel Online - International, 7/27/17; Financial Times, 8/1/17) Yes, there is a German Spelling Council, and it gets to create new letters and tell us how to use them. SCHEIẞE!  (The Awl, 7/5/17; The Local, 7/11/17; Quartz, 7/20/17)