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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
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) 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)


                  Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"The times in which we could rely fully on others, they are somewhat over."  (The Economist, 5/28/17; The New York Times, 5/28/17; The Washington Post, 5/28/17; The American Interest, 5/29/17; The Berlin Policy Journal, 5/30/17) "The Germans are bad, very bad."  (Slate, 5/25/17; Bloomberg, 5/26/17; Handelsblatt Global, 5/26/17; Spiegel Online - International, 5/26/17) What does the decline of democracy look like? Ask a German historian.  (Die Zeit, 2/1/17; Los Angeles Review of Books, 2/5/17; Gothamist, 2/6/17; Slate, 2/10/17; The New York Review of Books, 2/26/17; The Nation, 2/28/17; The New York Review of Books, 4/20/17; The Globe and Mail, 7/6/17; The Guardian, 7/15/17)


                   Music
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) In The Political Orchestra, Fritz Trümpi examines the experiences of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras under National Socialism.  (Times Higher Education, 2/9/17; Literary Review, 3/2017; Commentary, 6/14/17)


                  Art & Design
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) Six caves in southwestern Germany, "home to some of the world's oldest art," have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.  (artnet, 7/11/17)


                  Books & Ideas
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) "Sebald’s work can put you in mind of Diderot selling his library to Catherine the Great: he seems to be downloading everything he has ever read."  (The New Yorker, 6/5/17) Danke, Rebecca Schuman, for bringing us Schadenfreude: A Love Story, a bildungsroman channeling "the weltschmerz of a former wunderkind rejected by the professoriat and exiled to the creative lumpenproletariat." The freude is ours!  (Slate, 2/16/17; Open Letters Monthly, 6/1/17)


                  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
"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) Berlin's Volksbühne has a new artistic director (farewell, Frank Castorf)—but Chris Dercon is unlikely to get a standing ovation from the local theater community anytime soon.  (dispositio, 5/20/17; Deutsche Welle, 5/17/17; Financial Times, 5/26/17) The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar Warehouse: "Any suggestion of a correlation between the leader of a certain nation and the homicidal gangsters we depict is something that the management must strictly disavow.”  (The Guardian, 5/2/17; Financial Times, 5/3/17; The Independent, 5/3/17)


                  History
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) Historian Rolf Peter Sieferle continues to spark debate with his essay collection Finis Germania, published after his death.   (The New York Times, 7/8/17) Caroline of Ansbach, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz get their due in a new exhibition at Kensington Palace.  (The Economist, 6/29/17)


                  Et Cetera
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) Business at the port is down, but spirits at the Elbphilharmonie are up. After the G20 summit is over, what will Hamburg's future look like?  (Spiegel Online - International, 6/26/17) A chance comment by Angela Merkel became her very own "Schabowski moment," leading to the legalization of same-sex marriage less than one week later.  (Politico, 6/30/17; The Washington Post, 6/30/17; The Economist, 7/1/17)