Progressive Cologne 1920-33
Museum Ludwig Cologne : March 15 - June 15, 2008
Over thirty years have passed since the Cologne Progressives were last the subject of a large-scale exhibition. Based in Cologne, the loosely organized artistic circle rejected the notion that art stand in the service of radical politics. Instead, they sought a new and unique formal language re-shaped by class consciousness. The end of the Cologne Progressives coincided with the end of the Weimar Republic. During the Nazi period their art was declared "degenerate."
The Museum Ludwig introduces a new generation to the art of the Cologne Progressives. With an eye to the leftist political aims of the group, the exhibition is, crucially, an examination of their artistic practice. Critical of the contemporaneous Neue Sachlichkeit, the group looked to modern impulses from France, the Netherlands and the Soviet Union. By focusing on three core members, Franz Wilhelm Seiwert, Heinrich Hoerle and Gerd Arntz, the exhibition will reveal the group’s shared project as never before.
In addition to works from the collection of the Museum Ludwig, over forty paintings and seventy works on paper from an international array of museums and private collections will be on view - some for the very first time. Original issues of their programmatic journal a bis z, as well as key catalogs and documents from the 1920s and 1930s, will point to the group’s motives and their resonance in Germany and beyond.
A Symposium 'Form & Gesellschaft' on 4-5 April 2008 will accompany the exhibition.