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  1. #1
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    Hitler's Watercolors Defaced by Modern "Art"...

    May 30, 2008

    Jake and Dinos Chapman go to work on 'abject' Hitler art

    Ben Hoyle, Arts Reporter

    Adolf Hitler's stint as a jobbing painter has always been rather overshadowed by his subsequent career in politics. However, nearly a century after the future Führer was rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, 13 of his watercolours go on show today in a London art gallery.

    They are the star attraction in a new exhibition by Jake and Dinos Chapman, the Young British Artists famous for showing mannequins of children with genitalia instead of faces and for Hell, a series of nightmarish Hieronymus Bosch-style dioramas arranged in the shape of a swastika, which was destroyed in the Momart warehouse fire in East London in 2004.

    Bought anonymously from collectors around the world for a total of £115,000, the Hitler watercolours are mostly plodding landscapes and a few smaller studies. The Chapman brothers have transformed them — the gallery uses the word “annihilated” — by painting rainbows, psychedelic skies, floating lovehearts and smiley faces into the background of each picture. The resulting work is now available as a job lot for £685,000. The brothers said that they were expecting angry reactions to the work but denied that it was offensive or that they were profiting from Hitler's notoriety.

    The show, at the White Cube gallery in Mayfair, is called If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be, drawing on the joke that the Second World War and the Holocaust might not have happened if Hitler had been more fulfilled as a painter.

    During his time as a struggling artist in Vienna between 1910 and 1913, Hitler painted more than 1,000 paintings by his own recollection.

    Originally sold for a handful of coins on the street and in beer halls, the value of the pictures increased sharply after he rose to power in the 1930s. They remain highly collectable.

    Tim Marlow, director of exhibitions at the White Cube, insisted that the Chapman brothers' project was not glorifying the work. “There's no question about them paying homage to them,” he said. “These are very bad paintings - abject paintings - and Jake and Dinos have now annihilated them. We bought them anonymously because the last thing we wanted was to increase the market for Hitler's work.”

    The original paintings are so “bland and benign” that they give no hint of the artist's monstrous imagination, the Chapman brothers said.

    They have attempted to use them to explore one of their favourite themes: their obsession with the psychology of the artist to the exclusion of the art itself.

    Jake, the younger brother, said: “It's endemic to the way people read art, to look for something in a work that's an indicator of some kind of symptomatic trauma or a revelation of the artist's inner self, rather than trying to identify how the work works.

    “When you look at the Hitler paintings you try to work out if this person was ill or mad or whether this is in some way axiomatic of someone who will go on to kill seven million people. [But] the drawings of themselves aren't offensive.”

    James Smith, chief executive of the Holocaust Centre in Newark, said: “Hitler's mediocrity and blandness as an artist illustrate that it takes neither a genius nor a psychopath to organise genocide, and as such, his paintings do have some value as historical artefacts. Painting over his originals to make a point about the past and its relation to the present is probably the most appropriate form of vandalism I have encountered.”
    Link

    What gross historical and cultural vandalism, he was a butcher and some people here are not impressed by his objectively middling but competent artwork, yet Adolf Hitler was fifty times the artist than these modern art hacks are: what next? Demolish castles because they were built by feudal lords that owned people? Smash up Aztec daggers because they were used in human sacrifices? Burn all Medeval copies of the Koran and Bible?


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  4. #2
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    I think it's brilliant.
    Adolf Hitler was fifty times the artist than these modern art hacks are
    You, sir, are a tool.

    Tristan Elwell
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    I was to write a big rant about that, but honestly I don't know what to think of this.

    In general, taking an artist and severely alering his work long after he is dead (Last supper, anyone?), I find that to be unethical and highly disrespectful.

    On the other hand, we are speaking about Hitler here and not daVnci and frankly speaking I do not see the historical value of those paintings. So I don't really care wether they get burnt, altered or something.

    Just don't do that shit with my paintings when I'm dead, k?

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    LOL. Hitler's art is always a joke in my college history classes.

    Sorry it's just I can't sympathize here, Hitler was a monster, and I couldn't care less if they mangled his art.

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    There is a difference between japanese feudal lords and hitler. There aren't any still living survivors from the japanese waring states period. Also, the culture as a whole had time to heal, grow, forgive and ultimately forget.

    The holocaust is still a fresh wound.


    Quote Originally Posted by Big Orange View Post
    Adolf Hitler was fifty times the artist than these modern art hacks are
    I agree with Elwell here.
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    This is definitely irritating.

    On the one hand, I suppose if you pay half a million dollars for something, you should be able to do whatever you want with it... But to just paint over the backgrounds of the originals like that? I don't know, it seems wrong. They could have accomplished much the same effect by working on reproductions rather than the originals, and then the whole thing about profiting from Hitler's work would be less of an issue. If a couple German artists had attempted something similar with one of Churchill's paintings, it would be an international scandal. You'd think these things would have some additional value as historical artifacts, that would prevent something like this from happening.

    "Painting over his originals to make a point about the past and its relation to the present is probably the most appropriate form of vandalism I have encountered.”
    It doesn't sit well with me, even if the artist is near universally despised. One would hope that Jake and Dinos at least had the foresight to properly photo-archive the watercolors, before they ‘annihilated’ them.
    Last edited by Jasonwclark; May 31st, 2008 at 01:15 PM.

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    In my oppinion those paintings have great historical value as in many ways they help us to understand that there was more to Hitler than a raving, murderous, lunatic. This isn't to say that he was a great guy or anything of the sort. However such paintings help to remind us that the man was still human, not some demon of pure evil spewed forth from the depths of Hell. He had passions and aspirations aside from murdering off large groups of people. While I'm no huge fan of the guy I think that defacing his work is an act of vandalism, and cannot be excused by the fact that he was "a bad guy."

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    It doesn't sit well with me, even if the artist is near universally despised.
    i really have to say i agree
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    Why destroy historical artifacts just because the creator of them was immoral? That's madness.

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    People don't own artworks. And they don't own historical artifacts. They just rent them until they die or give up the lease to someone else for a price.

    These pieces did not belong to the people who bought them. They should have acted as good custodians.

    What if I could buy the best Rembrandt, the best Mucha, the best Klimt, the best Frazetta... and then I decided to set fire to them as an artistic statement? Anybody here want to support that?

    This is the worst kind of pandering sniveling pathetic destructive "art act" I have ever heard of. Nobody has been brought back from the dead by this. Nobody has been saved. No future Hitler is going to care.

    All that has happened is defacement for publicity.

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  17. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    I think it's brilliant.

    You, sir, are a tool.
    But that is the truth sadly, the credibility and worth of much of mainstream critical art has really declined down the crapper if average art from an important (if vicious) historical figure is hidously defaced by infantile, talent free doodling by overpaid twits and is somehow seen as highly creative.

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    The current state of western culture breeds contempt, disrespect, and total ignorance of the past. This is just a sign of the times. I don't agree with destroying historical artifacts from the most prominent figure of the 20th century, despite how sick and evil he was.

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    People have already said it so there's no reason to go on about it; destroying/defacing any historical art, no matter how evil or misguided the person was who made it, is doing a huge disservice to future generations who want to experience/study it.

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    Deface≠destroy.

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    That's why I put the slash

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