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German Gallery Severs Ties with Axel Krause Over His Stance on Immigration

Galerie Kleindienst in Leipzig, Germany, has parted ways with painter Axel Krause, who has been represented by the gallery for the last thirteen years, over their differing political views. The end of the professional relationship comes on the heels of several posts Krause published on his Facebook page that expressed support for the country’s conservative AfD party, as well as views that were against immigration.

In an interview with German broadcaster MDR KULTUR, gallery partner and business director Christian Seyde said, “the gallery does not want to share or support Krause’s political views.” Defending the decision to drop the painter from the gallery’s roster, he added that, on principle, it could no longer provide him with a public platform.

Associated with the New Leipzig School, which artists such as Neo Rauch emerged from, Krause defended what he wrote. His posts ranged from calling the refugee crisis “illegal mass immigration” to declaring that he is about to become a minority in his own country.

Krause expressed that the gallery shouldn’t conflate the artist with the art and accused Seyde of censorship. In response, Seyde said: “I’m not a public institution or an institution of public interest. I have a commercial gallery where I organize and sell exhibitions, and I don’t have to represent every viewpoint that exists in society.”

The artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery was mounted in 2005. Since then, he has staged the shows “Visitation” (2007), “Black Sea” (2010), and “Spätfilm” (2015).