“Kunst in der DDR”

Neue Nationalgalerie

This exhibition was not to be missed. The first—and perhaps, unfortunately, the last—massive museum survey of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and film made in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the forty years of its existence (1949–89), “Kunst in der DDR” (Art in the GDR) couldn’t have been timelier. Its opening coincided, albeit unintentionally, with a cresting wave of nostalgia in Germany for East Germany. Six and a half million viewers watched the inaugural episode of the DDR Show on German television the first week in September, and almost as many—six million—went to German movie theaters earlier this year to see Wolfgang Becker’s Good Bye, Lenin! Apparently the GDR has become a kind of curiosity cabinet that Germans find sentimentally appealing. Riding on this wave, “Art in the GDR” became an unexpected blockbuster: More than ten thousand

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