Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Artifacts of WWII Enola Gay B-29

The Enola Gay B-29 was designed to fly in European theaters but some how ended up all the way in the pacific delivering a variety of bombs, including conventional bombs, incendiary bombs, mines and finally even a  nuclear bomb.  The Enola Gay dropped the first Atomic Bomb in WWII on August 6, 1945 on the city of Hiroshima, Japan.  It then flew support for the second bomb dropping in Nagasaki, Japan.  There where twelve American pilots on that flight. The plane was manufactured by Boeing in Nebraska, and now rests in an annex hangar to the National Air and Space Museum.  Its controversial past prevents it from being displayed in the normal museum.

Alternative Label #1: Enola Gay

Post your museum label here as a comment by end of day, Wednesday, February 26.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stephanie's Article posted week of February 24th - 28th

Hello all, I am posting the weekly article, and I came across this 60 Minutes section, the video is only about thirteen minutes long. Here's the link:

My response is in question to the Van Gogh that was on display in the Nevada Museum of Art late this past year. I had come to the conclusion after having visited the painting and read the evidence supporting or disclaiming the work as being authentic, that the Van Gogh was in fact a fake. I think that my point is backed up by this 60 minutes video, but please tell me what you think!

Here's a link to the controversy surrounding this Van Gogh self-portrait:

Imagery from Vincent van Gogh's self- portraits, beginning with the controversial one on top:

Nevada Museum of Art and the Controversial Study by Candlelight


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Inside the Army's Spectacular, Hidden Treasure Room

Here's a cool link that shows how they store works of art and military artifacts inside the Center for Military History.

Inside the Army's Spectacular, Hidden Treasure Room

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rape of Europa

This film impacts Art History to a large extent. World War Two is the biggest war to date. Everyone knows the story of the intense gun battles going on all across Europe. But not too many know the story of Hitler and the Nazi party stealing cultural art and keeping it for themselves. The Rape of Europa tells the story of World War Two from the art’s perspective. The movie goes into depth about Hitler’s plans of opening a grand museum using stolen art from cultures all across Europe.
The film helped me realize the struggles that people had to go through, in order to keep art with cultural value safe from the Nazi’s. It blows my mind that paintings that did get stolen are still extremely valuable to that country, even today. There are legal battles still being fought to whom the stolen art belongs to. It’s hard to believe that a country who stole a piece of art from another country, will not give the art back after all these years. It goes against our moral code. The art is being kept as a trophy of a serious event that happened in the past. These paintings were highly valued paintings during the time of the war. These paintings were on Hitler’s target list because of the value and status that they carried.
Another reason why this topic is a great topic of Art History because of how sought after the paintings were. Hitler had plans of what countries he was going to take over, and attached to those plans were plans for which cultural pieces were to be stolen for his museum. The means of getting ahold of theses pieces were to destroy entire cities block by block. Eliminating anything that had to do with the culture of whom lived there. He was ultimately killing off entire races in order to be supreme.
The really cool part of World War Two and how Art History was involved was that the U.S. Army had troops that were in charge of protecting the Cultural Artifacts of these countries that were getting attacked by Hitler. The U.S. knew that these artifacts were extremely important to the people. They made sure that bombs were not dropped on structures that were of cultural value. This won the hearts of a lot of the countries. The sector of the army that was involved in this was called the Monuments Men. These guys were going to battle zones and finding art that was hidden and returning it back to the owners. Towards the end of the war, the Monuments Men were in charge of hunting down the large stashes of art that were stolen for the Generals of the Nazi party and even for Hitler himself. The Monuments Men were slowly finding the stashes of paintings stolen from galleries all across Europe. The Monuments Men discovered all of the Worlds famous paintings that I see on display today. Painting stolen from the Louvre and paintings that were slowly stolen away by Gurrings were discover and returned back to France.
This movie was a great movie. It really got me thinking about the history of the famous paintings. It went into great depth of the stories that follow the world famous paintings. It’s great to know that Holly Wood is taking a stab at Art History and making a movie about it. I feel that this doesn’t happen often. Art is such a big part of human life. It’s pretty cool that they are still making movies about it. I look forward to going and seeing this movie very soon.

The Rape of Europa Film Review by Carly

    I have previously watched films on the concentration camps, and on Hitler and his generals, but this is the first film that I have seen discussing how the art in each country was stripped from the lands and its people. In Poland alone, almost 6,000 pieces of art is still unaccounted for. The numbers are staggering. The Rape of Europa highlights on the devastation and cruelty of WWII while commenting on the greed of the armies and their leaders, along with the hardship of attempting to straighten out the details 70 years later.
   I find it fascinating how many different personas of Hitler there are in documentaries and movies. I have previously thought that it was just different interpretations of the same information. This film, paired with The Nazi Temple of Doom that was released in 2013, is leading me to the understand that the basic root of the difference is not in the interpretation, but in the fact that Hitler had a lot of hate and greed within him. This hatred was not just directed at the Jewish people, it was also directed in how people expressed themselves through their art. In Hitler’s mind, he was the only person who could say whether the work was “good” or not. I feel that it is a vindictive motivation directed at the art world because he had previously been denied an entrance into a prestigious school. Who else but a scorned bitter artist could call Matisse, Van Gogh and Picasso “degenerate”?
   This film did a wonderful job of balancing the history with the impact that the war still has on the art world today. The interviews from survivors and the monument men added the human element that was needed in order to discuss a deeply penetrating subject. However, I was disappointed by the last 15 minutes of the film. Through the majority of the film I did not feel any biased nature to the information being presented. It was educational, visual and a side of the story that is not heard very often. It highlighted on how important it is to the descendants of the victims and to the human world to find and identify the missing works that had disappeared through the war. With the introduction of Stalin’s Trophy Brigade, I feel that the true nature of the film was revealed. The last few interview clips painted an image of the Russian people that was reminiscent of Hitler and his greed. I understand that the film was created to educate and make people aware of the staggering numbers of missing art objects, but it didn’t need to take that direct of an approach in the conclusion of the film.   


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Rape of Europa Response

Stephanie Campbell
ARTH 480
The Rape of Europa Response
               This film, or documentary, was very well organized, thanks to Lynn H. Nicholas, and the many art historians that narrated the plots of time across the war. I enjoyed the original footage from the instances that they would describe, and the survivors telling their lives’ stories. I found it amazing how much art was involved in the politics of the Nazi party, something that my high school history classes definitely left out.
               I recall the discovery of Hitler having been an art student, and a rejected one at that, and being astonished. It can blow you away to know what a leader like Hitler has done to the world, but there is a strange negative feeling that arises from the realization that he loved art and wanted to be an artist. That same goal that I have for myself is something that I can understand to have resentment for in not being acknowledged, however never to the degree that he took it. The world somehow became a playground for the boys that grew up with severe insecurities, and held a reign of power.
               The objectification of artwork as money-making history is already a practice that museums could say practice sternly. However, if one is to be selfish, one is selfish for their family or community. Hitler and his generals were labeled by the works they had stolen in their private collection, and this is just disgusting.
               The section on Deane Keller and the efforts he and the MFAA activists put forth are much more interesting that the film of the monuments men, because Deane did make such a difference just on his own, whereas in the Monuments Men, the group effort was emphasized, which is strange considering their group was so small.
               The story of the Castle in Monte Cassino is horrendous in that the perspectives of whether or not to attack due to a building and a growing number of bodies is one thing, but not having clear Intel and getting frustrated and bombing the only shelter in the enemy’s side is not a widely approved tactic either. The imagery of the aftermath is more daunting than most other pictures I saw.

               I enjoyed the conclusion of the film, with the recovered works and return to their rightful owners as a good end note. The number of missing or unrecovered works is not quite specified, and though an estimate as to how much is gone is not made, an approximation was a piece of information that I was looking forward to hearing.

Conquest of Europe: Hitlers Quest for Artistic Supremacy

This is a great documentary about what happened to art when Adolf Hitler was taking over Europe.  The movie talked about how Hitler wanted to keep all art that glorified German culture.  He also wanted to rid Germany from abstract art and art that used too many colors.  He felt that art of that nature was going to pollute the minds of his superior race.  Hitler viewed himself as a great artist, and therefore art played a huge role in his overtaking of Europe. 
Artworks that Hitler saw as fitting for his collection were looted and taken back to Germany.  It began with the looting of massive Jewish collections.  These collections even included works from masters like Gustav Klimt.  He eventually began looting conquered cities.  The movie even suggested that some of his attacks could have been specifically to get artworks that he wanted. 

Hitler viewed the Polish people as sub human.  When he invaded Poland, Hitler ordered all of the artwork to be destroyed.  He wanted to wipe every aspect of their culture from the earth.  He even destroyed artworks that he would have otherwise appreciated.  One of the only pieces that he did not destroy was a wooden sculpture inside of a church.  The only reason he kept it was because a German artist did it.  In Warsaw he even went as far as sending in a special team to destroy everything that they could.  He was truly pushing towards his goal of wiping Poland from history.

When the Nazis were nearing Paris, the Louver began to rapidly prepare by packing up all of the artwork.  They shipped the art to castles in the countryside.  The Nazi forces did not have enough men to spread out into the countryside, so most of the art was safe.  Hitler almost demolished Paris.  But he decided that it would be pointless because after his new German Acropolis, Paris would be nothing but a shadow. 

The way that the movie relates to the class is that Hitler destroyed thousands of pieces of public art.  He also took a lot of the art away from its place of origin.  In class we discussed weather or not art has meaning out of context.  Hitler intentionally removed art from its original home to be relocated in Germany’s own national museum.  He altered the context of the art in order to force his views and ideals on his people.

The Rape of Europa Film Review by Katherine Pacheco

Having only a shallow familiarity of renaissance-era art, sculpture, and architecture, I had no idea what to expect when starting The Rape of Europa.  I found myself appalled by what the Nazi party had managed to do during WWII, with not only a mass genocide of Jewish and Slavic people and culture, but also a need to rule all of Europe and their art. Moments like when the Winged Victory of Samothrace had to descend her staircase had me holding my breath and feeling as the curators did during the evacuations of so many precious art pieces, and knowing that people like Dean Keller and the Monuments Men fought to save what they could has changed the way I will perceive any piece of art on display.
The Rape of Europa is a film that can impact our class because I know it personally has changed the way I approach any piece on display, not only thinking about its composition, but also the journey it took to get to its respective museum. With the title of our course, Museums as Public Spaces in mind, it only intensifies the history of art during WWII, and how it could have directed this course today. Had the outcome of the war been different, we may have been looking at the Lintz museum websites instead of the Louvre, and many famous works such as DaVinci’s Mona Lisa may have been lost instead of Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man, since the Mona Lisa had been hidden in the countryside and the Raphael had been plundered.

Although the film appeared to be only showing the plundering of the Nazi Party during World War II, I do not find it to be biased. I believe this because although the Soviet Union had begun to steal from Germany toward the end of the war, Hitler and the Nazi Party had a vast appreciation for art and had even created a social norm of high ranking military officers collecting fine art. They were the main party that invaded countries systematically solely for the acquisition of art as commissioned by the F├╝hrer himself to be relocated to his future Lintz Museum. Hitler had an immense fascination for art, but also felt that if it wasn’t up to his Aryan ideal, then it was to be destroyed. And although the film depicts solely the Nazi invasion and acquisition of art, it also shows the perspective of the refugees who had seen their art destroyed by both allied and axis powers.

The Rape of Europa film review: by Erik Burns

The film: The Rape of Europa chronicles the Nazi looting and plunder of artwork and culture across Europe.  The documentary aligns different Nazi military invasions with priceless masterpieces looted from each city.  It then goes on to show the efforts of the different nations (most notably the USA’s Monuments Men) attempts to avoid destroying irreplaceable works of arts, especially monuments and important buildings.  The film deals with the sensitive tradeoff between human life, and the protection of priceless art and artifacts.  
            Art defines culture, it allows for the telling of history through creativity.  The story of Europe’s past was captured in a series of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, structures, and monuments.  It is important for these artworks to be shown to their people, and the people who come to visit the places where that are being shown.  During the war however, this left them extremely venerable, both to looting, and to destruction. 
            The film shows the destruction of the Warsaw Castle, a vital part of the Polish culture, a culture that Hitler wanted to rid from the earth.  The structure was so important, that thousands of Polls died to defend it, and exclaimed that Poland could not be defeated as long as the castle stood.  Holes were bored all thought the structure, and were filled with explosives.  The Nazis constantly threatened to level the building, and four years later, when there was an uprising, he made true on his word, bringing the entire castle crumbling to the ground. 
            On one hand there were people who would risk their very lives to protect their cultural art on the basis of pride.  On the other, there were people from across the globe being ordered to lose their lives to protect something that they had no connection to.  In Casino Italy, the American soldiers were in a standoff with the Germans who they believed were hiding out in an Abby.  They had strict orders not to destroy the structure due to its importance to the entire world.  To the soldiers however, it seemed that their lives, and the lives of their friends were being wasted solely in the name of saving the building that they had no connection to.  The documentary showed an interview with one of the American soldiers, where he basically stated that he understands the importance of avoiding the destruction of art, but if that’s the case, a decision must be made not to pursue the enemy into a place where soldiers’ lives are placed in the way of the art. 

            The Monuments Men were created to be protectors of the art.  The branch consisted of artists and art historians, who were often at the front line, risking their lives to preserve the great masterpieces of Europe.  Many Europeans saw them as heroes who died in the name of preserving a foreign culture.  While hundreds of thousands of artworks were destroyed, the millions of people (not just soldiers) who lost their lives to protect the art and culture of Europe were not in vein.  Whether they died from an order, or because they felt that their own lives were worth risking to save their culture, those men and women are the reason that we can view such masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, or Klimt’s Portrait of Adele to this day.  The film kept a balanced argument to the touchy subject of human life verses the preservation of art and culture, by utilizing interviews and real life accounts from many different points of view.

"The Rape of Europa " Review

Alexa Wirth
The Rape of Europa
World War II has always been a very interesting historical topic to me. My whole life, I continue to learn new things about this war. This documentary had me engaged the whole time because it was yet another part of WWII brought to light. I was not aware of the extent the Nazis were going to in order to obtain precious works of art. I think that in a way, this information reshaped how I was viewing the war. For the longest time I just thought it was Hitler's hatred toward anyone but the aryan race, but really it went much deeper than that. He was on a mission to destroy the people and their culture, which is far worse.
This video didn’t seem bias I think I was assigned to watch this video beacause it shows that art is

a commodity to all kinds of people for many reasons, the main one being that it is our culture and 

destroying that leaves very little. Art is a part of us and our history. In some places, certain buildings 

that were the staple of that society were knocked down in an act to suppress these people. The people 

showed strength by rebuilding their monuments. This is what helped me realize how important art and 

art history are to our people.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Rape of Europa by Lorena Pfaender

The documentary, “The Rape of Europa” shows how the fate of Europe’s treasures in the Third Reich during the Second World War was decided mainly by Nazi plunder of looted art as well as their appropriation, storage, concealment, destruction and smuggling. The Allies worked to preserve as much culture as possible from being destroyed and forever being lost. This was not easily done for one could not anticipate which historical monuments and masterpieces would be targeted. Even historical rich cities such as Florence, which one believed would remain completely unharmed, were bombed and countless priceless objects were effected. All one could do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Museums were constantly relocating their treasures, trying to stay one step ahead of the bombings. Through precautionary planning the regular accounts of impending destruction of Europe did not completely demolish the entire cultural background that built Europe’s history.
The documentary, which successfully shows the course most pieces of art in Europe took during that time period, creates a great appreciation for the art that remains nowadays, knowing how these masterworks were nearly destroyed if not for the actions of several brave individuals. By showing the grand efforts of individuals such as the Monuments Men, curators and other citizens, questions such as the lengths individuals should go to protect artworks arose. Should people die in trying to protect these works? When everyone and everything is dying around one, do artworks remain a priority? These questions had to be pondered by each region separately at the time and the decisions that were made really show how important culture is to the individual regions based on their efforts of preservation.
            The information presented in The Rape of Europa does not only provide an insight to the past but remains very much present. The generation of the war still remains with us and the conflicts and emotions considering the war and the art during the war are far from dealt with. Much of the lost art, which has not been victimized by the war, is still turning up in the most remote places of Europe. The art which we find ourselves lucky to possess creates heated conflicts, for the puzzle of to whom the art rightfully belongs to remains unsolved. The film successfully portrays the devastating repercussions of the war, which creates enough motives for it to hopefully never happen again.

            The film is slightly biased for it portrays the Germans as the sole destroyer of European culture and although the Germans do portray the villains and are accountable for most lost art, the actions of art dealers in the rest of Europe during this troubled time are also questionable. Although the allies were using destruction as a mean of defense, they too took infrastructure and hundreds of cultural monuments down in their mission of justice. This prompts another controversial question on how the Nazis could have been planning museums and worrying about the survival of art, while they were simultaneously killing innocent people and destroying valuable infrastructure left and right. 

Sally Hammel's review of "The Rape of Europa

"The Rape of Europa" ~ review by Sally Hammel

I was not aware of the loss of (and then the return of) artwork during WWII before this weekend and then I watched both "The Monuments Men" and "The Rape of Europa" one after the other.  It will be difficult to not review both films at the same time as the subject matter is the same in both, but "The Monuments Men" is obviously a Hollywood movie and "The Rape of Europa" is a documentary that goes way more into depth about who, where, what, and when these things disappeared and reappeared.  "The Rape of Europa" has an historical perspective while "The Monuments Men" is more romantic.  I find myself THANKING GOD that someone cared enough to preserve the artwork of Europe during WWII.  I'm pretty sure that, had I been alive during that time and living in Europe, artwork would not have been foremost in my thoughts.  I also thank God that I have never had to live with bombs going off around me and having my life and the lives of my loved ones threatened constantly.  I can't believe that it never occurred to me that all that beautiful artwork was in such eminent danger during WWII while those bombs were being dropped all around it.  I'm sure that I am not the only one who's ignorance of this subject will take them by surprise as we view these movies in this class.

Everyone knows what a terrible human being Hitler was and about the terrible acts against humanity that he inflicted, but after watching these movies I have come to realize how far he would go... He wasn't going to be happy with just destroying people and their lives ~ he wanted to destroy all evidence of their existence by destroying their culture and history too. Through old black & white, archival pictures from the 1940s and interviews with descendants of Hitler's victims, PBS writer/director/producers Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, and Nicole Newnham showed us how the Nazi's race-based morality wanted to dehumanize their victims by wiping all traces of their existence off the face of the earth.  Hitler wanted to erase people AND their memories from the history of the world.  Thank God that he didn't succeed!  The Germans wrought havoc in Europe and systematically looted masterpieces of many forms of art but they thought they were going to win the war, so they kept them, so they could fill Hitler's "Acropolis" in Lintz and the homes of Nazi elites such as Guering.  They planned to destroy everything before the allies had a chance to save them but because of a few people these pieces were saved and returned to their rightful owners whenever that was possible.

Germany DID destroy much of Europe in the 6 years of WWII. 50 million people died and the world lost much of it's most beautiful pieces of artwork, but many pieces were also saved and, even though many of us don't even know the effort involved in saving these masterpieces, I know that the world is grateful!!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekly Article Review by Lorena Pfaender

Title: Remastering the Old Masters
Author: Hilarie M. Sheets
Source: ARTnews
Scholarships, collecting and our views of the past are constantly being revised and our notions are constantly being questioned. Museums have undergone a transition from the traditional style to the emerging style to keep the public intrigued. This transition includes new aspects such as public outreach and an urge for active participation, however also requires a well thought out layout for the exhibitions. The task of having different styles from different time periods being grouped together to spark the ultimate amount of curiosity in the public has become crucial. Curator Keith Christiansen succeeded in giving the Met’s European paintings galleries a fresh new look and the new organization of the Old Masters has been praised for its coherence and revelations.
Many Old Masters in Europe are exhibited in museums carrying their own names such as the Rembrandt Museum in Amsterdam, Rubens Museum in Antwerp, Goya Museum in Madrid, or are under one roof like at the "Alte Pinakothek" in Munich or the "Art Galerie Old Masters" in Dresden. The work of Old Masters in the United States is usually spread over many different museums and usually have to be borrowed from a number of private art collections and museums for exhibition, such as the Rembrandt Exhibition in 2011/2012, that was hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Curator Keith Christiansen managed to expand the permanent Collection of Old Masters at the Met from 450 to nearly 700 artworks, which can be viewed in 17 galleries continuously throughout the year. The arrangement of the exhibit gives the public a better understanding of the artist’s life and work as a whole. It has become a space, where one can go to receive a deeper understanding of the particular artists and of the art period and because it is a permanent exhibition one can always go back.
So by which means of displaying these Old Masters does one truly engage the public? 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekly Article reviewed by Sally Hammel

Title: Feminist Artist Gives Porcelain Dolls An Awesomely Grotesque Makeover
Author: Priscilla Frank
Source: The Huffington Post

I looked up "controversial art" on the internet and found several articles linked from the Huffington Post. I'm not exactly sure where this magazine comes from (the site has links to NY, LA, and Detroit) but it seems to veer toward articles with shock value. I chose this article about Priscilla Frank because I remember these pretty little porcelain figures in my grandmother's cabinet when I was a child. I thought they were pretty and was curious about them but I never would have wanted to own them… they were too fragile for me. I really can't say that I like what the artist, Jessica Harrison, has done to these pieces either. She claims that she has altered these pieces in the name of feminism but I think they are just grotesque! If a man had made these pieces, noone would ever have called it feminism. Jessica Harrison says that we "all look alike on the inside" but she doesn't use any male figures to show this. Her idea of showing feminism is just not what I think of when I think of that term. I do find her alterations to what she calls her "broken" pieces unique and it is certainly a form of art, but it's just not my choice of art.

Priscilla Frank does not offer her opinion of the art in this article. She simply shows it to us and asks our opinion. She quotes the artist on several occasions but doesn't make any personal observations. This material is hard for me to look at but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the artist's ability to completely change the purpose and the feeling of these pieces. I too, am curious about the public's perception of this art. I definitely feel it is relevant to our Art History course. It's not really the blood & guts that gross me out, it's the fact that it is coming from these pieces that I remember with some fondness from my childhood.