The central figure in this painting is Otto Dix himself, and there is no beauty to the scene. Standing in the middle of a brothel, he is holding a telephone in his left hand. The right side of his face is in shadow, while a left-looking glance sidles towards us somewhat menacingly. The only people here who do not look like wind-up dolls are Dix and the maniacally grinning black jazz drummer (with a fragment of the American flag sticking out of his breast pocket).
About the show:
The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.
The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.
"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.