Introduction: Caught by Politics
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The story has been told many times over, largely following one and the same model. An aspiring modernist artist gets caught in the web of Nazi persecution, not because of his or her political convictions but because of the Nazis’ hostility toward modernist experimentation and aesthetic self-reflexivity. In order to avoid the censorship of modernism, our artist either adapts a rather moderate artistic style or chooses the path of exile to escape future violence. The streams of forced and voluntary dislocation are manifold: they crisscross the maps of unoccupied Europe as much as those of the New World, Asia, and even Australia. Repeatedly, however, we find our artist stranded at either coast of North America, a nation that was initially largely ignorant of what happened on the other side of the Atlantic, yet later became one of the principle powers in overthrowing Hitler’s reign of terror.
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