Dear Friends,


John Heartfield, Krieg und Leichen – Die letzte Hoffnung der Reichen,
Montagefotografie für die Arbeiter-Illustrierten-Zeitung, 1932, Nr. 18, Silbergelatineabzug, kaschiert
Akademie der Künste, Berlin,  Inv.Nr. JH 1955 © The Heartfield Community of Heirs / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

This will be an extremely busy month at FAS, starting on November 4, 2020 at 12:00pm ET with Rosa von der Schulenburg’s lecture “About John Heartfield’s Political Engagement and Private Life in London”, which is part of our monthly zoom series “Fight or Flight. stories of artists under repression,” generously funded by Allianz Partners. (SEE EVENT HERE)

John Heartfield (1891-1968) was a German visual artist who pioneered the use of art as a political weapon. This presentation starts with some preliminary remarks about John Heartfield’s bequest in the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and shows how it is accessible nowadays. A short introduction of how all began follows, showing the background of the birth of Heartfield’s political photo-montages (World War I, Dada, Communist Party, Willi Münzenberg’s Die Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung in short AIZ), glances at Heartfield’s first exile stage in Prague and then focuses on his 12 years as an emigrant in London, asking how a German communist artist could continue working in exile in Great Britain during the war.

Yesterday, the exhibition “The Loner. Clowns in Fritz Ascher’s Art (1893-1970)” at the Forum Jacob Pins in Höxter, Germany was prematurely closed, as part of a large scale lockdown due to COVID-19. Please order the bilingual catalogue, or visit our new online exhibition “Fritz Ascher: Themes and Variations” instead (LINK), with a special section about “Tears of the Clown”.

Kitra Cahana, Alice and Ronnie Cahana ©Kitra Cahana

This month, we are exploring “Trauma, Memory and Art,” and celebrating a book release.

We are starting off with the interdisciplinary Zoom conference “Trauma, Memory and Art” on November 9, 2020, 12:00-1:30pm ET, in which four experts – Ori Z Soltes, Larry R Squire, Natan P. F. Kellermann and Eva Fogelman – discuss the transmission of Holocaust trauma and memory against the backdrop of art. (SEE EVENT HERE)

The starting point of the discussion is the art of Holocaust survivor Alice Lok Cahana and how artistic sensibilities, traumatic memory—and a sense of obligation to improve the world—have been expressed through three generations of her family—both in who her children and grandchildren are and in how they express themselves artistically. 

The discussion will amplify this layered issue from other angles: what have recent biological and psychological investigations offered, regarding what memory is and how it works, if and how trauma can be carried in the DNA—and the implications of all of this for understanding the impact of catastrophes like the Holocaust beyond the generation of those who experienced them directly.

Other virtual events related to this project are:

On November 18, 2020 at 12:00pm ET: “Immortality, Memory, Creativity, and Survival: The Arts of Alice Lok Cahana, Ronnie Cahana and Kitra Cahana” Lecture by Ori Z Soltes (SEE EVENT HERE)

On November 25, 2020 at 12:00pm ET: “Legacy And Creativity: The Filmmaking and Photography of Kitra Cahana”
The photo/video artist Kitra Cahana in conversation with Ori Z Soltes (SEE EVENT HERE)

These topics are explored more deeply in the book “Immortality, Memory, Creativity, and Survival: The Arts of Alice Lok Cahana, Ronnie Cahana and Kitra Cahana,” which is edited by Ori Z Soltes and will be published on November 30th by Berghahn Books and The Fritz Ascher Society.

This project is generously sponsored by the
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York.

Anneliese Hager, Untitled (Portrait A. H.), 1947. Gelatin silver print, 18 × 24 cm (7 1/16 × 9 7/16 in.).
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of the German Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 2018.313. © Estate of Anneliese Hager

On Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 12:00pm ET Lynette Roth, Daimler Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum and Head of the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Harvard Art Museums will speak about White Shadows: The Photograms of Anneliese Hager (1904-1997).”

The event is part of our monthly zoom series “Fight or Flight. stories of artists under repression,” generously funded by Allianz Partners.

Anneliese Hager (1904-1997) is one of a number of modern artists who began their artistic experimentation in Germany after National Socialist cultural policy began to harden against all forms of modern art. Her preferred medium was the photogram, a photographic image made by placing an object directly on (or in close proximity to) a light-sensitive surface and exposing it to light. Hager called the reversal of light and dark in the resulting contact print “white shadows.” (SEE EVENT HERE)

We look forward to seeing you at our events!

Ever Upwards!

With all best wishes,
Rachel Stern, Director and CEO

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artwork Fritz Ascher ©2020 Bianca Stock, Photo Malcolm Varon