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In times of a global pandemic, there is no such thing as certainty. Yet, the Deutsches Historisches Museum is taking an optimistic approach towards the next year and is currently preparing exhibitions, which then will be open to the audience hopefully. The Deutsches Historisches Museum will present four temporary exhibitions in the Pei building in the coming year. Opening in December is the photo exhibition Report from Exile – Photographs by Fred Stein (11 December 2020 – 20 June 2021) – provided that future decisions regarding the Corona virus will allow for this opening date.

It will be followed in January by Boris Hars-Tschachotin’s THE LEAP – 1961 (14 January– 5 April 2021), which will be the first 360° virtual reality installation in the DHM. In the summer of 2021 come two exhibitions that are designed to complement and comment on each other: documenta. Politics and Art (18 June 2021 – 9 January 2022) and ‘Divinely Gifted’. National Socialism’s Favoured Artists in the Federal Republic (27 August 2021 – 6 February 2022).

Prof. Dr Raphael Gross, President of the Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, has this to say about the exhibition programme for 2021: ‘Fred Stein counts among of the most important chroniclers and portraitists of the German-speaking exile community. I am therefore delighted that we are now showing the work of this German-American Jewish photographer for the first time in its political-historical dimension and that we are placing his portraits in the context of the times in which Stein took his pictures, from the 1930s to 1960s.

With our exhibitions about the political-aesthetic history of the documenta and about the list of so-called ‘divinely gifted’ individuals, we aim to open up a new perspective on the history of the Federal Republic in its international context. Both of these exhibitions focus on the relationship between politics and art in the post-Nazi society of the Federal Republic of Germany. They correct the notion of a radical new beginning in aesthetic terms, which in many respects is associated with documenta, in particular, and which the early creators of documenta promoted vigorously. The documenta exhibition shows how the politically motivated alignment with the West was implemented by means of a supposedly radical departure from Nazi art policy on the one hand and a contrast to the Socialist art of the Eastern Bloc on the other. Yet at the same time there were strands of continuity with National Socialism, such as the failure to exhibit work by Jewish artists who had been murdered during that era. With the exhibition about the ‘divinely gifted’ – an area that has barely been studied up to now – we reveal how strongly this group of visual artists at the heart of the Nazi art scene dominated public space after 1945 and have done so to this day.

I am optimistic that we will be able to present our visitors with a diverse programme once again in 2021 and I would like to thank everyone who is currently working with great dedication on the planned exhibitions.’

Find more information here (PDF).