What might we mean by monoculture? What is the impetus for ‘identitarian’ or nationalistic monoculture movements who do not see, or wish, their society to be pluralistic, not just in the context of Europe but globally? Might we locate positive or even emancipatory aspirations of monoculture? Might a culturally homogeneous society also be inclusive and transformational? What lies at the fringes of monoculture, and what does it not tolerate? What may be the position of the arts within the context of monocultural ideology? Or alternatively, how might the arts look under monocultural ideology when taken to its logical conclusion?

MONOCULTURE – NAZITENTOONSTELLINGEN

Image00011 scan: (c) M HKA, Published by J. F.Lehmanns Verlag
Wolfgang Willrich, "Säuberung des Kunsttempels. Eine kunstpolitische Kampfschrift zur Gesundung deutscher Kunst im Geiste nordischer Art", 1937
Book , 16 x 22.9 x 1.8 cm
paper, ink

Wolfgang Willrich (1897-1948) was a German artist, writer and one of the organisers of the Entartete Kunst exhibition. In the 1930s, he worked briefly at the Ministry of Culture under Nazi rule. His portraits of Aryan men, women and children were distributed by the Nazi party in the form of posters and postcards, he also contributed his paintings to the Great German Art Exhibitions. In his book, which was a major inspiration for Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, Willrich gives a negative overview of modern art in Germany, viciously attacking such prominent modernist artists as Barlach, Dix, Grosz, Heckel, Nolde, Schmidt-Rottluff and others whose work fell victim to subsequent confiscation and elimination. The book opens with a quote from Hitler’s Mein Kampf and a foreword in which Willrich proclaims the cleansing of the art temple to be an important duty, which not only concerns aesthetic preferences, but rather, the issues of mental health. According to the author, the 'Temple of Art' should be reserved for art promoting the wellbeing of the Nazi 'Volksgemeinschaft' (People's Community). Even in Nazi circles, Willrich's views were perceived as (too) radical.