Art Outside the Lines

New Perspectives on GDR Art Culture


This collection of essays, written by leading scholars in the fields of East German art, film, literature, music, and museum studies, seeks to renegotiate the artistic legacy of the German Democratic Republic. Combining a range of theoretical and practical perspectives, the volume challenges the narrow frameworks of totalitarianism and Ostalgie that have dominated discussions of art produced in the GDR. It explores the diversity of art produced in the state and contests the long-held perception that socialist realism and artistic innovation were mutually exclusive. Crucially, the collection puts art itself to the fore; GDR art is considered not simply as a political by-product, as is so often the case, but as an entity of innovation and aesthetic value in its own right.
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Review Quote

“As a broad and appealing introduction to a complicated subject, […] Art outside the Lines is to be warmly welcomed.” - Iain Boyd Whyte, University of Edinburgh, in Modern Language Review , vol. 110.2 2015, pp. 607-609

Table of contents

Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Elaine Kelly and Amy Wlodarski: Introduction Public Confrontations of GDR Art April A. Eisman: In the Crucible: Bernhard Heisig and the Hotel Deutschland Murals Skyler J. Arndt-Briggs: The Invisible Uprising: Filmmaking and East Germany’s ‘Day X’ Kristine Nielsen: Quid pro quo: Assessing the Value of Berlin’s Thälmann Monument Internationalism and GDR Art Sigrid Hofer: Beyond Socialist Realism: Alternative Painting in Dresden Sara Lennox: Reading Transnationally: the GDR and American Black Writers Joy H. Calico: The Legacy of GDR Directors on the Post- Wende Opera Stage Alternative Musical Voices Matthias Tischer: Music and Discourse Nina Noeske: Gender Discourse and Musical Life in the GDR Laura Silverberg: ‘Monopol der Diskussion?’: Alternative Voices in the Verband Deutscher Komponisten und Musikwissenschaftler Curating the GDR Jonathan Osmond: German Art Collections and Exhibits since 1989: the Legacy of the GDR Silke Wagler: Re-introducing GDR Art to Germany: the Kunstfonds in Dresden Justinian Jampol: ‘GDR on the Pacific’: (Re)presenting East Germany in Los Angeles Select Bibliography Notes on Contributors Index