Vienna's city museum is offering a carefully-constructed and curated selection of Nazi-era art by Austrian artists as part of efforts to examine the country's role in the Holocaust.
Austria, which long depicted itself as Hitler's first victim, taken over in 1938, has in more recent years re-examined how Austria and Austrians supported the Nazis, including in the realm of art, where Jewish and other 'unsuitable' artists were banned from working and museums. The show focuses on artists who threw their support to the regime.
The show, titled "Vienna Falls in Line: The Politics of Art under National Socialism," has taken steps to make the context clear, that it is not celebrating the pro-Nazi art being shown. Instead of being displayed on the museum’s large walls, the works are packed into just two rooms, as if in a warehouse. Curator Ingrid Holzschuh told press that “This can’t be like other exhibitions in the classical sense… it had to be broken up.”
“There is a great need to come to terms with history. There are still many gaps, and these gaps have to be closed,” Holzschuh said. The re-examination is also extending to street names and statures of anti-Semitic or otherwise-tainted figures.