The claim of artists’ of being avant-garde and playing a pioneering cultural role against conventionality goes back a long way historically, but around 1900 it becomes the essential characteristic of what is paradoxically still called “classical modernism” to this day. But what is radical about this new art that designs social utopias in times of political crisis? What counter-models can an art that claims to be independent of academic schools, political parties or monetary value reveal? On a tour of the exhibition, Johanna Függer-Vagts illustrates how little the artistic projects of the period around 1900-1940 could be considered “classical” for contemporaries.
Johanna Függer-Vagts teaches the art and visual history of modernism at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She studied art history at the University of Vienna and Basel and has published works on Hannah Höch and Frank Stella. In her current research project, she looks at Paul Klee’s art practices and theories.