“Sounds of Degenerate Art” Exhibit in Chicago

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Scene from “Sounds of Degenerate Art”
Scene from “Sounds of Degenerate Art” (Photo: Facebook/Out of Line Art Gallery)

From a reader:

The “Sounds of Degenerate Art” exhibit and performance event at Out of Line Art Gallery in Chicago was filled to overflow for Sunday’s benefit for Refuse Fascism. Pulled together by gallery owner Ayala Leyser, the exhibit of visual art included prints of works by German artists George Grosz, Max Ernst, Raoul Haussmann, and Otto Dix—the paintings were declared by Hitler to be “degenerate art,” and most of the originals were destroyed by the Nazis. The gallery was also filled with the work of contemporary “degenerate artists” including paintings, lithographs, and sculptures, which spoke to the urgency of refusing the horrors we face with the Trump regime. These artists contributed up to half the price of their art to Refuse Fascism. Visit @DegenerateArtists on Facebook.

MC’ed by poet Kao Ra Zen, the “happening” brought together musicians whose performances ranged from poetry readings, performance art and blues music to a flute and vocal composition. Arch Harmon’s powerful poem “I Apologize” was a defiant denunciation of the oppression faced for centuries by Black people: “I apologize for being caught, for being sold, for being bought, for being told I count for nothing. Yeah, I apologize.” The blues singer and harp blower Matthew Skoller, whose next concert, on January 20, is “The Hell NO! Inauguration Blues,” introduced his song “Caress Me”: “They are trying to make us unlearn what makes us human—empathy. They try to make us selfish, because that’s where the profit is.”

Over $300 was raised at the door, and Refuse Fascism “NO!” buttons, leaflets, FAQs, and posters were distributed by the handful. Many of the 50+ people who attended had not been aware of Refuse Fascism before the benefit, and this audience and the many artists and musicians were really inspired by the hope and possibility of this movement.


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