Vandals Smear Anti-Semitic Graffiti on Munich’s Haus der Kunst

The museum has confronted its Nazi past.

Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2013. Photo by Avda/, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The curatorial program of Munich’s Haus der Kunst has confronted the institution’s historical Nazi associations extensively. Now, the museum was attacked by unknown perpetrators who smeared the building with anti-Semitic graffiti on Thursday night, the museum said in an announcement.

Bayerische Rundfunk reports that four swastikas were scrawled over the main entrance while an exhibition opening was underway inside. The symbols were drawn near an installation called Résistance by the French Jewish artist Christian Boltanski.

The vandals also drew a star of David over a floor installation titled Travertin/Judenpech by the German-born Polish Jewish artist Gustav Metzger outside the building. According to Munich police, the vandals used white chalk to draw the hateful graffiti.

The Haus der Kunst was constructed by the Nazis in 1937. Photo:

The Haus der Kunst was constructed by the Nazis in 1937.

The museum was presenting its new exhibition titled “Interventions into Architecture: Archive Gallery 2015/16,” which critically examined the history of Nazi-era art and construction. The show also examined and referenced the building’s own Nazi ties.

The museum said artists Boltanski and Metzger have both confronted and critically deconstructed the monumental Nazi-era architecture of the museum’s building in their work since the 1990s.

Their creations, which are installed outside of the museum, represent stories of courageous resistance and of painful expulsion.

According to a statement on the Haus der Kunst website, “The works made an important contribution to defining the position of the historically-burdened building within the topography of memory in urban public space. Twenty years later, their reinstallation provokes new examinations of and reflections on the structure, not least among the younger generation.”

Technicians install Boltanski's Résistance. The work shows the eyes of members of the anti-Nazi resistance group 'Rote Kapelle.' Photo: @graffotosergio2 via Instagram

Technicians install Boltanski’s Résistance. The work shows the eyes of members of the anti-Nazi resistance group ‘Rote Kapelle.’
Photo: @graffotosergio2 via Instagram

Police have opened a criminal investigation into the vandalism.

The Haus der Kunst is one of the most important art museums in Germany. The building in Munich’s Prinzregentenstrasse was opened by Adolf Hitler in 1937 amidst substantial fanfare.

Originally dubbed the “House of German Art,” the museum promoted art which reflected the National Socialist understanding of the so-called master race.

The building’s sinister past made it a symbol of the censorship of “degenerate art” as well as the persecution of artists during the Nazi’s reign of terror. In recent years the museum has made concerted efforts to challenge and confront its history.

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