Germany’s Galerie Kleindienst has dropped painter Axel Krause from its roster after the artist expressed anti-immigrant views and support for the country’s right-wing AfD party in a series of Facebook posts.
Krause, who is associated with the New Leipzig School of painters that include Neo Rauch and Norbert Bisky, described Germany’s response to the refugee crisis as “illegal mass immigration.” In another post, he wrote: “We will be a minority in our own country!”
Gallery owner Christian Seyde told the German broadcaster MDR that his gallery doesn’t want to support Krause’s political views and that “this is essentially what you do if you give him a platform for presentation.” The gallery had represented the artist for 13 years.
Krause responded defiantly to his dismissal on MDR. “I voted for a party that sits in the German Bundestag,” he said. “Incidentally I’m among the majority of Saxons [who voted for AfD]. And to be virtually marginalized for that is quite a problematic situation.”
On Friday morning, Krause quoted a message on Facebook that another user had posted on the gallery’s page: “Anyone who is too stupid and narrow-minded to separate artists and their work and ban art for ideological reasons like the brown book-burners once did, have lost all right to be respected.”
Seyde responded to accusations of censorship on MDR, saying, “I’m not a public institution or an institution of public interest,” he said. “I have a commercial gallery where I organize and sell exhibitions, and I don’t have to represent every viewpoint that exists in society.”
Krause has continued posting about his dismissal on Facebook. “Just imagine the outcry if a gallery [dropped] a feminist, young woman of color because of her political statements! A storm of indignation would go through the (leftist) Media!” he wrote on Friday.
Krause said he had completed paintings for an exhibition that was scheduled to open at the gallery this October, on his 60th birthday. His last show at the gallery was in 2015.
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