The mad square: Modernity in German art 1910–1937

This is the first exhibition in Australia to look in-depth at the turbulent time of the Weimar Republic when, following the catastrophe of World War I and in a period of intense crisis, Germany entered an extraordinary era of creative artistic fervour.

Art Exhibition previously on at Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney precinct, New South Wales, Australia.
From Saturday 06 August 2011 to Sunday 06 November 2011

Metrolopolis, 1926 image Self-portrait, 1927 image Suicide, 1916 image Valeska Gert c. 1928-29 image Secretary at West German radio in Cologne, 1931 image

Published by Art Gallery of New South Wales on Wednesday 29 June 2011.
Contact the publisher.

The mad square exhibition, organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales with loans from museums and private collections from around the world, opens in Sydney 6 August 2011, and tours to the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, in November.

Berlin, 100 years ago, is the starting point for the exhibition. The thriving cosmopolitan metropolis provided new subject matter and new audiences for radically modern art forms. Over two decades Germany became a centre for international avant-garde artists who were attracted to the culture of Weimar Germany.

Through over 200 works by leading artists of the period – including Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, John Heartfield, Hannah Höch, Karl Hubbuch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Käthe Kollwitz, László Moholy-Nagy, August Sander, Christian Schad, Rudolf Schlichter and Kurt Schwitters – The mad square reveals the intensely original art forms both of this time and the fascinating and complex ways in which artists responded to the forces of modernity.

During this unprecedented moment in history, avant-garde movements – Expressionism, Dada, Bauhaus, Constructivism and New Objectivity – blossomed and were linked by artists’ shared interest in radical experimentation across all areas of the visual arts, including painting, sculpture, graphic art, decorative arts and design, photography and film.
Berlin Sydney

In conjunction with The mad square, a series of programs focussing on Weimar culture and Berlin in the 1920s – covering theatre, music, cabaret, exhibitions and other events – will be held around Sydney. Organisations include Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney Symphony, Sydney College of the Arts, and Museum of Sydney.

Immerse yourself in an era that was extraordinarily creative and profoundly influential
Expressionism, Dada and Bauhaus were just some of the movements that exploded onto the turbulent social landscape in Germany at the start of the 20th century. And, for a short but heady time, Berlin became the cultural and entertainment capital of the world.

Our major exhibition – The mad square: modernity in German art 1910-37 – brings together over 200 diverse works, including film, theatre, photography, decorative arts and design as well as painting, by leading artists from collections around the world.

Accompanied by Berlin Sydney, a program of events inspired by the glamour and decadence of the Weimar era.

Special nights at the Gallery

Berlin: symphony of a great city Fri 2 & Sat 3 Sep
We’ve commissioned the celebrated composer and pianist Stu Hunter to perform an original jazz score to accompany two rare screenings of this remarkable 1927 silent film, which follows the life and rhythm of the metropolis of Berlin from dawn to midnight. He’ll be joined live on stage by a talented gathering of musicians. Includes a glass of wine after the show, plus a ticket to the exhibition.

Art & About opening night at the Gallery Fri 23 Sep
Step into the world of 1920s Berlin with a late night program of events, including roving performers, cabaret, tours and two-for-one tickets for the exhibition.

Also in September
Printmaking workshop Sat 17 Sep
German experimental films of the 1920s Sat 17 Sep
Merlyn Quaife Gallery Cabaret Sun 18 Sep

Weimar to Hollywood until 6 Nov

Screening classics from the 1920s onwards, this film series demonstrates the worldwide influence of German filmmakers during the inter-war years, particularly in Hollywood. The blue angel (dir: Josef von Sternberg 1930) screens this Wednesday and Sunday followed by nine weeks devoted to two key directors: FW Murnau (Nosferatu, a symphony of horror; The last laugh) and Fritz Lang (Metropolis; M).

Full program