In 2010/11 the exhibition, “Die Kunst der Anpassung“ (The Art of Adaptation) (Neue Galerie Graz, Stadtmuseum Graz), aimed to trace the modes of behavior of those artists that after the Anschluss in 1938 sided with the National Socialists or were themselves driving forces of the Nazi movement in Styria. Besides works that indicate an artist’s “inner emigration,“ the exhibition showed distinctly programmatic works of the very same artists: martial and elevated hero worship and explicitly National Socialist propaganda. On the basis of current research and with numerous documents of submission the exhibition demonstrated how intensely many Styrian artists and art organizations collaborated with the National Socialists. In addition, it made alarmingly clear how almost seamlessly artists, who had been loyal to the regime, were integrated into the post-war Styrian art scene.
Doctor and art historian Herbert Lipsky’s comprehensive study, “Kunst einer dunklen Zeit. Die bildende Kunst in der Steiermark zur Zeit des Nationalsozialismus“ (Art of Dark Times. Visual Art in Styria at the Time of National Socialism) (2010), provided the scholarly basis for this exhibition. In his work Lipsky processes years of scholarly research about visual art in Styria during the time of National Socialism, its prehistory and its aftermath. In his Künstlerhaus talk Lipsky presents this work and then aims to account for the influence of National Socialism on the Künstlerhaus, built in 1952 and thus only shortly after the regime.
The steirischer herbst 2019 under the heading of “Grand Hotel Abyss“ and its reference to the Hungarian philosopher, Marxist interpreter and political activist Georg Lukács deals with the relationship of intellectuals – and their perplexity – to the visibly rising dangers of fascism in the time just before World War II. The Künstlerhaus, which was built during the de facto expiring British “occupation” in 1952 and its administration that empowered democracy, reconstruction and the creation of an Austrian identity, was commissioned by the federal state of Styria and was the first cultural building erected in Austria after World War II. It takes the thematic focus of the exhibiting artists Jasmina Cibic, Jeremy Deller and Ian Hamilton Finlay as a starting point to explore its own formation and architectural history as well as its exhibition history, thus extending the historical frame into the post-war period. For this purpose, the supporting program is made up of personalities from various disciplines who were invited to discuss from a variety of perspectives the founding and development of the Künstlerhaus up to its current form of a hall for art and media.
Prof. Herbert Lipsky (*1936 Graz, lives in Graz) studied medicine in Graz and worked as specialist for surgery and urology. Later he became chief physician at the Department of Urology at the LKH Leoben. After his retirement he studied art history at the University of Graz and has since been working intensively on the history and art under the Nazi regime and in Styria more generally. Lipsky initiated an exhibition series on “Kunst im Spital” (Art in the Hospital) and provided the idea and thematic foundation for the exhibition curated by Günther Holler-Schuster, “Kunst der Anpassung. Steirische Künstler_innen im Nationalsozialismus zwischen Tradition und Propaganda“ (Neue Galerie Graz, 2010/11), which is based on Lipsky’s book, „”Kunst einer dunklen Zeit. Die bildende Kunst in der Steiermark zur Zeit des Nationalsozialismus“ (2010).