Wednesday, 26 April 2017

gischt

Designated as a Führerstadt along with Nürnberg, München, Hamburg and Berlin, the city of Linz had a formative connection to Adolf Hitler as his place of residence in his teen years and resolved to bestow the city with a gift in the form of a bronze by noted Nazi sculptor Wilhelm Wandschneider to adorn a rotunda in a park, pledging to make the city the cultural capital of the Reich.
Considering his patronage, most of Wandschneider’s works were melted down after the war—among the few exceptions being a 1913 commission for Saint Louis, Missouri called “The Naked Truth,” but this statue escaped that fate for sixty years until some art students realised the provenance and it was sequestered in a museum warehouse since 2008. Linz’ mayor has, not without controversy, decided to restore the bronze of Aphrodite (from the Greek word for sea foam, die Gischt)—with a detailed plaque explaining its history. What do you think? Especially against the backdrop of some places in America going in the opposite direction in taking down memorials to the confederate states, does this seem like historic sanitation or otherwise? The mayor defended her plan to put this uncomfortable heritage back on display to make an “active effort at remembrance.”