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Neurons as Art: See Beautiful Anatomy Drawings by the Father of Neuroscience, Santiago Ramón y Cajal
The 1937 Nazi Degenerate Art Exhibition displayed the art of Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Georg Grosz, and many more internationally famous modernists with maximum prejudice.
Over a million people first attended, three times more than saw the exhibition of state-sanctioned art—or more specifically, art sanctioned by Hitler the failed artist, who had endured watching “the realistic paintings of buildings and landscapes,” of sturdy peasants and suffering poets, “dismissed by the art establishment in favour of abstract and modern styles.” The Degenerate Art Exhibition “was his moment to get his revenge,” and he had it.
Ten years after the Degenerate Art Exhibition, philosopher Theodor Adorno, himself a refugee from Nazism, called Expressionism “a naïve aspect of liberal trustfulness,” on a continuum between fascist tools like Futurism and “the ideology of the cinema.” Nonetheless, it was Hitler who most bore out Adorno’s general observation: “Taste is the most accurate seismograph of historical experience….
Reacting against itself, it recognizes its own lack of taste.” The hysterical performance of disgust surrounding so-called “degenerate art” turned the exhibit into a sensation, a blockbuster that, if it did not prove the virtues of modernism, showed many around the world that the Nazis were as crude, dim, and vicious as they alleged their supposed enemies to be.
Restaged Degenerate Art Exhibitions have become very popular in the art word, bringing together artists who need no further exposure, in order to historically reenact, in some fashion, the experience of seeing them all together for the first time.
The best free things to do in Barcelona
Barcelona has enough to keep the most voracious of culture vultures and self-indulgent of gourmands happy for weeks, but all those entry fees and tapas bills can mount up.
In addition to these 20 free things to do in Barcelona, you can also save on transport by investing in a T10 travel card, which allows you 10 journeys within the city on any form of public transport.
If you’re here around 24 September, don’t miss the five-day Festes de la Mercè, which brings the city to life with free concerts, dancing, fireworks, acrobatic feats and lively correfocs (colourful parades of drums, devils and firecrackers).
The most famous indoor market hall is the Mercat de la Boqueria, filled with an explosion of fruit, vegetables, seafood, rows and rows of cured jamón and some mind-boggling butchers’ displays.
In recent years, however, it’s become extremely crowded and touristy, and more stalls sell fancy sweets and tropical juices than local products.
The Born Centre Cultural is a dazzlingly converted former market building that has as its centrepiece remains of some of the hundreds of buildings razed to the ground by the forces of Philip V after the siege of 1714.
Free entry in the morning makes it worth venturing inside to take in its soaring domed ceilings, pillars and cloister with courtyard of palms, orange trees and resident gaggle of white geese.
Get lost in a warren of cobblestone alleyways lined with bars and quirky shops and dotted with quiet little plaças, in the atmospheric medieval quarter of Barri Gòtic.
At this arcaded plaça, reminiscent of a more modest version of St Mark’s Square in Venice, look out for Gaudí’s first piece of commissioned work for the city – lamp-posts featuring coiled dragon-headed serpents leading up to a winged helmet.
It lacks the historic impact of the neighbouring Barri Gòtic, but the network of lively streets around El Raval is home to an eclectic cast of characters including artists, backpackers, students and more.
There are plenty of cool bars and vintage clothing stores, not to mention the colossal MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona), as impressive from outside as within and free late afternoon on Saturdays.
A giant playground for all ages, it’s filled with an eclectic array of people, from West African drummers to tap dancers in the bandstand and aspiring circus performers practising on the grass.
They might take some leg power to get to, but the Bunkers del Carmel offer the best view in the whole of Barcelona – a 360-degree vista with the city and all its iconic monuments on one side, and hills and the town of Sant Cugat on the other.
You can also climb down inside the bunkers, where you’ll find a free small museum telling you about their role during the Civil War as an anti-aircraft battery, and later during the 1940s to 1960s as a shanty town housing over 3,000 people.
See the Oldest Printed Advertisement in English: An Ad for a Book from 1476
But here in the 21st century, when both that space and the ads that appear throughout it are as likely to be digital as physical, we might take a moment to look back at how the practice of putting up notices to sell things began. In the English language, it goes back to at least to the mid-fifteenth century — specifically, to the year 1476, when Britain’s first printer William Caxton produced not just a manual for priests called Sarum Pie (or the Ordinale ad usum Sarum), but easily postable, playing card-sized advertisements for the book as well.
In both the advertisement and Sarum Pie itself, 'the letter shapes lack 'sharpness:' frequently 'blobs' and small hairlines appear as letters, while an individual letter usually has a variety of appearances when looked at in detail,' possibly an attempt by the printer to create 'a more 'genuine' – i.e.
hence the assurances about both the type and the price in the text of Caxton's advertisement. That the origin of advertising turns out to be closely connected with religion may come as a surprise — though given the fact that the print revolution itself began with a Bible, a product that in either physical or digital form now practically sells itself, it may not be that big a surprise.
- On Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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