Turks, Jews, and other Germans in Contemporary Art

We cordially invite you to a presentation of and conversation on the book Turks, Jews, and Other Germans in Contemporary Art with its author and Arlette-Louise Ndakoze. 

With Turks, Jews, and Other Germans in Contemporary Art, Peter Chametzky presents a view of visual culture in Germany that leaves behind the usual suspects – those artists who dominate discussions of contemporary German art, including Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, and Rosemarie Trockel – and instead turns to those artists not as well known outside Germany, including Maziar Moradi, Hito Steyerl, and Tanya Ury. In this first book-length examination of Germany's cosmopolitan art scene, Chametzky explores the work of more than thirty German artists.

With a title that echoes Peter Gay's 1978 collection of essays, Freud, Jews and Other Germans, this book, like Gay's, rejects the idea of “us” and “them” in German culture. Discussing artworks in a variety of media that both critique and expand notions of identity and community, Chametzky offers a counternarrative to the fiction of an exclusively white, Christian German culture, arguing for a cosmopolitan Germanness. He considers works that deploy critical, confrontational, and playful uses of language, especially German and Turkish; that assert the presence of “foreign bodies” among the German body politic; that grapple with food as a cultural marker; that engage with mass media; and that depict and inhabit spaces imbued with the element of time.

American discussions of German contemporary art have largely ignored the emergence of non-ethnic Germans as some of Germany's most important visual artists. Turks, Jews, and Other Germans in Contemporary Art fills this gap.

Artists discussed include Rozbeh Asmani, Said Baalbaki, Candice Breitz, Esther Dischereit, Nezaket Ekici, Parastou Forouher, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Manaf Halbouni, Silke Helmerdig, Mwangi Hutter, Natasha A. Kelly, Maziar Moradi, Farkhondeh Shahroudi, Hito Steyerl, Nasan Tur, and Tanya Ury. 

Peter Chametzkyhas been Professor of Art History at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, since 2012. From 1998 to 2012 he taught in the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. In addition to this book, he is the author of Objects as History in Twentieth-Century German Art: Beckmann to Beuys (University of California Press, 2010). He has published articles in such journals as Art in America, The Art Bulletin,The Massachusetts Review, Modern Intellectual History, and Oxford Art Journal. Exhibition catalogue essays for the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt a. M. are forthcoming in 2022.