While Yasmina Reza's Art is breaking house records on Broadway, Irondale Ensemble has a different Art in downtown New York. The company's Degenerate Art opens at Theater for the New City, April 22 - May 23.
In 1937, the Third Reich confiscated more than 16,000 modern or avant-garde paintings, sculptures, etc. from Germany's museums and displayed 650 of them in an exhibit titled, "Degenerate Art". By exhibiting these pieces as well as more agit-prop works of their own creation, the Nazis attempted to prove to their people that modern art corrupted middle-class values and was a threat to society as a whole.
In Degenerate Art, Irondale compares the actions surrounding that exhibit with contemporary U.S. Congress hearings on funding public art, juxtaposing the two to examine what it is about art that government finds so intimidating. "The idea is to use this historical event not as a documentary but as an illumination for the current political and social climate," said Irondale's Executive Director Terry Greiss.
The Irondale Ensemble Project was founded in 1983, and has produced 29 Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. They specialize in the technique and plays of Brecht, recent productions include the American premiere of Brecht's Conversations in Exile, Edward Bond's The Bundle, Strindberg's Ghost Sonata (1995), Danton's Death (1994) and The Uncle Vanya Show (1990), a collaboration between Irondale and St. Petersburg's Salon Theatre.
For reservations or more information call (212) 633-1292. -- By Sean McGrath