Arts Society & Culture

Georgia Museum of Art to screen ‘Crimes Against Culture’ film series

Rape of Europa GMOA film-v
The Rape of Europa (2006) will be shown May 1 at 7 p.m. at the Georgia Museum of Art.

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will present a documentary film series this May titled “Crimes Against Culture: Art and the Nazis.” All films will begin at 7 p.m. in the museum’s M. Smith Griffith Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

On May 1, “The Rape of Europa” (2006) will be shown. The film tells the story of the systematic theft, destruction and survival of Europe’s art treasures during the Third Reich and World War II. A look into the real-life “Monuments Men,” it takes viewers into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe and tells the story of the young art historians and curators who rescued and returned the millions of lost, hidden and stolen treasures. A discussion will follow this film, which is cosponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies.

On May 8, “The Architecture of Doom” (1989) will be shown. The film focuses on Adolf Hitler’s obsession with “pure” and aesthetically acceptable art and his sponsorship of exhibitions of so-called “degenerate art” that were intended to depict modernist painting and sculpture as expressions of mental illness and general depravity. The film chronicles Hitler’s scavenging of classical art from across Europe and his attempt, as an amateur architect, to design buildings that would express his vision of a Nordic empire with a Nazi aesthetic.

On May 15, “Portrait of Wally” (2012) will be shown. The film traces the history of an iconic Egon Schiele painting seized from a Jewish art dealer by the Nazis in 1939 and the quest for its return. This documentary details the historic court case that pitted the Manhattan District Attorney, the U.S. government and the heirs of a Viennese gallery owner against a major Austrian museum and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Callan Steinmann, associate curator of education at the museum, said the new “Monuments Men” movie sparked the idea for this film series. “Leading up to the film’s release in February, there was a lot of conversation in the media about the theft and destruction of art under the Third Reich,” she said. “This story, combined with new information released last fall about the discovery of a trove of 1,400 works looted during World War II, got us thinking about this topic. The three films we selected for this series explore the moral, aesthetic and legal issues surrounding the impact of the Nazi regime on art.”

The film screenings are supported by the UGA Parents and Families association.

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton St., University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602- 6719. For more information, including hours, see or call 706-542-4662.