Turks, Jews, and Other Germans in Contemporary Art
- Meiss Award Recipient for 2021
- Honorable Mention for the 2021 Hans and Lea Grundig Prize
The first book to examine multicultural visual art in Germany, discussing more than thirty contemporary artists and arguing for a cosmopolitan Germanness.
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 multicultural art scene, Chametzky explores the work of more than thirty German artists who are (among other ethnicities) Turkish, Jewish, Arab, Asian, Iranian, Sinti and Roma, Balkan, and Afro-German.
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
“Chametzky's is a welcome call to question racialized definitions of 'Germanness' and, ultimately, to redefine our surprisingly stagnant understanding of what constitutes German art today.”
Lynette Roth, Daimler Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard Art Museums
“An important contribution to the study of contemporary German art and identity. Chametzky strikes out in new ways, especially in his critical approach to a broader palette of artistic interventions.”
Paul B. Jaskot, Professor of Art History, Duke University; author of The Nazi Perpetrator: Postwar German Art and the Politics of the Right
“Through close analysis of contemporary artistic positions, Chametzky offers bold insight that reflects the complex relational powers in Germany's art scene—beyond national boundaries and within diverse creative practices.”
Gulsen Bal, Senior Lecturer in Curating, Department of Art Theory and Practice, Manchester School of Art
“Turks, Jews, and other Germans in Contemporary art makes the work of artists who identify with multiple cultural legacies an international affair. In doing so, it shows how legitimation is a kind of restitution.”
Rose Rejouis, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Lang College The New School University For Liberal Arts
“In this compelling, needed study, art historian Peter Chametzky pushes against the persistent bias in German art museums and global art history in telling the narrative of contemporary German art almost solely as a story of white, Christian artists.”
Maud Lavin, Professor, Visual and Critical Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago