The Power of Art

The Roman emperor was the first ruler who systematically used art as a tool of selfpresentation. Two thousend years later, an exhibition in the German Historical Museum in Berlin (Deutsches Historisches Museum) shows the development from 1945. For a number of decades visual art – and especially modern art – has experienced an amazing career as status symbol in commerce and politics. Many politicians present themselves as friends of modern art. The fact that this phenomenon is particularly widespread in the Federal Republic has to do with recent German history: after the Nazi period many political symbols – on up to the flag – were tainted; there was a need to find new substitute symbols. Works in the fine arts, above all from the school of abstraction, were particularly well-suited for this purpose. They possessed the authority not only to signal power, but also to make it felt as an experience. Alongside numerous photographs showing the representatives of commerce and politics in connection with artworks there will be many original works that have played a part in the staging of power. In addition, short films made especially for the exhibition will give insight into the presentation of art in enterprises. Interviews with key figures from the art world offer important background information.