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date: 13 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the East German artistic response to the 1973 putsch in Chile, an event now recognized as foundational in the development of neoliberalism. Outraged and saddened, artists in East Germany responded to the putsch with thousands of works of art. These works disrupt Western expectations for East German art, which was far more modern and complex than the term “socialist realism” might suggest. They also offer insight into the horrors of the putsch and remind us that there have been—and can once again be—alternatives to neoliberal capitalism. In addition to creating prints, paintings, and sculptures, East German artists organized solidarity events to raise money for Chile and spearheaded a book project with artists from sixteen communist and capitalist countries to document the event and losses suffered. This article ultimately shows that communist visual culture can serve as a model for art as an activist practice.

Keywords: East German art, East German painting, socialist realism, art in socialism, socialist art, neoliberalism, Chile, modern art, contemporary art

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