0281 From Unwanted Heritage towards Difficult Heritage
Revisiting the Legacies of Arno Breker and His Portrait Busts of the Ludwig Couple
This article discusses Arno Breker’s portrait busts (1986) of the German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig and the debates that surrounded this work during its displays in Germany and Hungary. Focusing on the contingent ways in which difficult pasts are attached to artistic heritage, it articulates how cross-border travels complicate this attachment. The work of Hitler’s once-leading artist Breker serves as a case study for analyzing how meanings are on the one hand produced and on the other hand suppressed and willfully ignored in the context of exhibition settings. The analysis of these portrait busts’ curatorial contextualisation from the 1980s to the 2020s reveals a shift in curators‘ attitudes towards Breker’s works: from an 'unwanted heritage' that is intentionally neglected to a 'difficult heritage' and the articulation of its difficulties and dissonances. Analysing the biography of these works makes it possible to show the important roles that curatorial problematising has carried in the framing of these works, both in Germany and Hungary.
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