Gerd Arntz and other progressive German artists


This is a German video about Gerd Arntz.

From ART FOR A CHANGE blog in the USA:

The Cologne Progressives

Some years ago, while visiting the German city of Cologne, I discovered the works of the Cologne Progressive Artists Group (Gruppe Progressiver Künstler Köln), a bloc of artists that represented the radical outer fringe of the Expressionist movement of the Weimar Republic (1918-1933). Fortunately for enthusiasts of art from the Weimar years the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, has mounted an exhibition titled Progressive Cologne: 1920-33, Seiwert – Hoerle – Arntz. Running from March 15 to June 15, 2008, the exhibit is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalog book, Painting as a Weapon – a definitive text on the Progressives that is sure to please both historians and aficionados of German Expressionism. …

The exhibition focuses on three core members of the Cologne Progressives, Franz Wilhelm Seiwert, Heinrich Hoerle, and Gerd Arntz, with the exhibit presenting over fifty paintings and ninety prints by the artists. The Progressives were interested in the creation of a formal proletarian aesthetic, an innovative art of and for the working class. While the Cologne Progressives were in part inspired by the Soviet Constructivists, they did not adopt the severe geometric abstractions of their Soviet counterparts. …

Gerd Arntz collaborated with the Marxist Viennese social scientist Otto Neurath on creating what they called the International System of Typographic Picture Education, or Isotype. The idea was to provide the working class with a universal visual language of symbols and pictograms that would assist them in understanding complex ideas concerning politics, economics, industry, and society in general. Neurath hired Arntz as a designer for the Isotype project in 1928, and over the years the artist designed some 4000 pictograms. While Isotype was based upon a radical political vision, the very concept for the pictographic road signs and other governmental pictograms we see everywhere today can be traced back directly to the collaborative work of Neurath and Arntz.

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