10 Feb. 2022

Exhibition: Bertolt Brecht’s PAPER WAR Exile in America 1941-1947

See photos from this event here.

Join Rosa Luxemburg NYC for the opening of “Bertolt Brecht’s PAPER WAR Exile in America 1941-1947,” Thursday, February 10, 2022, 6-8pm, Goethe Institut, 30 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003. Register here.

***This exhibition will be up through March 17. Please check the Goethe Institut website for library open hours.

Between 1941 and 1947, writer Bertolt Brecht lived in exile in the United States. As a European refugee during World War II and, despite his fame and reputation as a playwright, an outsider in Hollywood and Broadway, this period in Brecht’s life was characterized by astonishment and alienation.

How do you make sense of a strange country during an ever-changing era? Brecht turned to newspapers and other American media to make sense of American culture and his world of exile. In his projects “War Primer” and “Journal,” he wrote about the political climate, literature, and theater, borrowing articles, photos and headlines to create montages in his writing and reflection.

Eighty years after his exile in the US began, Bertolt Brecht’s Paper War looks through Brecht’s glasses with contemporary eyes, reflecting on his views of the American Way of Life during the time of Roosevelt, Truman, and McCarthy, combining Brecht’s writing and the newspaper clippings he used for inspiration. By combining these elements in an exhibition, curator Grischa Meyer pays homage to Brecht’s montage format, expanding and renewing the aesthetic point of view while adding contemporary context and understanding to the works.

The exhibition is supported by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation New York Office, with funding from the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), and is accompanied by talks and film screenings. A German language version will be simultaneously presented at the Augsburg “Brecht Festival 2022.”

Photo: Ulrich Wüst

The author:

Graphic designer, author and lecturer Grischa Meyer was born in Berlin/GDR. 

Subjects of his published works include the photographer and theater actress Ruth Berlau, war photography and German post-war everyday history. From 2006 to 2020 he lectured at Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin. Since 2005 he has been running a research project on Bertolt Brecht’s text-image montagesThe exhibition “Bertolt Brecht’s Paperwar”–now at the Goethe Institute in New York–is its first interim result and was created in collaboration with Holger Teschke, dramaturge, writer and lecturer in Berlin.