The 1920s were a decade of both progression and backlash. A catastrophic World War followed by a pandemic with remarkable parallels to the current coronavirus crisis awakened people’s thirst for life. At no time in the 20th century was the desire for change more intense. Cities grew at breakneck speed and new visions were created. Conventional role models in society and the family were questioned and upended; disadvantaged social groups made their voices heard in culture and politics. Improved conditions for workers went hand in hand with a growing leisure industry. The spirit of innovation fed through directly into art, with experimentation in all disciplines. Remarkably, the products of this era have lost almost none of their relevance today.
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POLITICS AND THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT
In 1912, an event brought the unbridled euphoria of the period to a standstill: the “unsinkable” transatlantic ocean liner RMS Titanic, a symbol of progress and technological development, sank during its inaugural journey from Southampton, England, to New York when it hit an iceberg.
THE EXPERIMENTAL THEATER OF MAX REINHARDT
Austrian film and theater director Max Reinhardt (b. 1873; d. 1943) revolutionized the foundations of traditional dramaturgy, seeking the audience’s emotional impact by enhancing elements like the set design, music, and expressiveness of the interpretors’ faces.
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Catalogue The Roaring Twenties
The 1920s embodied both the shift in new directions and backsliding like no other decade has. Throughout the 20th century, the yearning for innovation was never as intense as it was back then, and the high degree of transformation during this period was clearly mirrored in the zeal for experimentation in the arts. The profusely illustrated exhibition catalogue surveys images from the “roaring twenties” and addresses different aspects via texts written by Cathérine Hug, Jakob Tanner, Gioia Mori, Alexis Schwarzenbach, and Petra Joos.