The 2018/19 season

Promoting and shaping culture

Bayer AG can look back on around 110 years of supporting the arts and culture – with an exemplary program of cultural activities.

Thomas Helfrich | Head of Bayer KulturZoom image
Thomas Helfrich | Head of Bayer Kultur

Dear friends of Bayer Arts & Culture,

It’s a democracy with a shortage of truly committed democrats but teeming with anti-democratic forces. The governing parties are losing the confidence of the voters, and radical groups are seeking to exploit this weakness for their own ends. The gap between rich and poor is widening, which is also evident in the capital city of Berlin, a mecca for hipsters and bon vivants. Art is becoming ever more diverse; however, just as in culture as a whole, there is no unifying trend. Culture remains divided between the high- and low-brow, the avant-garde and the traditional.

You might assume that these words are describing 2018 as a time of great uncertainty and conflict. But they actually refer to Germany between 1918 to 1938 – another period that was plagued by tremendous uncertainty and discord. Those two decades were a time of shocking, horrendous events, with repercussions that continue to be felt in our society today.

Two movements from that era – the Bauhaus and “Degenerate Art” – serve as leitmotifs for the 2018/2019 season. Although the Bauhaus, founded in 1919, existed for only 14 years, it still ranks as the 20th century’s most important school of architecture, design and art. It gave rise to bold, rational and functional designs that were widely considered shocking a century ago, but that are today recognized as a visionary and still trendsetting element of our everyday lives. The Bauhaus school was shut down in 1933 by the National Socialists, who attacked modern art, calling it “degenerate,” and enacted a “Law on the Confiscation of Products of Degenerate Art” in 1938. In focusing on these topics, the 2018/2019 season seeks to stimulate discovery, but also reflection. We are pleased to feature in this issue contributions from experts on the Bauhaus and Degenerate Art and on the influence of these movements.

Art thrives on change, and our stARTacademy is more vital than ever. Over the coming years, we will be supporting four new stART artists. They include two musicians and a dancer/choreographer who set out from Leverkusen to conquer the world – as well as, for the first time, a filmmaker. You can learn more about them in this issue of our magazine and on our blog. We hope you will welcome them to Bayer’s Erholungshaus – as we welcome you to the 2018/2019 season!


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