‘Käthe Kollwitz: Memorialisation as Anti-Militarist Weapon’, Arts – Special Issue: World War, Art, and Memory: 1914 to 1945, ed. by Andrew Nedd, 2020.
Abstract: This essay explores Käthe Kollwitz’s anti-war graphic work in the context of the German, and later, international No More War movement from 1920 to 1925, where it performed an important role in anti-militarist campaigns, exhibitions and publications, both in Germany and internationally. Looking at Kollwitz’s production closely, we discover a deeply pragmatic artistic strategy, where the emotionality of Kollwitz’s famed prints was the result of tireless technical, formal and compositional investigation, contrived to maximise emotional impact. By choosing the easily disseminated medium of printmaking as her main vehicle and using a deliberately spare but powerful graphic language in carefully chosen motifs, Kollwitz intended her art to reach as broad an audience as possible in engaging anti-war sentiment. In connection with the leading anti-war voices of the time, including French Nobel Prize-winning writer Romain Rolland and the founder of War Resisters’ International, Helene Stöcker, she deployed her work to reach beyond the confines of the art gallery and into internationally distributed posters, periodicals and books. Keywords: World War I; German art; anti-war; Käthe Kollwitz; Weimar; printmaking; graphic art; anti-militarism; memory; memorialization; No More War movement; modernism. Read …
Public Lecture, 28 Oct 2019: Western Front Association, Cork BranchOtto Dix and the Visual Memory of the Western Front of the Great War.
This lecture will provide insight to German artist Otto Dix’s war pictures, from those created during his training for the battlefield through to his post World War II works of the late 1940s. The lecture analyses the extent to which the pictures engaged with the politics of war memorialisation in changing artistic, social and political contexts.
On 18 January 2019, I gave a public talk onart, war and memory in twentieth century visual culture, chaired by Prof. Leonida Kovač (University of Zagreb) and Dr Sandra Križić Roban at the Galerie Spot, Zagreb. This was such an interesting evening, as members of the public as well as academics posed questions on various aspects of the topic. Alongside more academic questions such as the intersections of history and memory in relation to the commemoration of war, the fireside chats with my grandmother about her experience of the Black and Tans as a child in the midland Irish town of Tullamore came up for discussion.
In conversation with Prof. Leonida Kovač (University of Zagreb), Dr Sandra Križić Roban and members of the public at the Galerie Spot, Zagreb.
I am delighted to have presented my paper, Memorializing WWI: Otto Dix’s Metropolis and the Reconfiguration of Militant Masculinity, at the conference Artistic Expressions and the Great War, at Hofstra University, New York, convened by Professor Sally Charnow, Department of History, Hofstra University. This interdisciplinary conference marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War and aims to explore the impact of total war on the arts from a transnational perspective. This event has been rewarding in so many ways, thanks to the stellar work of Prof. Charnow and the rich contributions of everyone involved.
It has been immensely stimulating to present my research on Otto Dix at the GSA’s annual conference, and share insights with talented researchers and make new connections. In addition to delivering a paper, I was delighted to act as commentator for the panel Weimar Representations of Women and Modernity on Sunday, 30 September.
Ann Murray, ed., Constructing the Memory of War in Visual Culture since 1914: The Eye on War (Routledge, 2018)
This collection offers a transnational, interdisciplinary approach to the impact of war on visual media from the outbreak of World War I to the present, examining a diverse range of visual material which reflect the heterogeneity of experiences and perspectives that have characterised artistic responses to war in the past century. It aims to contribute in a meaningful manner to the growing discourse on the memorialisation of war in art by exploring works that have resulted from an environment of war and across a broad range of twentieth century conflicts. With a foreword by Dr Laura Brandon, CM, PhD, Adjunct Professor, former Historian, Art and War, Canadian War Museum. The table of contents and introduction is here