• art functions as an expressive cultural metaphor

• 20th centuries have been changed by technology, colonization, expoitation, revolution-reflected in our art works, how we, cultures interact

• specifically, Futurist/Fascist movements have impacted culture/arts

• parallels between Nazi efforts to control arts and current American events


• Futurism describes early 1900’s nationalistic socio-political movement whose proponents attacked "outworn" institutions as being responsible for Italian cultural stagnation: monarchy, church, socialism; proposed violence, militarism, aggression, patriotism, anarchy, war as progress

• Futurism began as a literary movement, spread into art, music, politics

• Poet Marinetti is credited as being the leader and founder of the movement, authored its primary manifestos 1909-12

• futurist strategy involved drawing public’s attention from "obsolete" traditional Italian values towards modern technological environment: transportation, communication, science advances; by attacking tradition, futurists sought independent (from foreigners) national revitalization, industrialized economy, modern society; saw in technology the means to aggressively establish social, economic change in Italy

• futurists advocated removing institutions that preserved culture: universities, museums, libraries, etc.

• opposed to pacifism, socialism; swayed popular opinion [propoganda] resulting in military aggressions (Ethiopia, Germany in WWI)

• main futurist manifestos on music authored by composer Pratella and painter Luigi Russolo, but heavily edited by Marinetti:

• Pratella criticized composers for baseing works upon past musical forms, rather than pursuing modern concepts; attacked universities for inhibiting exerimental trends, proposed microtones, atonality, rhythmic innovations; however Pratella’s work was overall considered to be too conservative to reflect the aesthetic

• Russolo’s Art of Noises (1913) advocated a break from pitchcentric sounds in favor of using "noise sounds" for which he classified into six categories

• 4 futurist musical concepts:

1) noise as compositional material; expanded 20th C compositional vocabulary, influencing composers in electro-acoustic, traditional mediums

2) microtones

3) machine music; predated major developments in electro-acoustic medium by 35 years

4) music functioning as political propaganda (draw connection to Roman church)


• the term Fascism applies to the movement & later regime led by Mussolini (1919-1943); resulted from various socio-economic conditions, pressures (impact of WWI, rise of national socialism); was presented as a political fighting force to protect Italy from external/internal capitalist, socialist forces (political left, working class solidity were creating movement similar to Russian Bolshevists)

• fascists promised a revolution that would improve everything, unify social classes

• program was based upon external military aggression, conquest of weak neighbors; could compete with socialism by creating employment opportunities, land for colonization, importing alien labor for exploitation; ultimately was defeated in WWII

• primary philosophy of Fascism was to make all aspects of society subservient to the State: to control

• parallel between futurism and fascism: shared nationalism, violent means; futurists propagandized for war against Ethiopia, its colonization, actions against Germanic states in WWI

• Mussolini, involved w/ futurists, Marinetti, adapted futurists’ propagandist techniques to manipulate populace: directives issued requiring music ed curricula study of Italian music other than 19th C opera; emphasized Monteverdi, Palestrina

• 1935-Ministry of Popular Culture, created from Ministry of Press and Propaganda: controlled media and arts; criteria assessing works determined if works unfavorable to public order, moral, decency; criteria dictated concerning concert programming (soloists in symphonies, Italian music of the past); directives regarding race (Jews-Mendelssohn)

• MinPopcul secretly subsidized artists, musicians, etc.; in return, influential composers, conductors promoted the regime: tradeoff

• 1938 politically motivated race directives eliminated Jews from education, Aryan marriage; Jewish composers, performers eliminated from musical activity; some imprisonment, although official persecution was carried during German occuption 1943-45



• terms refers to movement and philosophies of Fascist National Socialist Party (Nazi party) under its leader Adolph Hitler, which governed Germany 1933-45

• Philosophy towards race, nationalism: none but those of German blood may be members of the State [ie, no Jews]; demanded ruthless compaign against those whose activities are injurious to the common interest (‘profiteers’); demanded prosection of all tendencies in art and literature calculated to disintegrate national life

• recognized cultural values of art, music and literature as reflecting society; sought control using well-organized, effective propaganda machine

• Hitler subscribed to Wagner’s operas [Nietchze] as the basis of German Nationalism, Nazi philosophy; in arts, everything "modern" was consored, condemned; in music, anything non-Aryan: dissonance, atonality, Jazz, Jazz-influence

• Nazis seized control of media’s communication means for disseminating political rhetoric; severed cultural progression; severe rules for acceptable music: major keys, quick tempos, song texts must express joy; unacceptable: introspective malancholy texts [sullen Jewish gloom and despair]; prohibited instruments timbres foreign to German spirit: cowbells, flexatones, brushes, plucked strings, muted brass; banned public broadcasting of "negro jazz"

• performance by or of all Jewish musicians or music, living or dead was completely banned "to protect the German people); Jewish musicians prohibited from public performance

• Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda Enlightment: created all aspects of culture by creating separate bureaus to deal with individual areas (literature, visual, theatre and music, etc.): art was not to be made object of further experimentation; experimentalism viewed to be a foreign element that discredited and compromised German art before the world

• Reichskulturkammer board controlled all performances; musical life in all cities brought under rigid conformity and uniformity; press was unable to criticize musical endeavors; could only "observe", using specific language, those works allowed to be "observed"

• term "Kulturbolschevist" referred to anyone whose opinions did not coincide with "current" unstable Nazi philosophies; term effective dealing with "modern" composers such as Schoenberg, as well as anyone whose music was not of a purely German character; "Kulturbolschevism" aimed at "international" (ie Jewish, the only true internationality) musical trends; corruption of German music blamed on Debussy, Stravinsky; Hindemith, Schoenberg; Schoenberg singled for his position as teacher, leader; publishers such as Universal Edition, publications like Melos accused of conspiracy aimed at destroying German culture

• Banned: Berg, Webern, Krenek, Bartok, Hindemith, Dallapiccola (Mussolini considered himself a modernist and liked Dallapiccola); specific pieces: Firebird, Le Sacre; techniques also used against American conductors and musicians who protested against Nazi racial policies

• historical problems: Mendelsohn’s A Midsummer’s Nigh Dream, vital to German concert life, was commissioned to be replaced, unsuccessfully; Mozart’s librettos by Lorenzo da Ponte, a Jew, were allowed when translated into German by an Aryan; Handel’s oratorios, based on old testament, referred to "Jehovah"; however, Goebbels prohibited modifying Handel’s texts; attempts to alter substantial history betrayed a society whose cultural values were thoroughly undermined

• negative effects: composers’ creative outlet limited; Jews unable to receive royalties; opera houses lost important conductors, performers, administrators; "brain drain" from prohibition of Jews from teaching [Schoenberg "unfit" to teach"; performers fled to US, France, England; America to the forefront

• no real positive influence other than invention of Magnetophone in 1935

Contemporary Parallels in American Culture

• rift between conservative, liberal thought widened in past 15 years; both positions marked by political extremism; Fascist example of control of culture and arts by government is issue of concern to contemporary Americans, artists

• popular genres has always been object of rebellion, typically drawing ire of those who represent the object of rebellion

• opportunists of religious right have led campaigns against "music of the Satan"; tele-preachers draw attention to issue of cultural immorality, obscene lyrics, violent themes in popular music, donations and Publishing houses that crank out literature by the truckloads, reap the rewards; similar careers were forged in Nazy Germany by those opportunists who seeked to gain by discrediting their political enemies, seek out corrupting traces in art, music, literature

• attempts to legistlate and control song lyrics, "gangsta rap": Tipper Gore, Senator Jess Helms, Sen. Paul Simon, others in Senate subcommittee hearings in 1985, 1994; Gore advocates system of labels on packaged products; Helms, Simon are both determined to legislate governmental control of art, popular music, tv.; "control" Gore advocates is a form of governmental censorship; when art is "controlled", can it function properly in society? Gore has attacked subliminal "Paul is Dead" messages: reverse envelope legislation has been attempted in several states; rcorporate control of media, record store chains refusal to stock certain types of material parallels actions taken by local Musikkomissars who refused to allow works of certain composers to be performed

• political correctness

• NEA: should taxpayer’s money ought to be spent on works which are offensive to some? NEA establishes a climate for creativity, funding groups, arts, making arts available to a broad audience, provides arts education; furor concerns work of Robert Mapplethorpe (homoerotic photographs) and Andres Serrano ("Piss Christ" photo): D’Amato and Helms attempted to block federal funding of art considered to be offensive; reappropriations challenge: let us not fund anything that we find offensive, let us fund only things that are acceptable to the broad reach of the American public (dem volks); arts should be free from political interference

• people like Helms fail to see art as a cultural metaphor, only see that which appears on the surface; feels he can remove "immoral influence" from the culture by censoring art; if by excising that which is offensive, art will suffer; if art suffers, culture and society suffers, as did that of Europe during the Fascist and Nazi regimes; since public universities are subsidized by state funding, does that mean Americans want to terminate the free exchange of ideas provided in universities, as did the Nazis?