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German Gallery Drops Artist Over Anti-Immigration Facebook Posts

Gallery owner says he doesn’t want to support the painter’s political views and that ‘this is essentially what you do if you give him a platform’

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Axel Krause, ‘Spätfilm’, 2015, installation view, Kleindienst, Leipzig. Courtesy: Kleindienst, Leipzig

Axel Krause, ‘Spätfilm’, 2015, installation view, Kleindienst, Leipzig. Courtesy: Kleindienst, Leipzig

A Leipzig gallery has dropped one of its long-standing artists over a series of anti-immigration Facebook posts. Galerie Kleindienst, run by Christian Seyde, has parted ways with Axel Krause, a painter affiliated with the New Leipzig school, known for artists such as Neo Rauch and Norbert Bisky, after the artist described Germany’s response to the refugee crisis as ‘illegal mass immigration.’ In another post on the social media site, Krause wrote: ‘We will be a minority in our own country!’

Gallery-owner Seyde told the German broadcaster MDR Kultur that he did not want to promote Krause’s political views and that ‘this is essentially what you do if you give him a platform for presentation.’ The gallery had represented the artist for 13 years.

Krause responded: ‘I voted for a party that sits in the German Bundestag’, referring to the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party. ‘Incidentally I’m among the majority of Saxons [who voted for AfD]. And to be virtually marginalized for that is quite a problematic situation.’

He later added on Facebook: Just imagine the outcry if a gallery [dropped] a feminist, young woman of color because of her political statements! A storm of indignation would go through the (leftist) Media!’

Krause said he had finished paintings for an exhibition that was scheduled to open at the gallery this October, on his 60th birthday, which has since been cancelled. His last show at the gallery was in 2015.

Sometimes branded ‘The New Berlin’ in travel sections, Leipzig traditionally aligns itself with the country’s left-leaning capital – unlike the neighbouring Saxony city of Dresden, home to the anti-immigration Pegida movement, which typically shares its conservative attitude with the small towns and villages of the Saxon countryside. 

Read: With Europe’s Far-Right Turn, German Politicians Campaign For Cultural Freedom: ‘Art Does Not Have to Please’

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