That wasn't funny!: the critical humor of Otto Dix in Weimar Germany
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Humor is usually understood as a simple pleasure or at best a critical weapon for attacking one's enemies while appearing good-humored. The paintings by Otto Dix during the Weimar Republic in Germany are often interpreted as critical attacks on the political and social structures of the 1920s. While Dix utilized various forms of humor in critical ways, it was not for political activism or social reform. This study investigates some of the humor techniques used by Dix through Freud's theory in Jokes and their relation to the unconscious. A complex blending of parody, satire, caricature and cynicism in Dix's painting Three Prostitutes on the Street from 1925 complicates a propagandistic interpretation of his work. By using cynicism he passively accepts the conditions of Weimar Germany and uses humor as a defensive technique rather than an offensive attack. By examining his contradicting life and imagery, this study hopes to move beyond simple oppositions of leftist/rightist, modern/traditional and conservative/liberal into larger and complex understanding of cultural criticism.
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