Iain Gale on exhibitions

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The Independent Culture
In 1937 the painter Hans Feibusch was among those artists who had the honour to be included in Hitler's infamous "Degenerate Art Exhibition". Feibusch, now aged 96 and still at work, is currently celebrated in an exhibition at Pallant House in Chichester. It is not hard to see how his richly-painted works, with their heady combination of classical mythology, religious anecdote and natural imagery, would have been just too risque for the Fuhrer. Hitler preferred his art to be like his soldiers - strong, obedient and well-disciplined. He was particularly keen on tightly-muscled male torsos, and one wonders what his reaction might have been to two other current shows.

Craig Peacock's mythological paintings at Glasgow's Compass Gallery do feature the occasional Adonis, but it is unlikely that his underlying strain of neo-romanticism would have been sufficiently Teutonic. What, though, would Hitler have made of Gilbert & George, whose latest show, endearingly entitled "The Naked Shit Pictures", currently adorns the South London Gallery? Certainly there's a profusion of male nakedness on view, but we're hardly talking "master race". And exactly what is it that they're doing? Almost certainly, Spitalfields' finest (despite a curious physical resemblance to Goebbels and Himmler) would have joined Feibusch in the Degenerate Art show. We should count ourselves lucky we can see them in the flesh.

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Below: detail from Gilbert and George's The Naked Eye at the South London Gallery

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