Chaos and Classicism: The New Body

6:27 | Published on October 1, 2010 | 25 Views

Atina Grossmann, Professor of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Cooper Union, New York, explains the fascination with the body, health, hygiene, and fitness that emerged out of the loss of World War I. She explains how this “cult of the body” was a response to multiple crises provoked by the war, including the loss of an entire generation of men and a complicated relationship between the body and the machine. This fascination with the body produced a culture of sports celebrity along with exhibits at museums and trade fairs on hygiene and fitness. Grossmann alludes to how this obsession with strong, healthy bodies would be appropriated, misused, and reused by right-wing political groups that were emerging in this period.

For more information, visit Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936.