Leipzig’s Galerie Kleindienst has severed ties with painter Axel Krause after he posted a string of anti-immigration statements on Facebook. The gallery has represented Krause for 13 years, but dropped the artist from its roster after a string of recent Facebook posts in which the artist articulated his support for the conservative Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and made anti-immigration statements, including referring to the European refugee crisis as “illegal mass immigration” and claiming that he, as a white man, will soon be part of a minority in Germany.
“[T]he gallery does not want to share or support Krause’s political views,” Christian Seyde, a partner and business director in the gallery, told MDR KULTUR. In response to Krause’s claim that the gallery’s decision amounted to censorship, Seyde added: “I’m not a public institution or an institution of public interest. I have a commercial gallery where I organize and sell exhibitions, and I don’t have to represent every viewpoint that exists in society.”
In his 13 years with Galerie Kleindienst, Krause had four solo shows there, most recently in 2015. An artist associated with the New Leipzig School, Kraus is known for his paintings of enigmatic and nostalgic scenes that combine some of the fantastical elements of his Leipzig cohorts with a midcentury melancholy reminiscent of Edward Hopper.