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Degenerate Art

Degenerate Art

Glassblowing is art. We believe in this and support it 100% – it’s why we do what we do, and we feel pretty lucky to be surrounded by these beautiful pieces and talented artists every day. That’s why we love Degenerate Art, a documentary about the history and culture of glass pipe-making and was featured at the 2012 SXSW film festival. Degenerate Art is currently streaming on Netflix instant – watch it, suckas!

Degenerate Art was named such in reference to the Nazi regime’s term for basically all modern art. The Germans considered modern art to be “un-German” or “Jewish Bolshevist” in nature, so artists were punished accordingly unless they created traditional works praising values like racial purity, militarism, and obedience. In 1937, the Nazis held an exhibition called Degenerate Art, where they hung the modern artworks they hated and accompanied them with offensive descriptions.

You can imagine why the filmmakers decided upon the title Degenerate Art. Glass pipe-making walks the line of legality. Although artists tout their pipes as “for tobacco use only,” or as pure art, public opinion and the federal government’s vague definition of “drug paraphernalia” can often pigeonhole pipe-makers as criminals or “degenerates.” The director M. Slinger was inspired in part by the graffiti movement, and compares pipe-making culture to graffiti culture. He notes that kids vandalizing trains in the name of art actually did make an enormous impact on the art world (Banksy!), and kids making pipes in the name of art can do the exact same thing.

Glass pipe-making is a beautiful culture to be a part of. We’re thankful for it every day. We suggest you check out the film and let the community mystify you as it has us.

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