Crowds flock to Neue Galerie in NY to see art condemned as ‘degenerate’ by …

The exhibition explores one of the most notorious chapters in art history, the exhibition of “Degenerate Art” organized by the Nazis in Munich in 1937 to mock modernist trends in art and further their anti-Semitic and anti-communist ideology. Like a larger exhibition in Los Angeles in 1991, the Neue Galerie show features some of the work that was in the original Nazi-organized show. The subject is fascinating, but so, too, is the strange, and ongoing, cultural rebranding project that it furthers: A label that was once used to discredit art has become a gold standard for authenticity, emotional depth and high quality.

In the mid-1990s, for example, the Decca recording label had considerable critical success with a series of CDs — branded as “Entartete Musik” — devoted to the music of composers the Nazis considered degenerate. And late last year, when a reclusive German art collector named Cornelius Gurlitt was

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