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Years before the U.S. got into World War II - while the Nazis were perpetrating atrocities on Catholics, gays, gypsies and, of course, Jews - German artist John Heartfield had already fled his fatherland and was making satire about then-current events. He had begun his career in film, plying his artistic skill in the Dada scene and in the German Communist Party, but later changed his name from Helmut Herzfeld and went into exile in Czechoslovakia. There he applied his talents to photo montages like "The Cross Was Not Yet Heavy Enough," in which a man with a swastika armband bolts right-angled additions onto a crucifix, turning it into a swastika too. Another, "Hurrah, the Butter Is All Gone!," shows a family seated around a dinner table attempting to eat the metal parts of a bicycle. Many of these works remain famous to this day and have inspired music by rock and metal bands.

This weekend is your last chance to see examples of Heartfield's work at the Akron Art Museum. The exhibit John Heartfield vs. Nazi Germany closes Sunday. The show comprises works in the museum's collection that were created in the 1930s and includes issues of Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (The Workers Pictorial Newspaper), which Heartfield viewed as his finished work. The Akron Art Museum is one of just three in the U.S. that owns more than a handful of his pieces. The Akron Museum of Art is at 1 S. High St. Call 330.376.9185 or go to akronartmuseum.org.

Dancer-choreographer Alex Ketley has been around the block, as it were, as a dancer with the San Francisco Ballet and Alonzo King's LINES Ballet. In 1998 he co-founded (with Christian Burns) his own company, the Foundry, to explore choreography, improvisation, mixed-media work and the collaborative process. The company has become known for interdisciplinary collaborations, especially with video. GroundWorks DanceTheater is cooperating with Cleveland State University and PlayhouseSquare to bring Ketley here for a free master class from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, December 11. The class will focus on the creation of dance, asking questions about how dancers can connect to movement emotionally and about learning through improvisation. It's free and open to anyone, but enrollment is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. The class will be held at the George Gund Foundation Studio at Idea Center, 1375 Euclid Ave. To reserve space, e-mail l.deering@csuohio.edu.

mgill@clevescene.com

More by Michael Gill

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