Along with the poor, the tired, and the huddled masses, thousands of European artists and public intellectuals arrived in America at a time when Europe was ravaged by war. In Artists in Exile: How Refugees From 20th-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts, author Joseph Horowitz describes the “intellectual migration,” a movement that had an indelible effect on American arts. Billy Wilder, who directed the classic Some Like It Hot, fled Germany in 1934 for Hollywood. Other examples abound: Igor Stravinsky, George Balanchine, Marlene Dietrich, and Greta Garbo are among a few of the artists who quickly became American household names. But for all these successes, Horowitz—a former director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra—argues that these select accomplishments came at the price of the artists’ respective European character. For these artists, as for many immigrants, America gives but also takes.
Horowitz discusses and signs copies of his work at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919.