So much focus is placed on Germany's dark history, but what is often ignored are the astonishing cultural and intellectual feats that were made just years before Hitler's rise to power. This time period, called the Weimar Republic, lasted from the end of World War I to around 1933 when Hitler gained power. Weimar culture was vibrant, daring, and unnervingly modern. Artists who were scarred by what they had seen during the Great War, used their medium as a way of dealing with their pain, and in doing so they unleashed a type of realism that is rarely seen even to this day. My favorite works emerged during this short but productive time, and artists like Otto Dix and Christian Schad (works pictured above) were part of the Neue Sachlichkeit movement, whose work was gritty, dark, and purposefully ugly. Thankfully I don't have to travel all the way to Germany or Austria to see these pieces in person, as my favorite New York City museum, the Neue Galerie, exclusively caters to my obsession. From now through August 30th, the Galerie is exhibiting a collection of Otto Dix's work, the first such collection ever held in North America. Now put down your bratwurst, and get yourself over to the Neue for a taste of some real German culture.