October 21, 2018 - Neues Museum - State Museum for Art and Design in Nuremberg - KP Brehmer: KUNST ≠ PROPAGANDA
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October 21, 2018

Neues Museum - State Museum for Art and Design in Nuremberg

KP Brehmer, Der Westen hat die grössten Schweine (The west has the biggest pigs), undated. © VG Bild-Kunst, 2018. Photo: Roman März.

KP Brehmer
KUNST ≠ PROPAGANDA
A joint production of Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, and Arter, Istanbul
October 26, 2018–February 17, 2019

Opening: October 25, 7pm

Neues Museum - State Museum for Art and Design in Nuremberg
Klarissenplatz
90402 Nuremberg
Germany
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Thursday 10am–8pm

T +49 911 2402069
F +49 911 2402029
info@nmn.de

www.nmn.de
Instagram / Facebook

KP Brehmer
KUNST ≠ PROPAGANDA
A joint production of Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, and Arter, Istanbul
October 26, 2018–February 17, 2019

Opening: October 25, 7pm

Neues Museum - State Museum for Art and Design in Nuremberg
Klarissenplatz
90402 Nuremberg
Germany
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Thursday 10am–8pm

T +49 911 2402069
F +49 911 2402029
info@nmn.de

www.nmn.de
Instagram / Facebook

Neues Museum, Nuremberg, October 26, 2018–February 17, 2019
Hamburger Kunsthalle, March 29–June 23, 2019 
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, July 7–October 27, 2019 
Arter, Istanbul,
March 27–August 30, 2020

KP Brehmer (1938–97) was a singular figure in the art world of the 1960s: suspicious of the political establishment of post-war West Germany, his critical engagement with the reality of capitalism focused on the power of the media. On the occasion of his 80th birthday, four major European art institutions have cooperated closely to stage the first large-scale show of work by this “capitalist realist” since his death.

KP Brehmer belongs to the generation of German artists who used the means of American Pop Art to develop a critical “Capitalist Realism” (the title of a portfolio published by René Block in 1968 with works by KP Brehmer, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Wolf Vostell, and Konrad Lueg). At the same time, he occupied a special position within this milieu. Having begun his training as a reprographic technician, he aimed for boundless circulation of images, while his thinking and practice as an artist were crucially influenced by the principle of maximum reproduction and distribution. He referred to himself as an “ideological kleptomaniac” who was not afraid to quote others. He confronted the cult of the individual author with participatory and interdisciplinary methods, giving voice to the collective. Music, film, advertising, pop culture, and media entertainment were familiar to him as idioms—forms of expression that he also subjected to sharp critical analysis, thus refusing any kind of affirmation. All this at a time a time when many other artists and fellow travelers were already making their way into the increasingly powerful art market.

Learning from KP Brehmer
Brehmer was among the most unwavering artistic voices of his time, permanently questioning the growing power of media image production. In the process, he created a diverse oeuvre that is experimental, analytical and also humorous, always explicitly naming the socio-political aberrations of his time. How can his resolutely political approach act as a model for us today in the artistic articulation of our own time’s political ills. This is the question that underlies the four-part exhibition tour and which today appears more urgent than ever.

The title of the exhibition “Kunst ≠ Propaganda” refers precisely to this central idea of Brehmer’s: How can, may or should political art use political rhetoric to achieve its objective—without allowing itself to become instrumentalized? Even the way he wrote his name reflects this subversive strategy: the capital letters KP (his initials, for Klaus Peter) are to be read as a dedication to the Kommunistische Partei, although he was never a member.

The exhibition opens in October at Neues Museum in Nuremberg, travelling on to Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, and Arter, Istanbul. For some years now, Neues Museum has had close ties to Brehmer’s oeuvre thanks to permanent loans of outstanding works from the Block Collection. Both Arter and Hamburger Kunsthalle have works by Brehmer in their collections, the latter including a permanent loan from Germany’s Federal Art Collection. There is also a direct link to Hamburg due to Brehmer’s decades-long professorship at the city’s art academy.

At each venue, the presentation varies somewhat, reflecting that institution’s individual relationship with the German artist and its motivation for focusing on his complex oeuvre. Neues Museum has a large body of Brehmer’s graphic work thanks to a close cooperation with his former gallerist René Block. The museum in Nuremberg has thus chosen to start with a comprehensive overview of over 200 works from a wide range of media (drawings, collages, prints, paintings, displays, films).

Dr. Eva Kraus, Director, Neues Museum Nuremberg, first venue of the exhibition series: “What does capitalism look like? KP Brehmer explored this question in great depth, trying to visualize social and economic changes. In my view, he developed a highly remarkable artistic method for capturing contemporary historical events—in both aesthetic and political terms.”

Prof. Christoph Martin Vogtherr, Director, Hamburger Kunsthalle: “In today’s political and social situation, KP Brehmer’s critical works are highly topical. Together with our cooperation partners, we strongly hope that this extensive international retrospective will refocus attention on his oeuvre in all its artistic and political radicalism. At the same time, Hamburger Kunsthalle pays tribute to an artist who exerted a key shaping influence on Hamburg’s art scene through his long years of teaching at HFBK University of Fine Arts.”

Benno Tempel, director of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: “More than 20 years after his death the work of KP Brehmer is actually surprisingly topical. The ironic pleasure he took in dissecting society and the media landscape and art world at the time gives us an interesting perspective on the present day. At Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, which has the world’s largest collection of Mondrians, our focus is almost inevitably on Brehmer’s irreverent attitude to 20th-century abstract art. It is with great pleasure that we present the first major KP Brehmer retrospective in the Netherlands, deservedly showcasing the work of this idiosyncratic artist and keen observer.”

Melih Fereli, Founding Director, Arter, the final venue of the exhibition series: “We are proud to be part of this collaborative effort in reviving interest in KP Brehmer, whose oeuvre not only continues to be of great relevance today, but also acquires new meanings in our contemporary societies. Through the communicative, accessible artistic language he developed, KP Brehmer continues to provide proof of the fact that art can generate public interest in social, environmental and political issues.”

The exhibition is a joint production of Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, and Arter, Istanbul, funded by Germany’s Federal Cultural Foundation.

www.nmn.org
www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de
www.gemeentemuseum.nl  
www.arter.org.tr

Contact
Eva Martin, Deputy Director, Head of PR
T +49 (0)911 240 20 41 / eva.martin [​at​] nmn.de 

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