November 6, 2014 - Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt - German Pop
November 6, 2014

German Pop

Christa Dichgans, Stillleben mit Frosch (Still life with frog), 1969. Aquatec on canvas, 55 x 65 cm. Private collection. Courtesy Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin. Photo: Jochen Littkemann.

German Pop
6 November 2014–8 February 2015

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
60311 Frankfurt
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In a large-scale exhibition, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents from 6 November a broad panorama of Pop Art in its unique German variation—an art-historical phenomenon that has been largely neglected to date. Pop, which began in Great Britain and the USA and was quickly established there as a universal culture across genres, took on an original artistic expression in the 1960s in the then still young Federal Republic of Germany. In contrast to the often sensationalist and glamorous vocabulary of their Anglo-American colleagues, artists living in West Germany such as Thomas Bayrle, Christa Dichgans, K. H. Hödicke, Konrad Klapheck, Ferdinand Kriwet, Uwe Lausen, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter grapple in their works with the less grandiose banalities of everyday life in Germany, ironically commenting on the ideals of petit-bourgeois taste and the oppressive and deceptive coziness of the 1960s. Germany’s economic miracle was followed by an attempt to come to terms politically with its recent past. Processes of democratization were also found in the fine arts, along with a search for a new identity and a redefinition of the concept of art.

The exhibition’s concept throws light on the four crucial centers of Pop Art in Germany: Düsseldorf, Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt am Main. During its key phase, they shaped Pop Art into an independent urban art form. German Pop brings together around 150 works of art and documentary materials by 34 artists, among them both established as well as long-forgotten and largely unknown protagonists of German Pop Art. The exhibition includes striking and surprising works, some of which have not been exhibited for decades or have never been shown publicly at all. German Pop is intended as an archaeology of a decade—the 1960s to the early 1970s—that uses paintings, objects and sculptures, films, collages, and graphic works to take stock of German Pop Art. The assembled works stem primarily from private estates and collections, but also from numerous well-known art institutions such as the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf, the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, or the ZKM in Karlsruhe.

“Pop Art is not only a unique chapter in art history. Pop is an attitude toward life. German Pop in particular characterizes a subversive transition in society that continues to be felt in our everyday lives as well as in art. Our large-scale survey exhibition brings together the various manifestations and roots of German Pop Art for the first time in an extensive presentation here in Frankfurt,” says Max Hollein, director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

The curator of the exhibition, Martina Weinhart, adds: “There it was, German Pop—in the Rhineland, with Düsseldorf as its center, but also somewhat later in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich. And each center ‘spoke’ it with its own dialect. The Pop generation of the 1960s to the early 1970s aimed directly at the sensitivities of the consumer society that was taking shape in a massive way in what was then still a young Federal Republic of Germany. If you will, Pop in Germany was a kind of rebellion in that context, a youth movement. It toppled the old values and struggled with the new ones.”

Far from any “Coca-Colonization,” German artists developed a distinct variation of Pop Art that represented a break with German high culture, so to speak. The formal language of an arbor was reworked into an abstract pattern, and ironing boards became motifs worthy of portrayal. Pop was directly and immediately accessible to anyone. Pop was everyday life and reflected it, above all the capitalist culture of commodities and consumption and its forms of presentation. Although America was the center of the art world at the time and everyone’s eyes wandered in that direction, with its historical and cultural background German Pop remained distinct.

Featured artists: Hermann Albert, HP Alvermann, Ludi Armbruster, Bettina von Arnim, Thomas Bayrle, Werner Berges, KP Brehmer, Peter Brüning, Gernot Bubenik, Christa Dichgans, Lothar Fischer, Winfred Gaul, Reinhold Heller, K. H. Hödicke, Herbert Kaufmann, Konrad Klapheck, Florian Köhler, Ferdinand Kriwet, Manfred Kuttner, Michael Langer, Uwe Lausen, Konrad Lueg, Heino Naujoks, Wolfgang Oppermann, Sigmar Polke, Heimrad Prem, Gerhard Richter, Helmut Rieger, Peter Roehr, Klaus Staeck, Helmut Sturm, Wolf Vostell, Lambert Maria Wintersberger, HP Zimmer

Director: Max Hollein
Curator: Dr. Martina Weinhart
Press contact: Axel Braun (Head of Press/Public Relations):
T (+49 69) 29 98 82 153 / F (+49 69) 29 98 82 240 / presse [​at​]
Press material: (texts, images, and films for download under PRESS)


Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents German Pop
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
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