Baselitz, Richter, Polke and Kiefer. Four names from Germany that have attained world fame. The exhibition focuses on the 1960s. Featuring some 100 works, it shows how, in the early years of their careers, these artists responded to an era characterized by challenges and upheavals, utopias and reorientations, power and protest.
Even if they all refer to themselves as apolitical, their art continues to shape the world’s positive image of a new, different Germany to this day. In the sixties, their figurative paintings challenged the primacy of abstraction. Baselitz painted heroes torn asunder. Polke and Richter unmasked the absurdity and emptiness of the consumption that beckoned from all sides. Kiefer exposed the historical roots of the so-called “Third Reich”. It is a stroke of luck to have the opportunity to unite works by the four masters in a single exhibition, and thus to shed light on this important phase in German history.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue by guest curator Götz Adriani, which will contain interviews with the artists about their early work and its significance, numerous illustrations as well as an in-depth documentation of the 1960s.
Adriani is not only of the same generation as the exhibition’s protagonists, but also friends with all of them. Conversations with the three still living and a very personal text on Sigmar Polke form the core of the exhibition catalogue, which is on sale in the museum shop for €48.00.
“Baselitz, Richter, Polke and Kiefer created the conditions that allowed art – and no longer Death as invoked by Paul Celan – to become ‘a master from Germany’”.
Under the Patronage of the Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The exhibition will subsequently be on view at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg from 12 September 2019 to 5 January 2020.