Artists in the show: Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Bazon Brock, Günter Brus, Carlfriedrich Claus, Guy Ernest Debord, Niki de Saint Phalle, Erró, Valie Export, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Sam Goodman, Hans Haacke, Dieter Hacker, Richard Hamilton, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Edward Kienholz, Milan Knizak,, Yayoi Kusama, Maria Lassnig, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Boris Lurie (NO!art), George Macunias, Gustav Metzger, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, A.R. Penck, Sigmar Polke, Heimrad Prem, Martha Rosler, Eugen Schönebeck, Daniel Spoerri, Aldo Tambellini, Jean Tinguely, Günther Uecker, Wolf Vostell, Franz Erhard Walther, Peter Weibel, Vladimir Yankilevsky, HP Zimmer u.a.
1968 – No other year in the 20th century is given such a symbolic and iconic status, no other year is studded with myths, evokes associations, viewed with bias, and kindles emotions. A year in which protests, upheavals, and even revolutions took place in numerous countries around the globe: May 1968 stands for international youth and protest cultures in 56 countries, 22 European ones amongst them, but also for an art breaking out of its elitist ivory tower – parallel to this, masses of individuals in the Western world begin to strive for autonomy. It is first through the interaction between students, intellectuals, and artists that a cultural revolution capable of disrupting the authoritarian structures of societies in both East and West could take place. Above all, artists, declaring the artwork to be obsolete while in part working massively against the art market and a commercially utilizable commodity ‘art’, contributed significantly to the desires and the imaginative visions of the student movement finding expression in provocative and pithy signs and images and exerting power over reality (“all power to the imagination!”).
From the distance of half a century, 2018 is the perfect opportunity to take a comprehensive and transdisciplinary look at this key year of the twentieth century (and its place as the midpoint of a decade). The exhibition will show and analyze for the first time the ideas, actions, myths, and self-interpretations of this generation by concurrently looking at them through the mirror of artistic productions and practices. Ultimately, the aim is to provide a new and critical perspective on the years around 1968.
With generous support from the Ministry for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, the Kulturstiftung der Länder, and the LVR – Quality for People.
Patron of the exhibition: Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Curators: Andreas Beitin und Eckhart Gillen
Project management: Esther Boehle
Curatorial assistants: Sabine Halver and Sonja Wunderlich