Manfred Kuttner, Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter
With a contribution by Christopher Williams
@ Kunsthalle Dusseldorf 21 July - 29 September 2013
Fifty years ago, Manfred Kuttner, Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter coined the term "capitalist realism" on the occasion of their first self-organised exhibition in Düsseldorf. In 1963, Lueg and Richter also staged the legendary Living with Pop - A Demonstration for Capitalist Realism action in the Berges furniture store. The exhibition at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is the first to take an in- depth look at the whole phenomenon that is synonymous for a brief period of a specifically West German post-war art, and to show its contemporary relevance.
The exhibition documents the actions between 1963 and 1966, when the artists used this term, and concludes chronologically with a documentary account about René Block, who politicized the label for his gallery work in Berlin. A separate section is devoted to the Fluxus movement in the Rhineland, which was a key forerunner. The pictorial world of capitalist realism is presented in a selection of more than 50 photographic reproductions of works by the artists. In fact, the paintings by Lueg, Polke, and Richter (Kuttner soon forged a style of his own) were themselves largely based on reproductions. The artists painted subject matters they found in magazines and newspapers. Analogous to British and American pop art, they turned their attention to the trivial aspects of life in their immediate environments. And by training their spotlight on Germany's economic miracle with its questionable promise of a better life and depicting the middle- class platitudes, values, and repressive mechanisms of the post-war era, they simultaneously documented a period of contemporary history. LINK Kunsthalle Dusseldorf