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Counter worlds
The twentieth century in the New National Gallery

18.12.2004 to 22.05.2005

Neue Nationalgalerie

Following the success of 'MoMA in Berlin', the New National Gallery presents its own collection in a new way, completed with the major works of the collection Erich Marx and Friedrich Christian Flick.

In this presentation, the art of the 20th century is conceived not as a mere succession of stylistic developments, but as a volatile and contrary postulation of strong positions and counter-positions. The display of paintings and sculptures is completed by other media, which also include aspects of popular culture.

The exhibition connects masterpieces of the American Pop Art (Warhol) and Minimal Art (Newman, LeWitt, Stella) with central works of the German artists Beuys and Kiefer. Their installations are profound conceptions of history, rejecting art of superficial sensory stimulus.

'Counter worlds' were already established at the beginning of the 20th century by artists of 'Die Brücke'. The historical tour embraces Bauhaus-artists such as Klee and Feininger, social critics such as Grosz and Dix, and the famous Collage 'Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser Dada durch die letzte Weimarer Bierbauch-Kulturepoche Deutschlands' (Cut with the kitchen knife Dada through the last Weimar beer-belly cultural era of Germany)' by Hannah Höch.

These polymorphic 'counter worlds' to the official canon of arts correspond to movements such as Zero, Cobra, and Arte Povera in the second half of the century. They opened up new worlds beyond classical painting. Yet European painting lives on, existentialist and violent in the work of Bacon, kaleidoscopic and explicit in the work of Tübke, and ironic in the work of Polke.