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Do it yourself

12.05.2005 to 14.08.2005

Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin

"Do it yourself" is the title of an early work by Andy Warhol in the Marx Collection which in hindsight can be regarded as programmatic for the 1960s. At first glance, the work gives the impression of being a serial manufactured paint-by-numbers picture in which the printed numbers stand for the various colours of the picture. Here industrially produced images and subjective design fuse to perform the traditional artistic process ad absurdum. The viewer is called upon to complete the picture.

This notion of a reception-oriented "Do it yourself" can be traced back to Marcel Duchamp, the father of all conceptual art forms, who was a major influence on the conceptual art movement of the 1960s. Indeed, "Do it yourself" became the motto of an entire generation. Even artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Jeff Koons regarded the dialogue with the viewer as central to their respective artistic practices. Joseph Beuys transferred the idea into the realm of the universal, articulating the programmatic challenge to society that "everyone is an artist".

The exhibition offers an intensive retrospective appraisal of the art of the 1960s and 1970s, showing that even for contemporary artists this period remains a vital point of departure for their individual innovative concepts. Featuring impressive ensembles of works by artists such as Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein and Cy Twombly, as well as the next generation including Anselm Kiefer, Jeff Koons and Matthew Barney, Erich Marx's collection is one of the most significant in the world. Housed at the Hamburger Bahnhof, the collection is underscored by the museum's fusion of nineteenth-century industrial architecture and White Cube aesthetics.

The opening of the Hamburger Bahnhof as a museum for contemporary art enriched the Berlin museum landscape. The international standing of the museum is due in no small part to the presence of the Marx Collection.