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Extreme Tension. Art between Politics and Society
Collection of the Nationalgalerie 1945 – 2000

18.11.2023 to 28.09.2025
Neue Nationalgalerie

The art of the second half of the twentieth century is marked by an enormous diversity of materials, mediums, and methods. At the same time, hardly another era was so characterized by division, rupture, and transformation as the period after the Second World War. In light of this, the Neue Nationalgalerie has chosen the title Extreme Tension for the upcoming presentation of its postwar collection.

Holocaust and war, upheaval and emancipation, Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall all led not only to tensions within society, but also to a fundamental realignment in visual art. The Neue Nationalgalerie will take as its point of departure the radical performance Zerreißprobe (Stress Test, 1970) by Günter Brus, who was a co-founder of the Vienna Actionism and used this performance to push his own body to the limit. The exhibition will address central artistic and social themes of the twentieth century in 14 sections, including realism and abstraction, politics and society, the everyday and Pop, feminism, identity, and nature and ecology.

The presentation will encompass key works from West and East Germany, Western Europe and the USA, and former Socialist countries. The works on display will come from the art informel movement and US-American color field painting, Pop art and Minimalism, as well as the conceptual art of artists like Marina Abramovich, Joseph Beuys, Francis Bacon, Lee Bontecou, Rebecca Horn, Valie Export, Wolfgang Mattheuer, Louise Nevelson, Bridget Riley, Pipilotti Rist, and Willi Sitte. The collection will be supplemented by a number of works and artists, such as Kiki Kogelnik and Ewa Partum, not yet represented in the collection.

Publication

An exhibition catalogue featuring many illustrations has been published (hardcover, 304 pages, 210 coloured Illustrations, €36).

Audio Walk Through the Exhibition

An artistic experimental audio walk guides visitors intuitively through the exhibition and discusses artists, moments from Germany’s past and social discourses. It is available as free download or on rental devices in the museum. 

Curators

The exhibition is curated by Joachim Jäger, Maike Steinkamp (both Neue Nationalgalerie) and Marta Smolińska (Magdalena Abakanowicz University of Art Poznań)


Media partners: Der Tagesspiegel, Exberliner, monopol and tipBerlin

A special exhibition by the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Katharina Sieverding: Schlachtfeld Deutschland, XI/78, 1978, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neue Nationalgalerie, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023 / Foto: Jens Ziehe
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin/ Jens Ziehe
(Ver)ein(t)e Nation?!


Projekttag | 180 Minuten | Kosten 90 €

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Alien Universe


Projekttag | 180 Minuten | Kosten 90 €

Ute Klein
Bringt den Bau in Bewegung


Projekttag | 180 Minuten | Kosten 90 €

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin/ Ute Klein
Pig Pop Popular – Nicht nur poppig


Projekttag | 180 Minuten | Kosten 90 €

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Ute Klein
Spielfeld Museum


Projekttag | 180 Minuten | Kosten 90 €

Jurij Korolev, Cosmonauts, 1982, oil on canvas, 195 x 315
© Jurij Korolev / Courtesy: Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, Leihgabe der Peter und Irene Ludwig Stiftung
Von A wie Abstraktion zu Z wie Zerreißprobe


Ausstellungsgespräch | 60 Minuten | 30 €

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Ute Klein
Von Feldern, Flüssen und Fashion


Projekttag | 180 Minuten | 90 €

© © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Roman März
Confrontations. Art from 1945 to 2000 | guided tour

Neue Nationalgalerie
Guided tour (60 min)

Event at Neues Museum © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Marcus Glahn
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Marcus Glahn
Talk in the Gemäldegalerie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt
Wolfgang Mattheuer, Brasker Landschaft, Detail, 1967
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Roman März

Potsdamer Straße 50
10785 Berlin

wheelchair accessible

U-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
S-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
Bus: Potsdamer Brücke, Potsdamer Platz Bhf / Voßstraße, Kulturforum, Philharmonie

Sun 10:00 - 18:00
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Tue 10:00 - 18:00
Wed 10:00 - 18:00
Thu 10:00 - 20:00
Fri 10:00 - 18:00
Sat 10:00 - 18:00

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Related Links

Exhibition catalogue in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin webshop