18 October 2018 until 17 March 2019
Pop and Protest

The exhibition 68. Pop and Protest assembles key images, films, texts, and sounds of the late 1960s to paint a picture of the era’s complex mood. Around 200 objects selected from the collections of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) – works of fine and applied art as well as historical documents, posters, photographs, fashion, and design objects – supplemented by important loans showcase what animated people in 1968 – in Hamburg, in Germany, and throughout the world: an increasing awareness of their own rights and their power to advocate for them through protest and rebellion.

In 1968, the world was convulsed by dramatic events, leading to national protests and giving impetus to revolutionary ideas. At the same time, a worldwide cultural revolution was set in motion that found imaginative ways to rise up against conservative authoritarian structures, promoting sexual freedom and calling for the equality of one and all. Among the non-violent weapons explored during this period were avant-garde forms of expression in all artistic disciplines: progressive music, unconventional fashion and uninhibited design, controversial theatre, and socially critical auteur cinema. These were joined by an unprecedented zeal for critical discourse and public debate. The common denominator was hope: hope of making the world a better place, society more just, and people more humane; hope that political repression would end, boundaries would be overcome, walls would fall, and sexuality would no longer be vulnerable to exploitation. Anchoring these ideas of freedom and self-determination in the collective consciousness once again seems more important today than ever. Because currently, central aspects of a liberal and democratic way of life seem to be (once more) at stake – the self-determined development of the individual, the fundamental right to freedom of speech and of the press, the right to democratic participation, and, last but not least, an open attitude toward strangers.

The exhibition is made possible with the generous support of the Hubertus Wald Foundation, the Justus Brinckmann Society, the Körber Foundation, the Karin Stilke Foundation, the Martha Pulvermacher Foundation, the Rudolf Augstein Foundation and Edgar E. Nordmann.

Photo: Verner Panton (1926-1998), SPIEGEL canteen, orange dining room, 1969, photo: Michael Bernhardi/Spiegel Verlag, 2011