End of the 60s – time of the rebels

For the war generation, the changes in music, fashion, literature and art meant a veritable cultural shock. In 1965, the Rolling Stones played in Germany for the first time, the Beatles followed a year later and triggered an unprecedented enthusiasm among the younger generation. In 1966 Bob Dylan had great success with his legendary performance in Manchester and the song “Like a Rolling Stone”, which received much international attention. The elders did not understand this music.

The 1960s were a time of profound change that was taking place with great dynamism in society, politics and culture. The mainspring of the developments was the student movement, which ushered in a new era starting from the metropolises. The muff of the Adenauer era was swept away. There was a spirit of optimism.



The literature also changed. Old styles such as short stories and poetry have been replaced by documentarism. Peter Weiss processed the Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt in the years 1963-1965 in his drama “The Investigation”.
Writers such as Martin Walser, Günter Grass and Heinrich Böll influenced the literary history of a generation with novels such as “Die Blechtommel”, “Katz und Maus” and “Ansichten eines Clown”. Works by Samuel Beckett, Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, Günter Grass, Jean Paul Sartre and Theodor Adorno were influential for the ’68 generation.

In the visual arts, the 1960s were the time of the dissolution of traditional forms of presentation. The classic exhibition venues and exhibition forms were called into question: Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg exhibited in furniture stores, Joseph Beuys showed in Schmela’s Düsseldorf gallery “Wie man dem toten Hasen die Bilder erklärt”, the Viennese actionists shocked the audience with their violent and blood-rich actions.

The artists were concerned with overcoming the separation of art and life, of high culture and the everyday world. Robert Rauschenberg integrated everyday objects in his “Combine Paintings”; The Fluxus artist Daniel Spoerri fixed used plates, glasses and all sorts of leftovers on the table and hung them as a panel painting on the wall.

The Pop Art also aimed in the same direction. In the US, images of the commercial world of Campbell soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles became ubiquitous in the 1950s and 1960s. In their artworks the Pop Art artists promoted these motifs from everyday culture to the rank of high art. Andy Warhol and Roy Liechtenstein created works that are today an integral part of art history and are among the most expensive images at all. But the Pop Art movement was more, it was the epitome of a new lifestyle that broke away from post-war restorative tendencies. It was the art of a generation that was enthusiastic about English and American beat music and presented itself as a non-parliamentary opposition to the policy of the war generation. German pop art artists such as Sigmar Polke understood their version of pop art as critical of American commerce, which for them was an expression of blind consumption, capitalism and cultural arrogance.


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