Currently showing at the Neue Nationalgalerie is the second instalment of their collection of 20th Century art. The period after the Second World War was dramatic, particularly in Germany - a divided country on the front line of the new Cold War. This atmosphere influenced many aspects of life, on both sides of the dividing line, and art was no different:
“In art, two major paths essentially separated East and West, the figurative and abstraction. The West held aloft the open structure of abstract or ‘informal’ art as a symbol of freedom. And it was certainly no coincidence that the pop art that followed it arose in the major capitals of the West, where the phenomena of mass production and a rising tide of consumer culture were everywhere to be seen. In the Eastern Block, by contrast, socialist realism became the prevailing trend and a defining basis for all developments in the art that came after it. In all of this, the individual became the point by which all things were measured, artists made the ‘human condition’ the core focus of their work.”
The exhibition introduces some of the key artistic protagonists from this era, and attempts to look not at what divided the artistic movements on each side, but the universal ideas that were shared by both camps at once. The Neue Nationalgalerie is on Potsdamer Straße (closest U and S Bahnhof is Potsdamer Platz), is open Tuesday to Sunday, and admission is €8 (€4 concessions).
(Image credit: Andy Warhol, Big Electric Chair, 1967 Acryl auf Leinwand, 137,3 x 185,4 cm © Artists rights society, New York)