This exhibition presented the art of former East and West Germany in the United States for the first time, financially supported by Germany’s foundation for culture and by the German lottery. Starting in January 2009, it was the first special exhibition to be presented in the newly built Broad Contemporary Art Museum, organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH.

On May 23, 2009 the exhibition in the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum” in Nuremburg marked the 60th anniversary of when the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany was opened, going on display in Berlin from the 3rdOctober 2009. It is at the centre of events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, when the Cold War came to an end.

The exhibition shows how much the two art histories were interlinked despite their extreme ideological differences. Memorial competitions took place in the early fifties and late eighties to mark the beginning and end of the Cold War. In 1953 there were competitions for the “unknown political prisoners” in the West (Bernhard Heiliger took part amongst others), and for the victims of Buchenwald concentration camp in the East (Fritz Cemer). At the end of the Cold War, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were united in artistic projects that looked to discover an identification with their respective state's creation: Werner Tübke with his panorama of the Peasant War in Bad Frankenhausen, and Johannes Grützke with his depiction of the “Peoples’ Representative in the 1848 revolution” in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt am Main.

The confrontation between opposing images of humanity in the early fifties reflects the coexistent self-critical discussion from both sides of the wall, offering insight into the historical legends of the two Germanys.


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