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Bucerius Kunst Forum presents works by four American icons side by side
Exhibition view: Amerika! Disney, Rockwell, Pollock, Warhol Photo: Ulrich Perrey.

HAMBURG.- The exhibition America! Disney, Rockwell, Pollock, Warhol presents works by these four American icons side by side for the first time. With their portrayals of the American way of life, all four artists were instrumental in shaping the image of America worldwide – in both high and popular culture. The show features a total of some 170 paintings, drawings and graphic works from internationally renowned collections such as the Tate, the Stedelijk Museum, Museum Ludwig and Museum Brandhorst.

Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol were all pioneers in their respective artistic fields. Together, they created an image of the USA that is still indelibly etched in our collective visual memory. Disney breathed life into pictures and coloured the dreams of entire generations of children and adults with animated films such as Fantasia, Bambi and Sleeping Beauty. Norman Rockwell, still relatively unknown in Germany, was a pictorial chronicler of American life in the first half of the twentieth century. His realistic portrayals, sometimes verging on satire, adorned the covers of the major US magazines for over 40 years. Jackson Pollock was already a legend during his lifetime with his signature drip paintings. With his radical technique, the founder of Action Painting was arguably the most influential abstract artist of the twentieth century. Andy Warhol broke down the hotly debated boundaries between art and commerce, between high and low art. He himself became an icon with his iconic, freely reproducible lithographs of the American consumer world and his portraits of Hollywood stars and starlets.

In the exhibition America! Disney, Rockwell, Pollock, Warhol, these four prominent protagonists of US visual culture are examined together for the first time. The 170 or so works on display show how each of them shaped American culture in the twentieth century in his own unique way. The show assembles paintings, drawings and graphic art from major international collections such as the Tate in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk (Denmark), Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and Museum Brandhorst in Munich. The works are not only outstanding examples of the popular art of Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol; they also inspire reflection on the distinction between art and the culture industry.

An exhibition catalogue with essays by Greg Barnhisel, Daniel Kothenschulte, Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, Wolfgang Ullrich and others is being published by Hirmer Verlag, Munich.

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