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German History in Documents and Images
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The "documenta IV" Exhibition in Kassel (1968)
During the Third Reich, Germany was cut off from current developments in the international art word. To reestablish that connection, Arnold Bode, a professor at the art academy in Kassel, organized the first “documenta” exhibition, which opened there in 1955. The “documenta” exhibition subsequently developed into the most important exhibition of contemporary avant-garde art in Germany (and arguably the entire world); it is now held every five years.

The "documenta IV" exhibition, the first ever to turn a profit, drew large crowds. It featured a selection of Pop Art, Minimal Art, and Kinetic Art that intrigued visitors and roused critics, some of whom spoke of a "modern house of horrors." The gallery shown below features Pop Art by the Americans Robert Indiana and Tom Wesselmann. Indiana's The Great Love (1966) hangs on the right side of the rear wall; Wesselmann’s Mouth No. 15 (1968) hangs to the left. Wesselmann's Great American Nude No. 98 (1967), five canvasses arranged behind one another in three planes, is positioned against the gallery's left wall. Two of these three works, The Great Love and Great American Nude No. 98 are in German collections today. Photo by Abisag Tüllmann.