68 – Pop and Protest

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe

Through March 17, 2019

20099 Hamburg


We didn’t start the fire…

Dr. Carsten Brosda, Hamburg Senator for Culture and Media to Hamburg, used Billy Joel’s chorus of his ´89 smashing hit single to introduce the newest exhibition of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe(MKG), 68 – Pop and Protest. Naming notable events from Billy Joel’s song Dr. Brosda bridges to what has lead up to cause the legendary 68-Protests and revolts which made for this extraordinary exhibition.


68 – Pop & Protest shows the various sides of the iconic ´68 Generation – culture, protest and political situation. Ignited by the dramatic events in the 60’s, the younger post-war generation is pushed to not only question but to be inspired to revolt against current political situations and thrive for hope and power to the unheard.


Closely embedded, especially in Hamburg’s student’s movement and its part in German history to shape its society to what it is today, the exhibition invites the visitor to question how the 68-movement influenced our today and whether 50 years later, the efforts of the young people then are still on the move now.

Hermann von Wissmann was a german explorer in Africa and became governor of German East-Africa in 1895. He had the reputation to be ruthless and violent towards the natives, burning down villages and executing great numbers of people. In the 60’s his statue was seen more critically as people started questioning Germany’s role in colonial history.

pGHf8wtbTuODa3OUIKxb4wExhibits like the Herrmann von Wissman statue, depicting the 19thcentury governor to German-controlled East Africa, which was vandalized and torn down by Hamburg students in 1968, protesting the imperialism and its effect to world politics reaching far into the 20thcentury, is on display as well as the most famous banner, carried by students: “Unter den Talaren, Muff von 1000 Jahren”.

Powerful Impressions of Festival Posters and Concert Announcements

Most notable is the LP Cover display showing iconic covers from The Doors, Jimmy Hendrix or Santana in the same room with colorful concert posters from the Grateful Dead and others.

Paper dresses made out of a thin fleece are examples of how fashion became not only mainstream, but an instrument of protest and political statement. The fashion displays make any fashion lover squirm and realize that itsy bitsy is not just a fashion phenomenon of today.

Many exhibits contain or are supported by video clips and audio impressions, allowing the history to come to life and into the imagination of even younger visitors who might have heard about the revolutionary times from their parents or even grandparents, while real witnesses will be thrown back to the exciting and hopeful times then.

Though the events shown in this exhibition have happened 50 years ago, the topics that concerned the people then may be as up to date today more than ever.

After all, just like Billy Joel said, “…it was always burning, since the world’s been turning”.

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