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Some Like It Hot. Pop Art from Coca-Cola to Marilyn Monroe

The title of Billy Wilder’s American film comedy couldn’t be more fitting: hot, colorful and shrill. Who could resist the attention-grabbing works of Pop Art?

“Some Like It Hot” – the title of Billy Wilder’s American comedy film congenially characterizes the colourful and shrill works of Pop Art, which still captivate viewers today with their signal effect. The famous icons include Andy Warhol’s depictions of Marilyn Monroe and the Coke bottle. While Wilder took aim at American prudery, for Pop Art it is the consumer and advertising world of Western industrial societies that turn even art and eroticism into a commodity. With 55 items on loan from the Heinz Beck Collection from the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum (Ludwigshafen), the show presents the phenomenon of Pop Art in a variety of ways and brings the zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s to life with characteristic decorative elements, popular magazines and a reading corner with a flokati carpet and bright orange wall colors.

Following the special exhibition “Konkret Kunst”, which was shown in Kaiserslautern in 2023, the mpk is devoting itself to another innovative art movement, Pop Art, which – starting in the USA and Great Britain – had a decisive influence on the second half of the 20th century and which stands for the America of the 1960s like hardly any other art movement. The artists of this movement created loud images in which the principles of media advertising were artistically alienated and commented on.

Photographs from magazines or daily newspapers often served as the basis for the artists’ own works. Through processes that included photographic, painterly and printmaking techniques, Warhol in particular fundamentally enriched the artistic expression of his time and created Pop Art images that brought the previously banal and everyday to the viewer in a transformed form as large-format paintings or prints. He turned women like Monroe and Liz Taylor into pictorial icons of art history and pop culture.

With the 1960s and 1970s, the show reflects exciting decades of change and upheaval. It was the time of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, of student protests, the Kennedys, the birth control pill and the Vietnam War, of bell bottoms and garishly patterned wallpaper, of the modern American heroes Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. In addition to works by artists such as Peter Blake, Roy Lichtenstein, Klaus Staeck, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann, the exhibition will also show pictures by female artists. It thus illustrates that women have also provided important impulses in an art world dominated by men. These include artists such as Marianne Kraft and the French grande dame of feminist sculpture Niki de Saint Phalle.

Today, around 50,000 Americans live and work in the Kaiserslautern region. With English-language offerings in the accompanying program as well as exhibition texts written in German and English and a bilingual magazine, “Some Like It Hot” is also aimed specifically at the American community in the region.

Bilingual audio stations also make the exhibition accessible for visually impaired people.

Curated by Dr. Sören Fischer