Markus Lüpertz Slams Berlin’s ‘Completely Overrated’ Art Scene

Everyone else thinks it's great.

Markus Lüpertz. Photo: JOERG CARSTENSEN/AFP/Getty Images.

German art star Markus Lüpertz has lashed out against Berlin’s highly lauded cultural scene calling it “completely overrated.”

Speaking with the German art magazine Monopol, the 75-year-old painter lamented that the city and the majority of its residents were increasingly disregarding the city’s rich art-related offerings in favor of easily consumable popular culture.

“Berlin is, in regards to culture, completely overrated,” he declared. “The negligence with which the city prefers a second-rate American rock star’s concert over a fantastic exhibition is amazing. There’s an ignorance towards the visual arts that the city is now really celebrating.”

And Lüpertz didn’t take long to point the finger, blaming the ’68 generation—a term used in the German context to describe the post-war generation behind the student protests of 1968, born between 1940 and 1950.

The canal surrounding the Bode Museum, Berlin. Photo: Thomas Wolf via Wikimedia Commons

Berlin is widely praised for its rich and diverse art scene. Photo: Thomas Wolf via Wikimedia Commons

The ‘68s are perhaps comparable to the baby-boomer generation in the US and are often associated with privilege resulting from government subsidies, increasing affluence, and consumerism.

According to Lüpertz, they were the ones who destroyed Berlin’s bohemian ethos. “All of the changes that the ’68 generation suggested didn’t correspond to my idea of freedom and democracy because they interfered in family history, art, and especially the economy,” he explained. “The artist needs the economy. Art only happens in a prosperous, free society,” he added.

Lüpertz has lived in Berlin and worked from a studio in Potsdam, on the south-western outskirts of the city, for over seven years.

The German capital is widely regarded as one of the world’s premier cultural destinations. However the city’s art market is notoriously weak, much of the money supporting the city’s astonishing density of galleries comes from outside the capital.

Meanwhile visitor numbers to Berlin’s museums and other cultural institutions have been propped up by tourists and visitors.


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