Special Exhibitions Archive 2018

© NIKE Deutschland GmbH / courtesy CAMERA WORK
© NIKE Deutschland GmbH / courtesy CAMERA WORK

© Dieter Blum / courtesy CAMERA WORK
© Dieter Blum / courtesy CAMERA WORK





May 18 – September 30, 2018


Cool – for more than 70 years it is what everybody has wanted to be.


Our upcoming special exhibition »Coolness: Story of an Attitude«, Germany's first show on coolness, will get to the bottom of this social phenomenon, as it remains a defining category of the 20th and 21st century. It is about time!


A total of 70 photographs and objects tell a cultural history of coolness from the 1950s to the present. Four aspects of coolness, which also represent the exhibit's chapters, higlight the development of cool over the decades:


Resistance: the origins of coolness

Appropriation: coolness conquers the white middle class

Passion: coolness as rebellion in the 60s & 70s

Distance: coolness becomes a commodity

Resistance: in order to trace the origins of coolness you have to travel through time to the US in the 50s. The Cool Pose establishes the core idea of coolness. A few years later, this attitude finds its artistic expression in Cool Jazz.


Appropriation: by the mid-50s coolness conquers America's white mainstream. Actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando, as well as the new advertisement icon – the Marloboro Man – establish coolness as a youth culture for the first time.


Passion: in the 60s and 70s cool means to passionately voice your opinion and to provoke the mainstream. We take a look at artists and political actors who coined these two decades of change with their demands and styles.

Distance: the fourth chapter of the exhibition adresses coolness in the present. Today, cool is more than ever expressed in desired objects. But which elements from the past still make up coolness today?


On this note: trace the history of coolness at Museum THE KENNEDYS.


Felix Tauche, Acting Director

© Herb Ritts / courtesy CAMERA WORK
© Herb Ritts / courtesy CAMERA WORK