PETER ROEHR: POP ART MADE IN FRANKFURT

PETER ROEHR: POP ART MADE IN FRANKFURT


For most people, Pop Art is first and foremost: Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Andy Warhol, New York and colorful silkscreen portraits. German Pop Art was somewhat different. One might say, for example: incense sticks, the “Peking Review,” Frankfurt, and a dessert that wiggles and billows and ultimately explodes. But let’s start at the beginning. Let’s turn back the clock a couple of years. Peter Roehr is born in 1944 in Lemberg, the only child of the Roehrs. After a brief stopover in Leipzig, Peter Roehr settles permanently in the apple-wine metropolis on the Main River and trains as a neon sign and sign maker, studies at the School of Applied Arts in Wiesbaden, produces his first textural works using rice and paper, and edits together short excerpts from American advertising films to create endless loops. In 1967, Peter Roehr and his friend Paul Maenz organize the first exhibition with other artist friends of theirs. The title of the show itself, “Serial Formations,” suggests its affinity with American Pop Art, which deals with the same questions concerning mass production. Like a madman he processes price tags, cardboard beer coasters, and snippets from illustrated magazine advertisements and pieces them together to produce mostly square panels. Within just a few years he manages to create a body of work that consists of a whopping 600 pictures. There is only one other place that he loves as fervently as he does his studio: his store. In 1968, he and Paul Maenz open their own business in Frankfurt’s Holzgraben: Pudding Explosion. It becomes an important venue for subculture and alternative movements, which can stock up there with a ragbag of Chinese dailies, incense sticks, or beer coasters and napkins with political slogans. Merchandise with a total value of 5,000 deutschmarks, which was actually supposed to be enough for the first one and a half months, was already sold out within several days. And yes, books were also on sale at the Pudding Explosion —“books with naked men in them” that were apparently “immediately out of stock.” And hash pipes. Simply everything that one needed for the counterrevolution. By the way, an icon of American Pop Art also turns up in Peter Roehr’s Pudding Explosion: Mao. The down-to-earth price for his liking costs just four deutschmarks, half the price of Twiggy’s. Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints are not produced until a couple of years later —and now sell for tens of millions of dollars.

3 Comments

  • Soto Cine says:

    Wieso "Konterrevolution"? Warum nicht "Revolution"?

  • SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT says:

    Mit Räucherstäbchen zur Konterrevolution! Ein Feature über den GERMAN-POP Künstler PETER ROEHR

  • Kunst und Film says:

    @ Alex Peter: Tja, da haben die charmanten jungen Damen, die diese herzallerliebste Bastelarbeit verfertigten, offenbar was missverstanden: Natürlich kämpften Mao-Poster-Käufer für die Revolution, nicht die Konterrevolution. Aber für niedliche Nachgeborene mit Seitenscheitel ist das kaum zu kapieren: Ist doch alles Asbach uralt und Politik, was ist das? Pop Art ist doch die mit den quietschbunten Farben und Comic-Figuren…

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