Prints from Warhol to Wool

Press information

The Hamburger Kunsthalle’s Department of Prints and Drawings owns an out-standing collection of print series that, with the exception of Andy Warhol’s silkscreens, have rarely or never been shown before. The exhibition SERIES now debuts highlights from that collection ranging from 1960s Pop Art to the present day and comprising a selection of around 50 graphic sequences, including many major works of the genre. Visitors will obtain insights on the history and development of printmaking as well as the collaborations between artists and leading printers, publishers and editions, which have led to ever new and surprising, even revolutionary developments in graphic art. The focus here is on the serial process, from the structure of the series as a sequence of motifs, to the step-by-step printing process, to the sequential perception of the artworks by the viewer. With some 300 works on view, the show gives an impression of the visual power of print series and not least their potentially explosive political power.

Series are open systems; they tell stories, play with rhythm, allow for variations and document artistic processes. The exhibition opens with print series from the 1960s, including Josef Albers and his Hommage au careé (1965), David Hockney’s cycle A Rake’s Progress (1961–63) and Roy Lichtenstein’s Haystacks (1969). A trajectory is then traced all the way to Christopher Wool’s series Untitled (2016) along with recent acquisitions by young artists. These include Nina Canell’s Mid Sentence (2018), acquired in 2019 with the support of the friends’ society Freunde der Kunsthalle e.V., and Helen Cammock’s Shouting in Whispers (2017).

In the mid-1960s, Pop Art and Fluxus raised prints to the status of a prime artistic medium. New graphic techniques such as silkscreen printing and offset, coupled with bold colours and high-impact motifs, enabled not only large print runs but also a whole new way of making use of images from the popular print media and advertising. With his famous silkscreen prints Campbell’s Soup (1968) and his Marilyn portraits (1967), Andy Warhol made the serial repetition of motifs his personal trademark. Alongside Pop Art, it was above all Minimal and Conceptual Art that favoured the serial reproduction of prints in their graphic sequences. These ideas still continue to inspire young artists today.

Integrated into the exhibition are films that demonstrate how print series are produced and which processes, decisions and techniques play a role. These films are also available from the website of Hamburger Kunsthalle. A series of talks accompanying the show will look at the collaboration between artists and prin¬ters when making print series. Live Online-Guiding-Tours will present selected artworks and exclusive views into the exhibition.

A catalogue (DCV Publisher, German/English, 256 pages, more than 300 illustrations) with texts of Petra Roettig, Leona Marie Ahrens and Dirk Dobke amongst others and supplemented by interviews with Thomas Schütte, Stefan Marx and Ellen Sturm-Loeding is accompanying the exhibition. The publication is available for purchase at the museum gift shop for 29 € and can be ordered online at

SERIES represents a further chapter in the Kunsthalle’s ongoing research into, discovery and presentation of graphic art, following on the heels of the successful exhibitions Drawing Rooms: Trends in Contemporary Graphic Art I + II (2016/2017) and Artist’s Books. The Collection (2017/2018).

Featured artists: Josef Albers, Joseph Beuys, Ulla von Brandenburg, John Cage, Helen Cammock, Nina Canell, Hanne Darboven, Jim Dine, Dan Flavin, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Olaf Christopher Jenssen, Donald Judd, Ronald B. Kitaj, Maria Lassnig, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Lindner, Robert Mangold, Brice Marden, Stefan Marx, Almir Mavignier, Matt Mullican, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Dieter Roth, Fred Sandback, Nora Schultz, Thomas Schütte, Dasha Shishkin, Frank Stella, Rosemarie Trockel, Günter Uecker, Victor Vasarely, Wolf Vostell, Andy Warhol, Corinne Wasmuht, Nobuko Watabiki, Emmett Williams and Christopher Wool.