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München 72

Munich 72. Fashion, People, and Music

July 29, 2022 to March 12, 2023, Münchner Stadtmuseum

The exhibition seeks to identify traces of the visions, aesthetics, lifestyles, and memories that still permeate our city and Munich society 50 years after the events. Not only have our curators drawn on material from our own collections, but they have set up a “Munich 72” Storytelling Café to provide a forum where residents and former participants alike can swap their memories of the events and gradually piece together a collective memory map of the ways in which the Games have left an indelible mark on everyday life and the Munich cityscape.

Items donated and loaned by the public and the results of this ground-breaking project can be seen in the exhibition and online. However, this is not the end – collection, digitization, inclusion of new material and discussions are set to continue long after this date.

The Fashion/Textiles/Costume Library Collection contributions feature the official staff uniforms for the Games and other pieces by Parisian couturier André Courrèges, a leading designer of those times. His work fused Otl Aicher’s color palette with a casual safari look to create a style that deliberately eschewed any military overtones. In the official setting of the Games, his provocative unisex suits were the first of their kind not to have separate versions for men and women, a bold move for those times.The hostess costumes, however, sought to strike a balance between tradition and modernity with their sky blue and white dirndls that, in the eyes of Otl Aicher, reflected the colors of the Upper Bavarian landscape.

The exhibition also features some of Courrèges’ haute couture clothing. His avant-garde pieces, with their clean, geometric lines, created an unorthodox and distinctly alternative look far removed from the conventions of the times.

The democratic, participatory approach adopted by the Games was echoed in the opening and closing ceremonies and ran through the entire cultural program. The “Spielstraße” (Avenue of Entertainment), located next to the Olympic Lake and designed by architect Werner Ruhnau, was a radically democratic concept. Its aim was to encourage the general public to participate in creating art and as such continues to influence cultural engagement to this day. Another prominent feature was Neue Musik. “Exotica for six singing instrumentalists, each with at least ten non-European instruments” was a piece specially commissioned by the Olympic Culture Commission from German-Argentine composer Mauricio Kagel. Most of the instruments used at the premiere, some sixty percussion, wind and string instruments largely originating from Africa and Southeast Asia, were loaned by the Münchner Stadtmuseum’s collection. Today, the legacy of colonialism in museum collections is subject to hotly contested debate. Yet it is widely accepted that Kagel’s composition sought to question rather than celebrate this legacy. We too at the Münchner Stadtmuseum are seeking to openly address historical issues such as these. Our exhibition includes around 30 instruments in addition to some photographic material from the music and culture program not hitherto on public display, and we have audio stations to breathe fresh life into the music. The Avenue of Entertainment explored new forms of alternative theater. International artists were commissioned to deal artistically with past editions of the Olympic Games. Michael Meschke (*1931), whose family had emigrated to Sweden because of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, created a Punch & Judy show with his "Marionetteatern Stockholm" about the 1912 Stockholm Olympics with three stages operating Punch and Judy shows simultaneously. Meschke examined different discourses surrounding the 1912 Games. His "Marionetteatern", founded in 1958, belonged to the international alternative theater avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s. The three stick puppets that we have chosen to display already form part of the Münchner Stadtmuseum’s Puppet Theater/Fairground Attraction collection. The stage and hand puppets on display are on loan from Stockholm’s Scenkonstmuseet.

This project includes an extensive program of events and public involvement – concerts (including a revival of Kagel’s “Exotica”), discussion events, media workshops, other forms of storytelling and a musical construction site modeled on the “Spielstraße” of the 1972 Olympics, where artists and visitors can join forces to create visual and sound compositions that draw on the cultural heritage of the Olympic Games and reinterpret it for today’s audiences.