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PRINT March 2003

RIPENING ON THE RHINE: THE COLOGNE ART WORLD OF THE ’80s

In an Italian restaurant in Frankfurt, some blocks from where I live, a huge, bluish Artforum.com for Martin Kippenberger" rel="nofollow" >Martin Kippenberger painting hangs on the wall. I am sitting at one of the tables there, with a stack of books and magazines from the ’80s: a few catalogues, issues of Spex and Wolkenkratzer, and a twenty-year-old essay on “New German Painting” by the critics Artforum.com for Wolfgang Max Faust" rel="nofollow" >Wolfgang Max Faust and Artforum.com for Gerd de Vries" rel="nofollow" >Gerd de Vries. This is where I’m starting to write the article you’re reading, about the creative scene that sprang up over two decades ago in a town some hundred miles away: Cologne in the ’80s.

My own blurred memories are of little help. I recall some tumultuous openings, late nights in hotel lobbies and bars, a mixture of languages (mainly German and American English), and a great sense of excitement. But I was just a visitor from abroad, with little grasp of what was really going on, and the decade was nearly over by the time

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