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Karl Marx and Capitalism

Industrialization catalyzed enormous economic, social, and cultural upheavals in the 19th century. Karl Marx was among the most important critics of the volatility of “modernity” and capitalism. As a philosopher, journalist, economist, and political activist, he aimed to make the new dynamics comprehensible and malleable. Marx advanced to one of the most influential German personalities of the 19th century – with a controversial body of work still read across the world to this day.

The exhibition “Karl Marx and Capitalism” presents and problematizes that work and influence of Marx as a confrontation with a dynamically changing capitalism and the controversies of the 19th century. Themes that take center stage include the critique of religion and society, the emancipation of the Jews and antisemitism, revolutions, new technologies, nature and ecology, economy, as well as struggles and movements in Europe – themes that have lost none of their explosiveness, either. The exhibition thus connects the historicization of Marx to questions of his currency, while also taking a critical look at the reception of his theories in the 20th and 21st century.

Accessible and Inclusive

The exhibition strives to be inclusive in its design and to enable visitors to learn about Karl Marx and the history of the 19th century via various sensory faculties. Seven interactive, multisensory stations support the access to the exhibition’s topics. The exhibition is to large extent barrier-free. The exhibits are displayed at different heights, and most display cases are accessible, being high enough for wheelchairs to fit underneath. All main texts are available in German, English, Easy Language, German Sign Language, German Braille and large print. Additionally, tactile typeface is provided at specific sites.

Accompanying Programme

The event series “Marx, Wagner and ...!” ran parallel to the two exhibitions “Karl Marx and Capitalism” and “Richard Wagner and the Nationalization of Feeling” and showed interconnections between them. The exclamation mark in the title of the series stands for the respective third person whose impact is examined in the light of the works of Marx and Wagner: Victoria, Princess Royal and German Empress, Mahatma Gandhi and Friedrich Nietzsche, seen in connection with Marx and Wagner, were each the topic on one of the three evenings. The event series took place in May and June 2022.


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