Spiegelkugeleinkaufswagen "disko", Thorsten Mühlbach
Exhibition extended!


Sheer Luxury

What does luxury mean in times of Corona? What made Corona a “luxury?” Is Corona ready for the museum? The temporary exhibition has received a "Corona update." It is now investigating how experiences in the corona crisis have changed attitudes towards luxury. Unexpected new definitions expand the view of luxury in the here and now. The exhibition is also dedicated to different ideas of luxury from a historical perspective, always with a view to the present.

How different were attitudes to luxury in the East and West of a divided Germany? Did the economy in West Germany foster a desire to consume evermore luxury goods? And why did the GDR fail to achieve the prescribed goal of creating an equal society, where striving for luxury is overcome?

Today, luxury is attainable for many people. But can you have too much of it? Could less be more? Does luxury increase the gap between rich and poor? These questions accompany the history of luxury and show it as a phenomenon that moves society: as a sign of social status, a prosperity indicator, an economic factor, an expression of lifestyles and the epitome of inequality.

A dream or a waste? Pleasure or pomp? Everyone has their own idea of luxury. Yet it also depends on the society we live in and which we also help to shape. As a history of change, our exhibition looks at the last 70 years, showing what people in Germany view as luxury and how they react to it.

Highlights of the exhibition include a coat made out of swan feathers by Marlene Dietrich, a "handmade" Porsche from the GDR and a golden toilet. Various luxury experts illuminate different aspects of the phenomenon. With around 400 original objects, documents, films and photographs, the exhibition shows luxury as a dream, a mission statement and a lifestyle, and also asks what a society without luxury would be like.

Lindner Coupé - DDR-Porsche
Ladies hat with egret feathers, Berta Häusler, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Childrens Mercedes and visitors in the exhibition
Evening dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe und Jubiläumskordel, Wellendorff Gold-Creationen GmbH & Co. KG
Visitors in front of a wall installation in the exhibition