When it comes to the quantity and quality of exhibition venues for contemporary art, Munich ranks alongside the art capitals of Europe and, indeed, the world. In late summer, an additional 19 international galleries will come to the city as part of the Various Others initiative, established to showcase exhibitions and projects developed in collaboration with the curators, collectors, artists and galleries located in the city. Numerous well-established partners, but also a number of up-and-coming art galleries are involved in the initiative.
While art fairs all over the world are being cancelled, Munich has come up with the ultimate concept to allow people to experience and discuss international contemporary art in an array of venues throughout the city: the Various Others initiative. The initiative, which is now entering its third year in Munich, will see around 20 exhibitions open in galleries, museums and off-spaces on its opening weekend alone, between 9 and 13 September.
The initiative will continue until mid-October with more than 50 additional events, including artist talks, guided exhibition tours with curators, performances, screenings, book presentations and campaigns within the public space, and will bring galleries from Vienna, Zurich, London, Paris, Madrid, Bangalore and New York to the city. These will enrich Munich’s already ample offering by bringing with them a range of stars from the international art scene. The intention, of course, is to find buyers for the art on display, but this highly communicative art fair is also largely aimed at appealing to an audience with an interest in art.
Various Others does not merely build on the exhibition activities of Munich’s gallery owners and their partners, however. Rather, Munich’s entire cultural landscape will be coming into play and showcasing the best of what the city has to offer when it comes to contemporary art. For example, the Museum Brandhorst is planning to open its autumn exhibition with works by Brussels-based artist Lucy McKenzie as part of the Various Others initiative. The exhibition was put together in close collaboration with the artist, who was born in Glasgow in 1977. The Sammlung Goetz (Goetz Collection) will be showing a work by Cuban artist Félix González-Torres, who died in 1996, in five public places throughout the city. González-Torres’ works were exhibited in the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1995.
Various Others does not merely build on the exhibition activities of Munich’s gallery owners and their partners, however. Rather, Munich’s entire cultural landscape will be coming into play and showcasing the best of what the city has to offer when it comes to contemporary art.
This year, there is a particularly strong focus on the connection with the capital. Berlin is represented by a total of six galleries as part of the Various Others project. These include both promising newcomers and well-established gallery owners such as Berlin's Johann König, whose König Galerie houses works by German sculptor and installation and object artist Michael Sailstorfer, and will be hosted by the Rüdiger Schöttle gallery on Amalienstraße. Munich gallery owner Christine Mayer is collaborating with colleagues from the Berlin Museum of Contemporary Fine Arts (CFA). Together, they will create a dialogue between paintings by Munich artist Thomas von Poschinger and those of Berlin shooting star Henning Strassberger. The renowned Walter Storms gallery, which is participating in the initiative for the first time this year, will be hosting leading Berlin gallery owner Esther Schipper.
The Kunstraum München gallery in the Glockenbach district has teamed up with partners from Berlin and India for a surprising joint project entitled “Responsive Curating”. The venture is based on an exhibition concept that emerged in the 1960s, which almost seems to have been designed for tackling the challenges presented by the pandemic: the artists involved need neither travel nor ship materials to the venue. “Responsive Curating” is based on the pretext that the artist will not deliver a finished work, but instead provide the curator with a precise set of instructions on how to create the piece on site.
The title "Responsive Curating" conceals an exhibition concept that originated in the 1960s and seems to have been created to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Galleries from other European capitals are also collaborating with their Munich counterparts. “Il Mondo Umano” is the last part of a trilogy which the Galerie Klüser began working on as part of the Various Others initiative with “Il Mondo Botanico” and “Il Mondo Animale” in 2018 and 2019. The final show in 2020 is a collaboration with the Christine König Galerie in Vienna. Together, they will be showing pieces by American photographer Cindy Sherman and equally prominent German photographer Jürgen Teller. The Museum of Modern Art in New York already presented an elaborate Sherman retrospective in 2012, while Teller rose to fame in the 1990s for his portraits of musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Patti Smith.
The operators of the Jahn und Jahn gallery in Munich, the garcía galería in Madrid and the Thomas Dane Gallery in London have selected a quote by linguistic artist Peter Handke to represent their exhibition, “Joker” in the programme booklet. After all, one of the main themes behind this collaborative exhibition project is how images develop with the aid of language. The exhibition will include works by legendary artist Marcel Broodthaers, among others.
Plattform K in the Lothringer 13 hall has set up an entire apartment to test models and practices of cohabitation from an artistic perspective.
But the Various Others initiative will also provide a platform for successful young Munich artists. For example, art auction house Karl&Faber will be presenting “Sleepy Ride to the Airport”, a video by artist Paul Valentin, who was born in 1990. A graduate of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, Valentin was honoured with the Karl & Faber Prize by the Munich Academy of Fine Arts Foundation last year for his previous video.
Plattform K in the Lothringer 13 hall has set up an entire apartment to test models and practices of cohabitation from an artistic perspective. Over 40 artists and researchers from Munich and all over the world have accepted invitations to participate in this collaborative project, entitled “This house is not a home”. Here, readings and performances take place amid handmade furniture, practical skills are taught and tried out together in workshops, and alternating hosts even invite participants to dinner in the venue.
You can view the full programme for the Various Others initiative, including a list of all exhibition venues, here.