Munich’s museums invite visitors to encounter the Old Masters and new young things. Almost all genres and epochs are represented. It is amazing what art can do: it brings colour to our lives, amuses us, irritates and rebels, relaxes and is sometimes simply beautiful. Here are some exhibitions that you’ll definitely want to catch:
Around 90 paintings and sculptures from the late 18th to the early 20th century will be exhibited under the title “From Goya to Manet”. This temporary relocation of masterpieces from the Neue Pinakothek to the Alte Pinakothek presents a unique opportunity to view the most famous paintings from both museums under one roof.
Polish painting around 1900 transports the beholder to a world of myths and legends, dreamlike landscapes, ancient traditions and customs, and the depths of the human soul. In a nation without sovereignty – until its independence in 1918, Poland was partitioned between Prussia, the Russian and the Austro-Hungarian Empires – a young generation of artists began to breathe new life into the art of painting. With their works, they created a common identity. Drawing inspiration from Polish history, culture, and the natural environment, they also looked outward to the artistic centres of Berlin, Munich, Paris, St. Petersburg, and Vienna.
For the first time in Germany, the Kunsthalle München presents more than 140 important works from public and private collections (the title picture for this article depicts an excerpt from the painting “Polish Hamlet” by Jacek Malczewski) in a comprehensive exhibition devoted to the heyday of Polish art that took place between 1890 and 1918. The exhibition was organised in collaboration with the National Museums in Warsaw, Kraków and Poznań, with support from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Pastels were extremely popular in the 18th century. Especially in France, numerous of these works were created, whose colours were applied dry, with the help of pencils, but covering the entire surface, and which can therefore be classified neither as painting nor as drawing. Pastels from this period continue to fascinate us today - sometimes because of their closeness to nature and immediacy, sometimes because of the virtuosity of their execution, and always because of their precious fragility.
The Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen possess a collection of outstanding pastels painted between 1700 and the 1750s: Commissioned works by Elector Max Emanuel stand alongside later acquisitions and permanent loans, Joseph Vivien and Maurice Quentin de La Tour are represented as well as Rosalba Carriera and Jean-Étienne Liotard.
In cooperation with the Institut für Kulturaustausch Tübingen, the Munich Künstlerhaus is showing Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's complete lithographic works, flanked by works by renowned predecessors and contemporaries. The exhibition from the famous Musée d'Ixelles in Brussels captivates through the juxtaposition of the works of Alfons Mucha, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Pierre Bonnard and Felix Vallotton from the years 1885 to 1990 with the unique life's work of the famous founder of poster art. In addition to the special mood of the Fin de Siècle, this artistic dialogue also illuminates the origins of today's mass advertising.
This large-scale monographic exhibition is dedicated in the first instance to the theme of travel, which was of existential importance to Max Beckmann (1884 – 1950). His life was marked by tragic experiences of war and uprooting, transit and exile, but also by glamorous vacations, the urge for freedom and the longing to travel.
Around 100 loans from important private and public Beckmann collections in Europe and the USA, such as the first triptych “Departure” from the MoMA, show the enormous range of travel-oriented pictorial motifs and concepts and complement the largest European collection of Beckmann paintings from the Modern Art Collection at the Pinakothek der Moderne art gallery.
Through a donation from Max Beckmann’s family estate to the Max Beckmann Archive of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) in 2015, numerous previously unseen materials and documents such as photo albums and films are now presented for the first time, providing a new and updated view of the artist.
The ground-breaking artist Fujiko Nakaya (b.1933, Sapporo, Japan) will be celebrated in the first comprehensive survey exhibition outside of Japan. Gaining prominence in the 1960s as a member of the New York-based collective Experiments in Arts and Technology (E.A.T.), she became internationally renowned for her immersive fog artworks, which defied traditional conventions of sculpture by generating temporary, borderless transformations that physically engage with the public and give shape to the surrounding environment.
Driven by early ecological concerns, Nakaya’s work deals with water and air, mediums that have particular resonance in the face of the climate crisis. From the artist’s early paintings to her fog sculptures, single-channel videos, installations and documentation that reveal Nakaya’s cultural and social references, this experiential exhibition at the Haus der Kunst will offer an in-depth survey of one of Japan’s foremost artists.
The exhibition at the Monacensia (Munich’s literary archive) focuses on Munich’s Bohemian women between 1890 and 1920, examining their importance in the context of literature, culture, politics and society. What topics did the women of the Bohemian world write about? What living concepts and political demands did they introduce to the public sphere? What ideals and convictions did they represent? How did they wish to live? To what extent did they shape Bohemianism as a subculture at the turn of the century?
The exhibition centres on women whose lives and work were largely based in Munich. The specific destinies of individuals such as Franziska zu Reventlow, Margarete Beutler and Emmy Hennings were clearly marked by difficulties and problems, but these women also emerge as courageous protagonists fighting for female self-determination and independence.
The Lenbachhaus and the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen are jointly organising the first comprehensive monographic exhibition in Germany on the work of the artist Etel Adnan, who died in 2021 at the age of 96. Born in Beirut, Etel Adnan (1925 – 2021) is an important representative of modernism. Her artistic and literary work is characterized by a broad and vibrant exchange between the Arab and Western worlds. The work of the poet, journalist, painter and philosopher, who spent her life between Lebanon, France and California, combines very different art forms, media, languages and cultures.
After Algeria's War of Independence (1954 – 1962), Adnan refused to continue working in French and showed solidarity with Algeria: "I didn't need to write in French anymore, I wanted to paint in Arabic." Her political clarity, as well as the close connection between writing and painting, have become essential features of her oeuvre.
"The whole body of work we call art knows neither borders nor nations but only humanity": that is how Kandinsky and Marc put it in their almanac The Blue Rider, which came out in 1912. The credo inspired the Lenbachhaus to put together a new presentation that embeds the Blue Rider artists’ works in the sweeping history of art and culture that the almanac illustrates.
For the first time, the exhibition allows visitors to study with their own eyes the interconnections between Bavarian and Russian folk art, Japanese woodcuts, children’s drawings, contemporary music and the works of Balinese, Gabonese, Oceanian, Sri Lankan, Mexican, and Egyptian art reproduced in the almanac. The dialogue between outstanding works and artifacts on loan from other museums and the beloved classics from the Lenbachhaus’s own collection opens up new perspectives on the Blue Rider artists’ high-minded vision.
In cooperation with Tanit Gallery, Museum Fünf Kontinente presents its first pop-up exhibition entitled "Simone Fattal »... provide me the clay so I can do the making«".
In it, contemporary artistic works enter into dialogue with historical objects from Southwest Asia and North Africa in the permanent exhibition "The Orient".
A total of eleven works by the artist, who was born in Syria in 1942 and grew up in Lebanon, are on display. In black and white etchings and sculptures made of clay, Simone Fattal expresses her attachment to her homeland and the art traditions of the Near and Middle East.
Head coverings have been and continue to be prime means of communication: they are used for self-presentation, to indicate hierarchies, and can both unite and divide groups of people. The Bayerisches Nationalmuseum presents around 300 hats, hoods, caps and much more from its collection. From the Middle Ages to the present day, various aspects of the cultural history of this “top feature” are illuminated.
Historic original articles form the central focus of the exhibition, with commentary and explanation provided via an abundance of visual materials. The presentation is enhanced by loans of 20th- and 21st-century pieces from important private collections, as well as modern-day milliners and hat artists. In this special exhibition visitors can see that head coverings are fashion statements which boast a unique diversity and are simply beautiful!
Gustav Mesmer was born in 1903 in Upper Swabia and grew up in a large family. He leaves school at an early age and works on farms until he is admitted to the Benedictine monastery, where he stays for six years. After a decade-long odyssey through numerous psychiatric institutions, he arrives at a home in Buttenhausen in 1964.
Since 1932, Gustav Mesmer has devoted himself to his passion, human flight, and designed flying machines which, powered by muscle power, are intended to enable "small air traffic" from village to village. Gustav Mesmer died in 1994, shortly before his 92nd birthday.
The small exhibition at Villa Stuck presents - for the first time in Munich - Gustav Mesmer's flying bicycles, swinging flying machines, pictures, sketches and texts as well as musical instruments and speaking machines.
On 26 April 1966, the International Olympic Committee chose the Bavarian capital Munich as the venue for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. On the 280-hectare Oberwiesenfeld, four kilometres from the city centre, the Olympic sports facilities were built in harmony between nature and architecture, a buoyant bold tent-roof construction with the neighbouring Olympic Village.
The Olympic facilities designed by Behnisch & Partner, Frei Otto, Günther Grzimek and Heinle, Wischer und Partner received international recognition as an outstanding architectural achievement of the German post-war period and Otl Aicher's visual appearance set new standards.
With numerous unknown documents and models, the large-scale exhibition of the TUM Museum of Architecture in the Pinakothek der Moderne spans a thematic arc from the reconstruction of the city to the "Olympics in the Green" with the world-famous tent roof, the sports facilities and the Olympic Village as well as the visual image to the Olympic legacy. Questions of self-portrayal, sustainability and understanding of democracy are the focus of the presentation.
20 Years of the Pinakothek der Moderne - 21 Objects, Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum, 14 July, 2022 to 15 January, 2023
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Pinakothek der Moderne, which opened in 2002, Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum presents objects from the last 20 years. They may be new manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, which has generated new forms. The "Solid C2" chair by designer Patrick Jouin is representative of this. It is one of the first fully 3D-printed pieces of furniture. Technical developments such as robotics have also increasingly influenced everyday life over the last two decades. This is exemplified by the entertainment robot "AIBO ERS 210", which imitates a dog and can react to its surroundings by means of touch sensors, camera and microphones.
Ecological aspects such as sustainability and Fairtrade and societal and social issues such as inclusion and diversity have also become increasingly important in the last two decades. All the objects in the exhibition reflect these phenomena of the last two decades in a small section, which find their innovative and relevant creative implementation in design.
The exhibition at the Museum Brandhorst brings to life a hitherto little-noticed phenomenon in art and sculpture in particular: the reciprocal interpenetration of body and technology. With works by around 60 artists—primarily from Europe, the USA and Japan—the exhibition is dedicated to the major technological changes since the post-war period and takes a look at their influence on our ideas of bodies. The exhibition is a journey through materials, forms, and modes of expression in sculpture, which has changed more in the last 70 years than probably ever before in its long history.
The following artists are represented in the exhibition "Future Bodies":
Genpei Akasegawa, Paweł Althamer, Nairy Baghramian, Joachim Bandau, Matthew Barney, Alexandra Bircken, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Breer, John Chamberlain, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Shu Lea Cheang, Jesse Darling, Stephanie Dinkins, Aleksandra Domanović, Melvin Edwards, Bruno Gironcoli, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Nancy Grossman, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Eva Hesse, Judith Hopf, Rebecca Horn, Tishan Hsu, Edward Ihnatowicz, Arthur Jafa, Motoharu Jōnouchi, KAYA, Kiki Kogelnik, Shigeko Kubota, Tetsumi Kudo, Yayoi Kusama, Nicola L., Mark Leckey, Sarah Lucas, Bruce Nauman, Senga Nengudi, Kiyoji Ōtsuji, Tony Oursler, Nam June Paik, Eduardo Paolozzi, Friederike Pezold, Julia Phillips, Walter Pichler, Seth Price, Carol Rama, Germaine Richier, Niki de Saint Phalle, Hans Salentin, Ashley Hans Scheirl, David Smith, Alina Szapocznikow, Takis, Atsuko Tanaka, Paul Thek, Jean Tinguely, Hannsjörg Voth, Franz West
The Kunsthalle München presents the first major retrospective in Germany dedicated to the French artist JR (born in 1983) who exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. JR achieved fame by emblazoning huge portraits of anonymous people on the façades of buildings, trains, container ships, even border walls. With his art, JR gives greater visibility to those, whose dignity and rights are frequently ignored in the political discourse, in a way that is as perceptive as it is compassionate.
His recent projects include a large-scale pasting in a maximum security prison in California, a TIME Magazine cover about guns in America, a monumental mural in the suburbs of Paris, or a gigantic installation at the US-Mexico border fence. As he remains anonymous, JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject and the passer-by. That is what JR’s work is about, raising questions. With photographs, videos, models and pastings covering entire walls, the multimedia exhibition revisits a selection of JR’s projects, which are, by their very nature, only temporary.
This exhibition is organized by the Brooklyn Museum.
The most comprehensive exhibition of work dedicated to visionary artist Joan Jonas (b.1936, New York) in Germany to date has been conceived by the artist and Haus der Kunst in collaboration with Tate Modern, London. Characterised by her fundamental interest in cultural rites and the dynamic processes of mirroring, shifting and redefining genre and time, the major retrospective is underpinned by themes that have recurred throughout her career.
Environmental issues, echoed in early video works such as “Wind” (1968) are central to multimedia installations “Reanimation” (2010–12) and “Stream or River, Flight or Pattern” (2016), which address climate change and the threat to the ecosystem. The exploration of collective narratives of mythology, fairy tales and fables, set against a backdrop of contemporary, socio-political events form the starting point for works such as “Juniper Tree” (1969), “Volcano Saga” (1985), and “Lines in the Sand” (2002).
Kunstlabor 2, Kunstlabor 2 of the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA), from now for five years
Situated in the Maxvorstadt district and located in a former health centre, Kunstlabor 2 spans some 10,000 square metres over six floors. The building was transformed into a new centre for art and culture as a temporary project by the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA). A particularly exciting point for lovers of street art and urban art to note is that two of the six floors have been – and continue to be – transformed into a walk-in work of art by more than 100 artists.
Those involved include household names such as Loomit and rapper Samy Deluxe, but also newcomers such as Pepe (alias Jose Luis Villanueva Contreras). In addition to the permanent room installations and changing exhibitions, the centre offers an extensive framework programme including guided tours, workshops, film days, concerts, readings, labs, performances and many other cultural highlights. The operators of Kunstlabor 2 offer the façade to artists to use as a design platform, legally and free of charge.
With the exhibition Wildlife Photographer of the Year, a public favourite returns to the Museum Mensch und Natur (Museum of Man and Nature). On display are the award-winning images of the eponymous competition for nature photography, which is considered the largest and most renowned of its kind and is organised annually by the Natural History Museum London. With a total of 100 fascinating images, the exhibition offers moving insights into the magnificent, diverse and sometimes dramatic natural world.
Photographer, author and art historian Florian Heine divides his photographs of Munich into four categories: voll schön (full of beauty) – voll komisch (full of strangeness) – voll kultur (full of culture) and voll voll (fully full). Indeed, these are four very apt descriptions for this city.
Heine is a highly versatile artist whose art adorns the interior of Feldmoching U-Bahn station, among other places. He has also written multiple books on art, photography and architecture for children and adults. His book “Welterbe – Deutschlands lebendige Vergangenheit” (“World heritage – Germany’s living past”) won the ITB Book award in 2018.
The multimedia touring exhibition is on show at the SMÄK in Bavaria for the first time, combined with works by photographer Noah Cohen. The focus is on significant and lesser-known personalities whose biographies and lives reflect striking events and epochs of Jewish history in Germany and broaden the perspective to the European region. In the Egyptian Museum, they are joined by portraits of Jewish people, including Munich residents, photographed by Noah Cohen. The photographer portrays them in their favourite places and beyond all stereotypes. In this way, his photographs extend the travelling exhibition into the Bavarian region.
Dayanita Singh (*1961, New Delhi) is one of the most important contemporary artists. In 2013, for example, she was a member of the German Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. The Villa Stuck Museum is showing the most comprehensive retrospective to date of the internationally renowned artist, whose work occupies a singular position within the photographic tradition, as she constantly seeks to explore the boundaries of the medium.
Dayanita Singh sees herself as an "offset artist", i.e. a bookmaker who works with photographs. Over the course of time, and especially through her engagement with the medium of "exhibition", she has developed a series of modular display structures, some of which are architecturally sophisticated, that allow images to be changed quickly and at the same time allow the images to enter into a spatial relationship with each other and with the viewers.
The exhibition shows a wide variety of these radical forms of presentation - modular structures made of wood, artists' books and collections of prints. They make Singh's longstanding preoccupation with Indian music, with the transformation of Indian society, with friendships, gender roles and much more tangible.
With “Heidi” (1880), the Swiss author Johanna Spyri wrote Europe’s last, major tale about heimat and homesickness which has become firmly embedded in the childhood memories of innumerable people worldwide—in Palestine, and later Israel, as well. First translated into Hebrew in 1946, Spyri’s novel appeared at a time when the subject of heimat, its loss, and new beginnings were highly relevant. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through time, tracing the reception this Swiss children’s classic was given over the decades from a Jewish perspective. A photo installation by the Israeli artist Niv Fridman will be shown together with the exhibition. An exhibition of the Heidiseum in cooperation with the Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum) Munich.
The exhibition at the NS-Dokumentationszentrum is devoted to the eventful history of the LGBTQI+ community during the first half of the 20th century. Selected exhibits show how queer life became ever more visible in all areas of public life – art and culture, science, politics and military. However, the more confidently people fought for equal rights, the greater the resistance they encountered. The Nazi ruling powers largely destroyed the queer subculture and the spaces it occupied.
“TO BE SEEN” invites visitors to trace these often-forgotten stories and ways of living. In addition to historic accounts, the exhibition includes works by present-day artists, some of which were created especially for the show.
The first phase of the extensive modernisation of the Museumsinsel building is complete. Now there are 19 completely new permanent exhibitions to explore on the 20,000-square-metre site. The diverse list of themes covered ranges from atomic physics to agriculture; from chemistry to bridges and hydraulic engineering; and from aeronautics and space travel to health. A number of major masterpieces are on display, such as the first diesel engine, the Siemens electronic music studio, the Helios space probe and the famous/infamous Enigma code machine.
In addition, there are also several new Deutsches Museum acquisitions to admire, such as the groundbreaking Sycamore quantum processor and the first approved coronavirus vaccines. A wealth of interactive demonstrations, accessible exhibitions, virtual reality and augmented reality experience rooms and numerous media stations bring technology and science to life and make them tangible in the truest sense of the word.