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:
- Art of Antiquity
- The Old Masters
- From the 18th century to classical modernism
- Strong women, strong art
- Art in dialogue
- Architecture, design and handicraft
- Munich – a mecca for contemporary art
- Film and Photo exhibitions
- Exhibitions at the Jüdisches Museum
- Exhibitions at the NS-Dokumentationszentrum
- Exhibitions at the Deutsches Museum
- Exhibitions in the Munich environs
In the special exhibition “Naga – the buried royal city“, the State Museum of Egyptian Art takes visitors with it to the excavation work in Sudan. Large, walk-through photo panoramas transport the audience to the Sudanese steppe and give them an insight into the archaeological research work on an excavation. With the help of state-of-the-art audio technology, the impression of being directly on site is also created acoustically.
Naga is located in the south-eastern foothills of the Sahara and is one of the most complex archaeological sites in Sudan. The magnificent temple city of the ancient empire of Meroe (around 350 BC to 350 AD) remained well protected in the desert sands after its heyday from 250 BC to 250 AD, thus offering ideal conditions for archaeological fieldwork. Naga has been a UNSESCO World Heritage Site since 2011.
Circus to Apostle. Terra Sigillata from the K. Wilhelm Collection, Staatliche Antikensammlungen, 5 July 2023 to 14 April 2024
For centuries, the Terra Sigillata on display from North Africa was in demand throughout the Mediterranean region. Their high quality, their durability due to the hard firing, as well as their varied series of forms and types of decoration made them constant companions at Roman banquets. Plates, trays, platters, bowls and the rarer pitchers and jugs were part of the service and give us an idea of the richly laid table of the Romans. The vessels, some of which were extremely thin-walled, imitated in form and decoration objects made of precious materials such as silver, ivory or glass, which only the richest could afford. They were therefore a luxury for everyone.
The exhibition provides information on the precursors and production methods of Roman fine ceramics from North Africa; another focus is on the rich pictorial decoration. This illustrates not least the change from a pagan to a Christian lifestyle.
Venezia 500. The Gentle Revolution of Venetian Painting, Alte Pinakothek, 27 October 2023 to 4 February 2024
The exhibition at the Alte Pinakothek is devoted to the groundbreaking innovations in Venetian Renaissance painting, with lasting effects that continued to resonate far into European modernism. It presents 15 masterpieces from the Munich collection and around 70 international loans, focusing on portraits and landscapes from the first half of the sixteenth century as the most eloquent examples of the characteristics and achievements of the flourishing Venetian school.
The leading masters brought a previously unprecedented intensity to their explorations of the essence of humanity and nature. This explains the attraction and the relevance of these portraits and landscapes, which will be presented in themed groups and in juxtapositions of drawings and sculptures that address the contexts of their creative origins and contemporary readings. Works by Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Palma Vecchio, Lorenzo Lotto, Titian and Tintoretto are on display.
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.
Joseph Mallord William Turner has long been hailed as a revolutionary innovator who helped pave the way for modernism. He began exploring the possibilities of landscape painting early on, both by studying earlier masters of the genre and in direct engagement with the world around him. He experimented with the conventions of his craft, gradually pushing the boundaries of traditional representation. Soon his works loosened the bond that tied them to nature as it appears to the eye to such a degree that, in their reduction to colour, light, and atmosphere, they called the picture’s representational function into question. His art amazed contemporary beholders and sparked controversy.
The cooperation of Lenbachhaus in Munich with Tate Britain, London, which preserves his extensive estate, enables to vividly illustrate Turner’s career and his pictorial innovations. On display are around forty paintings and forty watercolours as well as sketches from all parts of his oeuvre.
Judy Chicago, Lygia Clark, Faith Wilding and others are on view here in a reconstruction of historical environments by women artists. “Environment“ is a genre of art in which spaces are designed: Haus der Kunst presents eleven works by women artists of three generations from Asia, Europe and North and South America. The exhibition redefines the artistic canon by showing the elementary role of women in the development of environments.
“Meredith Monk. Calling” (cover picture of this exhibition preview) is the most comprehensive survey to date of the celebrated American artist, presenting works from across the last six decades. Monk (b. 1942, New York City) seamlessly works across disciplines - pushing the boundaries of music, theatre, dance, video, and installation – while at the core, continuously exploring the evocative power and dimensionality of the human voice. While Monk is widely recognised in the worlds of music and theatre, the exhibition at Haus der Kunst will be the first exhibition in Europe dedicated to her immersive work.
The Kunsthalle München presents the first comprehensive exhibition of Spanish painter Ignacio Zuloaga in Germany, featuring some ninety works. Zuloaga shaped the image of Spain abroad like almost no other artist around 1900: toreros and spirited flamenco dancers; beggars, little people, and witches invoking the artistic legacy of Diego Velázquez and Francisco de Goya; ascetics and penitents in vast landscapes withering under the blazing sun; the simple life of the rural population. In the wake of industrialization and Spain’s increasing orientation towards European Modernism, Zuloaga strove to preserve the “Spanish soul” with such scenes, which gained him international success.
In ten thematic chapters the exhibition explores Zuloaga’s artistic career and locates him within the historico-cultural context of his time, including his close ties with the writers of the so-called Generation of ’98, the question of Spain’s self-image and its image among foreigners within Europe, as well as Zuloaga’s connections to the Paris avant-garde.
Ensconced in doll’s houses, fairground booths, collections of curiosities, wherever, puppets and dolls have always exerted a powerful and fascinating appeal. Not only are they a prime figurative representation of humans, but they also manage to embody our innermost wishes, fears, and desires. They hold up a mirror to our society and its role models both past and present. We can see a similar ambivalence in the Sammlung Goetz by visual artists that take intriguing slants in their treatment of puppets and dolls. By combining their art, the Münchner Stadtmuseum's Puppet Theater/Fairground Attraction Collection and associated historical photographs, we venture into an interdisciplinary dialog between these rich sets of works. Over 500 works by some 50 artists and artisans are displayed throughout the exhibition and can be visited following varied itineraries. It includes videos by Kara Walker and Nathalie Djurberg, photographs by Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons and sculptures by Andreas Slominski and Thomas Schütte.
With an exhibition inspired by Cy Twombly's rose paintings, Museum Brandhorst is participating in the city-wide Flower Power Festival. Twombly created the series Untitled (Roses) especially for a room of the museum, which opened in 2009, where the six monumental paintings have been on display ever since.
Based on Twombly's poetically conceived subjects such as death, freedom, loneliness and eroticism, the show brings together works by other artists, including Jennifer Packer, Ellsworth Kelly, Georgia O'Keeffe, Gabriele Münter and, last but not least, Claude Monet, who is represented with his famous Water Lilies from 1915. This bouquet of works from the Bavarian State Painting Collections and external loans reveals the complex, even contradictory motives of numerous artists to deal with the representation of flowers over the centuries.
The artist Birgit Eiglsperger is exhibiting her latest works at the Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke. The contemporary objects meet casts of antiquities and thus unfold a multi-layered effect. Visitors are invited to trace the images of individuals and at the same time the general, the essential nature of being human. In addition, drawings and photos from the artist's work process present the exciting field between creating and perceiving.
Machine learning and live installation in WangShui's first European solo exhibition: the American artist (b. 1986) develops videos, sculptures and paintings with the help of artificial neural networks and creates generative installations that react to their environment. WangShui's work will be exhibited in dialogue with the works in the concurrent exhibition at the Haus der Kunst “In Other Spaces“ (see above).
For the first time, the exhibition at the Pinakothek der Moderne focuses on the subject of bicycle design. On display are 70 examples of some of the most unusual and exciting bicycles in the history of design.
The fact that bicycle design is not only the art of craftsmanship and frame building, not only the work of ingenious inventors, tinkerers, obsessives and enthusiasts, is proven by the numerous designs of aircraft and automobile engineers such as Paul Jaray, Hermann Klaue or Alex Moulton as well as industrial designers, including Luigi Colani, Richard Sapper, Michael Conrad, Giorgetto Giugiaro, Marc Newson, Christian Zanzotti or Ross Lovegrove.
The travelling exhibition at Burg Grünwald (castle) focuses on the connection between man and nature, or more precisely, between mankind and the raw material wood. Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to see the tree as a living being, the forest as a habitat and themselves as part of this living world. Exciting exhibits from everyday life and research, handicrafts and industry, art, the environment and science convey knowledge in a vivid and entertaining way, involving all the senses. A wooden lounger invites you to relax, a jukebox with forest songs invites you to hum along. There are Punch and Judy figures made of real wood, a sustainable shopping trolley, a Klo2Go and a groom's oak tree.
Visitors can contribute to the exhibition and bring their own object or add a digital exhibit to the exhibition under the hashtag #holzmachtsachen.
In keeping with the exhibition, the Archäologische Staatssammlung (State Archaeological Collection) at Burg Grünwald (castle) is offering a varied accompanying programme.
Paula Scher (born 1948) is the internationally most influential and most successful graphic designer of her day. Her ideas have inspired generations of designers and have become icons of graphic design. The artist puts type, in other words typography, at the center of her works. With “Paula Scher: Type is Image” Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum is presenting the artist’s first solo exhibition in Germany.
From her early award-winning album covers of the 1970s through her many years of work for the New York Public Theater and corporate identity commissions such as the one for Microsoft Windows 8 and on to her most recent works on hand-painted maps the entire spectrum of her work will be on show in the form of outstanding designs. With “Paula Scher: Type is Image” Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum playfully showcases the comprehensive and diverse work of this graphic designer in a newly developed space-related staging.
Textiles determine human existence. They are a mirror of cultural and social trends and their traditions. The New Collection focuses on 180 textiles from around 200 years, most of which come from the museum's rich holdings.
On the one hand, the exhibition reflects the diverse uses, designs and developments in textiles and, on the other, documents the history of the museum's textile collection as well as its collection focal points. These include works from the Arts and Crafts movement, the Münchner Bund or the Bauhaus and Modernism, through Molas from Panama, Moroccan carpets, war carpets from Afghanistan and European textiles from the 1950s to the present, to textiles characterised by functionalism, anti-design or stylistic pluralism as well as special visionary positions.
Wooden Sculptures by Jessi Strixner and Philipp Liehr, Valentin-Karlstadt-Musäum, 27 July to 7 November 2023
Not wooden at all, but deceptively real. This is the effect of the garments by wood sculptor Jessi Strixner. There are socks, a jacket and even women's underwear. The strikingly real look of the sculptures, which are made entirely of wood, especially lime and robinia, is fascinating. Now Jessi Strixner is showing her unusual objects together with the works of her partner Philipp Liehr, who likes to carve superheroes, astronauts but also "private moments" into wood.
Italian designer Martino Gamper's playful new work "Sitzung" will transform the central hall at Haus der Kunst into a new, ever-evolving social space. As artist-in-residence, Gamper will design a series of newly designed chairs, an evolution of his acclaimed long-term project "100 Chairs in 100 Days". During the runtime, the chairs will be rearranged by visitors and the staff at will - to gather, rest and play.
Kunstlabor 2, Kunstlabor 2 of the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA), from 26 October 2021 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.
The Museum Brandhorst will present its collection in a fresh light. The ground floor galleries are now designed as a series of modules bringing together specific themes, historical events, and individual artists, spanning topics such as the relationship between painting and protest, as well as monographic exhibitions dedicated to Andy Warhol, Kara Walker and Pope.L. An area of focus is the combination of newly acquired recent works with classical works from the museum’s holdings. The exhibition aims to highlight how contemporary art – through its subject, its method of creation, or its philosophical reflection - establishes a mutually reinforcing conceptual relationship with our lived reality.
The exhibition shows works from the collection of contemporary artists by Jörg Johnen, parts of which the Berlin collector and former gallery owner is donating to the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau Munich. The collection consists of 64 works by 26 artists, including works by Maria Bartuszová, Katharina Fritsch, Prabhavathi Meppayil, Wiebke Siem, Mario García Torres and Jeff Wall.
"Fragment of an Infinite Discourse" is the title of an artwork by Mexican conceptual artist Mario García Torres. Three glass rings interlock without touching. The work is the prelude to the exhibition and illustrates its programme. It shows how subtly and at the same time indissolubly things are connected to each other and stimulates different associations, sensations and interpretations. Quite vividly, the rings as geometric elements indicate the infinite circular form. The title of the exhibition is therefore intended to represent the abundance of conceptual positions and at the same time open up the multiple possibilities of interpretations and perspectives.
On the occasion of Georg Baselitz's 85th birthday, the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München is presenting for the first time the complete set of proofs for Baselitz's artist's book "Malelade" from 1990. It is rarely possible to look over the shoulder of a graphic artist at work and witness the creation of a masterpiece that we usually only get to see once the artist has deemed it valid and released it from the studio.
The exhibition "Georg Baselitz -Malelade" now offers the first opportunity to study the genesis of this singular book project, which comprises 41 large-format drypoint etchings, step by step and in its entirety. Created before the print run, the proofs above all provide insights into the genesis and the creative process with its fleeting moments. This process, which varies from sheet to sheet, can range from the first concretion to distortions and corrections to the final findings.
Sarah Morris was born in Sevenoaks (UK) in 1967. She lives and works in London and New York City (USA). An internationally renowned painter and filmmaker, she was awarded the Joan Mitchell Fellowship in 2001 and won the 2020 the Aurelie Nemours Prize. In her oeuvre, she primarily explores capitalism as an economic and political system that produces structures. In parallel to her painting, Morris creates films that she sees as "visual manifestos". These refer to large cities and architecture.
At the same time, the films evoke historical, sociological and political references, providing an analysis of the "psychogeographical" lifeworld of our time. For the exhibition As Slow as Possibles at Espace Louis Vuitton, Morris is showing three video installations from the collection of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris: Capital (2000), Points on a Line (2010) and Strange Magic (2014), in which the artist plays with the ideas of spectacle, commodity and power.
For the first time in Germany, some of Damien Hirst's most iconic works are on show at MUCA in a major survey exhibition. The exhibition entitled “The Weight of Things“ shows more than 40 works from 40 years of the artist's career. The exhibition includes installations, sculptures and paintings, some of which have never been seen before, as well as some of Hirst's most iconic series including Natural History (Formaldehyde Sculptures), Spin Paintings, Medicine Cabinets, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, Cherry Blossoms as well as his Spot- and Butterfly Paintings.
“The Weight of Things“ features among other things marble and bronze sculptures and light boxes from the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable series, which was first exhibited at the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2017. These works are based on an invented legend about an ancient shipwreck and interweave fact and fiction. The Cherry Blossoms series reinterprets the traditional theme of landscape painting with playful irony. Hirst combines thick brushstrokes and elements of gestural painting, drawing on Impressionism and Pointillism as well as Action Painting.
Cracked smartphone displays, distorted images, colourful pixel structures. It is only at the moment of glitch that our attention is directed to the nature of the technical media that surround us every day, but without pushing themselves to the fore. As one of the youngest and most unpredictable art forms, glitch art specifically draws attention to the aesthetics of the erroneous. First used in the 1950s in the jargon of radio and television technicians, the term glitch [Yiddish gletshn - to slip, slide away] soon came to describe programming or graphic errors in the context of computer games.
The special exhibition "Glitch" will trace the "art of glitches" as a global phenomenon on 1,200 square metres of exhibition space at the Pinakothek der Moderne and will also shed light for the first time on the historical origins of the artistic movement of glitch art. The central idea of the exhibition is the recognition of the relevance of errors and disturbances as the basis for progress and, not least, creativity. A total of 50 international artists critically question the realism of the media with their works, create their own or previously unseen worlds or uncover normative orders and social inequalities. The use of disruptive elements serves them as a means of criticism that allows them to make the invisible visible.
Herlinde Koelbl is one of the great contemporary German photographers. She is interested in people and their optical transformation influenced by time and life circumstances. In an unmistakable way, this intention took shape in long-term studies of prominent politicians, scientists and business people.
Her latest group of works, however, lacks the shape and face of the human being. Instead, she focuses on the world of flourishing nature. However, in these colourful photographs of plants and blossoms, the photographer's gaze is also directed towards change, emergence, decay and becoming and thus towards life - and thus, in a metaphorical way, also towards human beings.
The exhibition is a contribution to the Flower Power Festival Munich 2023
One of Karl Valentin's favourite themes is always the Oktoberfest. In 1921, Karl Valentin made his Oktoberfest film together with Liesl Karlstadt. It depicts the atmosphere at the Oktoberfest in 1921 and contains the first ever film footage of the Schaustellergasse. Valentin playfully combined entertainment and documentation and created the infotainment format here, which only found its way into film as a genre much later. An installation in the courtyard of the Isartor tells the story of the film in its historical context. The individual episodes can be streamed as a film via QR codes.
Everyone knows them, many are beautiful, others rather inconspicuous and with over 380,000 species they are by far the most successful group of animals in terms of diversity. We are talking about beetles. But very few people have ever seen them as they are in this exhibition: Huge yet razor-sharp images make the animals with their shiny metallic carapaces and bizarre-looking head appendages look like creatures from another planet.
The macro photographs by Augsburg photographer Thomas Büchsemann were taken in cooperation with the Augsburg Museum of Nature. To get a feel for the size of the original beetles, each is juxtaposed with a specimen of the same species from the Munich State Zoological Collection.
Since the late 1970s, Abisag Tüllmann and Ruth Walz have used their photographs to capture, each in their own way, the groundbreaking productions - some of which are the same - that have shaped our idea of theatre to this day. From autumn 2023, one focus of the exhibition at the Deutsches Theatermuseum will be the intensive examination of works by the director and set designer Karl-Ernst Herrmann (1936-2018) and the costume designer Moidele Bickel (1937-2016) by the two photographers, who are friends of each other. This turns the "double exposure" into a "multiple exposure" between photography, stage and costume design full of unexpected views and insights into theatre and opera history.
The history of the Sh'erit ha-Pletah – Hebrew for “the surviving remnant,” as Jewish displaced persons (DPs) called themselves – forms a central theme in the collection at the Jewish Museum Munich. The history of Munich’s DPs, seen from a non-Jewish, local history perspective, however, has not yet been fully researched.
In two parallel exhibitions, held at the same time in the Jüdisches Museum Munich and the Münchner Stadtmuseum, the histories of the DP communities are to be placed in an interrelated context, and the experiences and fates of both Jewish and non-Jewish DPs in the immediate post-war period in Munich analyzed as a important point of reference in the history of immigration in Munich.
The area around Möhlstrasse in the Bogenhausen neighborhood, which was of immense importance to Jewish DPs after 1945 – with key institutions such as JOINT, the office of the Historical Commission and the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in Bavaria, grocery stores and kosher restaurants – is to be examined in detail. The setting up of businesses by Jewish DPs in Munich after 1945, antisemitism in the postwar period, the rededication of the Reichenbachstrasse Synagogue in 1947, and the “Exhibition of Jewish Artists” in 1948 at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus are also to be highlighted in the projected exhibition.
The exhibition at the NS-Dokumentationszentrum is devoted to the underground archive of the Warsaw Ghetto. In 1940, following the invasion of Poland by the German Wehrmacht, the German occupying forces cordoned off a large section of Warsaw and forced the Jewish population of the city and the surrounding villages and towns to move there. In order to document these events for the outside world and for posterity, the historian Emanuel Ringelblum initiated an unprecedented campaign to collect material in the ghetto—the collection today known as the Ringelblum Archive. This collective of academics, writers, and activists working secretly in the ghetto called themselves Oneg Shabbat (Joy of the Sabbath). The archive assembled by Oneg Shabbat is a unique and outstanding example of Jewish self-assertion during the Shoah and represents the first attempt to document the German-initiated mass murder of European Jews directly, as it was happening, and later to archive this documentation. As such it constitutes an act of civil resistance.
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. You can get a first glimpse of the departments after the renovation here.
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.
On 21 October 1923, the world's first public demonstration of a projection planetarium took place in Munich at the Deutsches Museum, which was still under construction at the time. The museum is celebrating the “100 years of the planetarium“ with a large special exhibition. In the entrance hall, exhibits such as a 16th century astrolabe, celestial globes and armillary spheres await visitors. Four large star projectors are also on display, including the original Model I from Zeiss.
Exhibitions of the MuSeenLandschaft Expressionismus, Museums in the Upper Bavarian Alpine foothills, January to December 2023
The extraordinarily attractive landscape of the Upper Bavarian Alpine foothills stretches between Munich and the Alps. In the early 20th century, the young Expressionists from Munich came here to capture nature in powerful colours and forms. Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner were here before they became members of the Dresden artists' community “Brücke“. The artists of the Blauer Reiter (Blue Rider) Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, Alexej von Jawlensky and Heinrich Campendonk had particularly close ties with the region.
In the “MuSeenLandschaft Expressionismus“, experiencing nature and enjoying art enter into a unique combination: The Buchheim Museum of Fantasy attracts people to Lake Starnberg with its world-famous Expressionists; in Kochel am See, the Franz Marc Museum offers exquisite art experiences around its namesake; at Staffelsee, the Murnau Castle Museum attracts visitors with the “Blue Rider“ and Gabriele Münter; near the Osterseen, the Penzberg Museum draws attention with Campendonk, and in Munich, the world's largest collection of works by the “Blue Rider“ can be seen in the Lenbachhaus. Under the annual theme “New Ways“, the participating museums invite visitors to experience and/or rediscover the museums and their surrounding landscape in 2023.