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
- Special exhibition at the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst (SMAEK)
- Exhibitions at the Deutsches Museum
- Exhibitions in the Munich environs
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.
Her magnificent, deceptively realistic floral still lifes with exotic plants and fruit, butterflies and insects already became sought-after and expensive collector's items during her lifetime. Demand was so great that the Amsterdam painter could afford to produce merely a few works a year. In general, she led an unusual life for a woman of her time. She was the daughter of the renowned professor of anatomy and botany, Frederik Ruysch, the first female member of the Confrérie Pictura guild of painters in The Hague, a court painter in Düsseldorf, lottery game winner and raised her eleven children at the same time. From November 2024 on the Alte Pinakothek will present the world's first major monographic exhibition of her work.
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.
On a joint journey through Ghana to Burkina Faso in 2005, the artists Ann-Christine Woehrl and Senam Okudzeto dealt with contemporary witch hunts. The special exhibition at the Museum Fünf Kontinente focuses on women who were accused of witchcraft. Envy and resentment, as well as the accusation of being responsible for diseases, deaths, droughts and other catastrophes, turned these women into ostracised outsiders.
Often in danger of death, they were exiled to so-called “witch camps“. These villages, of which there are eight in Ghana today, are located in very remote areas, far from the capital Accra. For this reason, few people in Ghana at the time were aware of their existence. Ann-Christine Woehrl shows these women in a haunting conceptual portrait series with all of their dignity and vulnerability – and with all of their pride.
The broader context of the “witch camps“ and the portraits is illustrated by Senam Okudzeto in a multimedia installation – consisting of photographs from Ann-Christine Woehrl's extended archive as well as her own photographs, drawings and paintings made especially for this exhibition.
The architects of Matri-Archi(tecture) bring their own and others' experiences of life in the diaspora to the Pinakothek der Moderne. They focus on the construction of belonging far from home and the question of identity. Matri-Archi(tecture) comprises a network of interdisciplinary spatial practitioners and is an association dedicated to the development of African spatial education.
The exhibition is divided into three parts: An expansive curtain of beads stretches from the dome to the ground floor of the rotunda, creating an atmosphere that is both transparent and intimate. The installation is complemented by a soundscape based on a series of voices from the diaspora, exploring ideas of living and home. Matri-Archi(tecture) opens and expands “Homeplace“ with an Imbizo (Zulu: gathering) that activates the installation during the vernissage.
The exhibition "Mute", created for Haus der Kunst, comprises choreography, architectural intervention, sound and video and represents the largest solo exhibition by artist and composer Pan Daijing to date. In a world of increasing interdependence and entanglement, Daijing's work asks what connects us and invites the audience to engage with their feelings. The live exhibition occupies the entire West Gallery of Haus der Kunst as well as neighbouring rooms in and around the building. Performers will be present on weekdays from 3pm to 7pm and on weekends between 1pm and 5pm to activate the space.
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).
An ensemble of life-size soldier sculptures with mechanically whirring movements dances ballet to Tchaikovsky's “Swan Lake“ in front of a huge window front, next to which hangs a large-format canvas on which an oversized inflatable boat in the shape of a swan, overcrowded with people, is drifting along on the high seas – at second glance it becomes clear that these are refugees, some of whom are already swimming in the water.
Since 2016, the Valencia-born artist ESCIF – who is internationally one of the most important players in the street art movement – has realised several large-scale murals in the centre of Munich at the invitation of the Positive-Propaganda art association. Now the art association has succeeded in winning the Spanish street artist for another large-scale project in Munich, and to realise with him his first solo exhibition in Germany to date at the AMUSEUM of Contemporary Art.
With over 120 works, Museum Brandhorst owns the largest Warhol collection outside the USA and a considerable number of works by Keith Haring. With “Andy Warhol & Keith Haring. Party of Life“, the museum is presenting the world's first comprehensive institutional exhibition dedicated to both artists. It shows over 120 works from their oeuvre, including collaborations between the two as well as works created in exchange with other artists, performers, authors or music and fashion icons of the 1980s. A time characterised by MTV, discos, voguing, hip-hop, new wave and graffiti. In addition to key works, “Party of Life“ also focuses on film and photo recordings, archive material and posters, records and everyday objects designed by the artists.
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.
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.
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. (The picture for the exhibition is the cover picture of the whole article “Lust auf Kunst“)
In the first retrospective in the German-speaking world, Kunsthalle München is showing around 100 creations by the artist duo Viktor&Rolf from 23 February to 6 October 2024. The self-confessed outsiders of the fashion world have made a name for themselves with their unconventional approach to design, their technical perfection and their extensive knowledge of fashion and art history. Their creations have been worn by artists such as Madonna, Tilda Swinton, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Doja Cat and Cardi B, as well as staged in ballet productions and an opera directed by Robert Wilson.
The exhibition is divided into nine chapters that take up central themes in Viktor&Rolf's work and shows pieces from the designers' own archive as well as from private collections. A selection of handmade porcelain dolls by the two artists will also be on display, as well as animated projections by the multiple Oscar-winning visual effects studio Rodeo FX.
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 art 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.
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.
Orhan Pamuk (born 1952 in Istanbul) – the first Turkish writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature – presents his multifaceted, creative work as an author, photographer, illustrator, curator, museum founder and important political voice of our time at the Lenbachhaus. The exhibition is based on the novel “The Museum of Innocence“, published in 2008, in which Pamuk tells the story of Kemal, a rich middle-class man who, after the tragic end of his love affair with his poor cousin Füsun, collects everyday objects that remind him of his beloved.
Pamuk actually opened a very real museum in Istanbul in 2012 under the name “Museum of Innocence“, which displays finds and artefacts from this fictional love affair. The objects also reflect daily life in Istanbul between the 1950s and the 2000s – and therefore also current affairs, gender roles and contemporary cinema. On display in Munich's Lenbachhaus are 41 cabinets from Pamuk's Istanbul “Museum of Innocence“, which the artist has recreated for this travelling exhibition.
New works have also been created especially for the exhibition, in which the Nobel Prize winner engages with the Lenbachhaus collection and artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Alfred Kubin.
In common parlance, an eccentric attitude is considered to be extravagant and decadent. But eccentricity is much more. Because it refuses any ideology – for the freedom of democracy. This is the basic idea behind the first exhibition on the potential of eccentricity as an aesthetic of freedom. The focus is on art from 1980 onwards, but fashion, design, film and architecture are also included in an exemplary way. Eccentric celebrates the diversity and complexity of the great themes of nature, beauty, intimacy and humanism.
The exhibition features paintings, sculptures, installations and video works by John Bock, Maurizio Cattelan, Marguerite Humeau, Jonathan Meese, Pipilotti Rist, Anna Uddenberg and many other international artists.
For the first time, the exhibition offers the public an insight into an internationally important photo collection that has grown over four decades. The generous donation of the Eva Felten photo collection adds 429 works by more than 140 artists from the 1930s to the immediate present to the Brandhorst Museum's holdings. The donation marks a historic moment in the history of the museum, whose collection it not only decisively enlarges, but also enriches with the medium of photography by a central practice of 20th and 21st century art. At the same time, it closes a gap in the Museum Brandhorst, which has grown into one of the most important museums for contemporary art in Germany since its opening in 2009.
“This Is Me, This Is You“ brings together renowned positions in the history of photography from Robert Frank, Evelyn Hofer, Gordon Parks to Isaac Julien, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, Zoe Leonard, Arthur Jafa and LaToya Ruby Frazier.
During the Nazi era, Jews were excluded and disenfranchised by countless laws. In 1939, a decree was issued that forced them to hand over jewellery and valuable household goods. Olga Maier from Munich also had to part with a pair of silver candlesticks. From birth, Olga Maier had lived in the Bavarian capital and maintained a close relationship with her siblings, nieces, and nephews. Due to the Nazi regime the family was separated from each other. Some relatives fled abroad, Olga herself was unable to do so. She was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1942 and later murdered in the Treblinka concentration camp.
After the Bavarian National Museum acquired the candlesticks for its collection in 1939, their history as well as Olga Maier's life remained obscure for a long time. It was not until 2022 that the pair of candlesticks was restituted to the community of heirs. In order to preserve the memory of Olga Maier, her descendants donated the candlesticks to the Jewish Museum Munich. The exhibition in the Study Area tells the story of Olga Maier and her family, which is now scattered all over the world. At the same time, the pair of candlesticks exemplifies the systematic robbery and persecution of Jews during the Nazi era.
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.
Using local, regional and international examples, the ongoing right-wing terrorist threat from the past to the present is made visible and historically located - including the Oktoberfest attack of 26 September 1980 and the attack at the Munich Olympic shopping centre on 22 July 2016. It becomes clear that right-wing terrorism is not a temporary and local phenomenon of the present, but a constant companion of German and international history. The consequences of right-wing terrorist violence for those affected by it also become clear - mourning for the dead and injured, trauma and the painful struggle to recognise what has been suffered.
Operation Finale. The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann, Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, 24 November 2023 to 30 April 2024
The exhibition shows how the Israeli secret service Mossad and the Hessian Attorney General Fritz Bauer tracked down Adolf Eichmann, one of the most notorious perpetrators of the Holocaust, in Argentina in 1960, how his abduction to Israel was carried out and how he was finally tried. It was the first major trial in which victims of the Holocaust testified to the world public about the crimes of the Nazis. The exhibition “Operation Finale“ originates from Israel and the USA and is brought to Germany for the first time by the Adolf Rosenberger GmbH and the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst (State Museum of Egyptian Art). It is a multimedia exhibition with short films, photographs and exhibits that transport visitors directly back to the scene of the trial in the early 1960s.
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.
Exhibitions of the MuSeenLandschaft Expressionismus, Museums in the Upper Bavarian Alpine foothills
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 Starnberger See (lake) 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 theme of the year: “Strong women – artists, muses, makers“, the participating museums invite you to experience and/or rediscover the museums and the surrounding landscape in 2024.