Preview of the year 2021

Düsseldorf When museums all over Germany celebrate the 100th birthday of Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) in 2021, the image of the indefatigable preacher suddenly emerges, explaining his ideas of a “social sculpture” with fanaticism bordering on urgency. But it has long been clear that this polarizing personality, who handled felt and margarine as naturally as Picasso handled a brush, was one of the most powerful innovators in art in the 20th century.

In principle, Beuys embodied the figure of a pedagogue on a political mission. Both admired and rejected, he propagated a completely new conception of art as a social and political force. He was inspired by an enormous creative will and made use of all media; from drawings in which he researched the world, to the action even to the singing.

It might seem strange when he pressed the fat into the hollow of his knee as in the “Hauptstrom” campaign in 1967, when he stepped into a zinc tub with water and sulfur as in “Celtic + ~~~”, 1971 or a dead hare , the face covered in honey and gold leaf, the pictures explained. What remained are photos, films and a phalanx of relics and artifacts that are reminiscent of this missionary-inspired era.

For Beuys, thinking embodied a plastic phenomenon which, according to his ideas, was fed by spiritual warmth. It was Wilhelm Lehmbruck, of all people, who provided the initial spark. His sentence about sculpture as “the essence of things, the essence of nature, that which is eternally human”, ultimately led Beuys to his concept of “social sculpture”.

20 museums and institutions honor in Beuys “Born in North Rhine-Westphalia the complex work and charisma of the artist. Among them the two from Duisburg Lehmbruck Museum and the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn jointly developed exhibitions on his concept of sculpture (from June 25th and 26th).

Exhibitions in Düsseldorf and Bonn deal with the artist’s effect on younger generations of artists. The Art collection of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf puts the emphasis on Beuys “cross-cultural influence (from March 27th) during the Art Museum Bonn the multiple collection provides the starting point (from 8 July). The From the Heydt Museum in Wuppertal commemorates the “24 hour happening” from 1965 in the Parnass Gallery (from September 21st) with photographs by Ute Klophaus.

But not only museums in North Rhine-Westphalia feel addressed. The State Museums of Berlin put language at the center of an exhibition in the Hamburger Bahnhof and can draw on their own rich collections (from April 24th). In the State Gallery of StuttgartBeuys, as a sensitive “spatial curator”, will be the topic (from March 26th). And the State Museum Darmstadt shows for the first time the complete series of drawings in which Beuys deals with the century work “Ulysses” by James Joyce (from May 13th).
www.beuys2021.de for the North Rhine-Westphalian exhibitions
“From the language. Joseph Beuys on the 100th birthday ”, National Gallery, State Museums in Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof, April 24 to August 8
“Joseph Beuys. Der Raumkurator ”, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, March 26th to July 18th
“Joseph Beuys. Ulysses ”, State Museum Darmstadt, May 13th to August 1st

Johannes Vermeer: ​​The God of Love painted over

Johannes Vermeer

The painting “Girl reading a letter at an open window” from approx. 1659 during the restoration on January 16, 2020. The picture of the God of Love on the wall has not yet been fully exposed (detail).

(Photo: SKD, Photo: Wolfgang Kreische)

For a Baroque artist, Jan Vermeer’s “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” has always seemed incredibly modern. The portrait of the young woman standing in front of a bare, light wall at the open window appears almost monumental. The curtain is pulled aside. There’s a bowl of apples and peaches on the table. Does the scene have an amorous background? As early as 1979 the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden found out that under the bare wall there was a picture in the picture of the God of Love. It was later painted over. After long restoration work, it has now become clear that Vermeer did not eliminate Cupid. The exhibition in the Semperbau will show that the view of this world-famous work is also changing. Nine other paintings by Vermeer’s (1632-1675) will be on view, as well as up to 50 works by contemporaries of the artist with whom he was in close contact.
“Vermeer. From pausing ”, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, March 19 to June 27

North and South Korean art from the Sigg Collection: Art from a divided country

Lee Sea Hyun “Between, Red33”

The imposing, four-meter-wide oil painting from the Sigg collection piques the curiosity of the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bern.

(Foto: Lee Sea Hyun)

When it comes to collecting Chinese contemporary art, no one – even in China – can ignore Uli Sigg. In 2012, the Swiss entrepreneur handed over large parts of what he had compiled with encyclopedic ambition over more than four decades to the newly founded M + Museum for visual culture in Hong Kong.

Now is in Art Museum Bern to see that Sigg, with his inimitable passion, also devoted himself to Korean contemporary art. He did not limit himself to the comparatively easily accessible art in South Korea, which is at home in all media and reflects the different realities of life in the country. He also acquired works from North Korea, which has been strictly isolated since 1953, where the artists continue to work in the tradition of socialist realism.

Works were selected for the exhibition that tell something about the history, worldviews and art stories of Koreans in the separated parts of the country since the 1970s.

“Border Crossing – North and South Korean Art from the Sigg Collection”, Kunstmuseum Bern, April 30 to September 5

Claudia Schiffer: The glamor of supermodels

Ellen von Unwerth: Claudia Schiffer, Guess Campaign, 1990

The furious portrait can be seen in the exhibition “Captivate. Fashion Photography of the 90s – Curated by Claudia Schiffer” at the Kunstpalast Düsseldorf.

(Photo: Ellen von Unwerth)

Museums usually develop their own exhibitions or hire designated curators to do so. Sometimes they also hire an outside personality. As the Art palace entrusted fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh with the design of his own retrospective in Düsseldorf, one could only guess how successful this exhibition would be. Now a sequel is announced.

This time it’s on a journey through time through the fashion world of the 1990s, curated by Claudia Schiffer. Germany’s most successful model is resurrecting a golden era. Back then, the star models ruled the covers of glossy magazines.

“For the first time we realized that we had the strength to change something,” remembers Schiffer, who was discovered at the age of 17 in a club on Düsseldorf’s Königsallee. Since the now 50-year-old has searched through her own archive, not only well-known photos by important fashion photographers will be on display. Visitors can also look behind the scenes.

Captivate. Fashion photography of the 90s Curated by Claudia Schiffer “, Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, postponed to the end of August, beginning of September

Richard Mosse: Nightmares in Infrared

Richard Mosse “Lost Fun Zone”

The color photo taken in 2012 belongs to the “Infra” series. The Irish photographer’s working method can be studied in the Bremen Kunsthalle.

(Photo: VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020; Jack Shainman Gallery; carlier | gebauer)

During the Second World War, infrared film was used so that reconnaissance planes could detect hidden positions. The same material is used today by Irish photographer and filmmaker Richard Mosse to open eyes to things that are normally hidden from civil societies around the world.

In the bloody civil war of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he accompanied war lords, rebels and refugees and documented the land grabbing of international corporations. During the European refugee crisis, he tried to capture the lives of stranded people and people on the run with the help of a giant thermal imaging camera. In the rainforest he reveals the survival tricks of plants.

At first glance, Mosse works like a reportage photographer. But what comes out of it, when printed in large format, turns into something nightmarish. The decades-old infrared film produces landscapes colored in psychedelic pink, the thermal imaging camera unreal scenes in hallucinatory black and white.
“Richard Mosse”, Bremen art gallery, May 22nd to October 19th

Francis Bacon: The Wounded Creature

Francis Bacon “Study for Bullfight No. 1”

The Royal Academy focuses on the creature in Bacon.

(Foto: The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2020. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020)

In view of the extinction of species, it is certainly no coincidence that animals are increasingly being discovered as a topic in art museums. in the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl preparations are under way for the big autumn show “Surreal Beasts” and in the Opel villas in Rüsselsheim the second part of the exhibition “Art for Animals. A change of perspective for people ”.

As early as the end of January, London will Royal Academy open a solo exhibition that explores the importance of animals in the work of Francis Bacon (1909-1992). No other painter has created such powerful and drastic pictures of the wounded creature. This British artist couldn’t go into a butcher’s shop without being surprised that he wasn’t hanging there instead of the animal. “After all, we are meat ourselves, potential carcasses,” he said in one of the famous conversations with David Sylvester.

Many of Bacon’s human figures take on animal form or evoke memories of animals. So also his most famous motif, the screaming Pope, trapped in his cage like a predator.

„Francis Bacon. Man and Beast“, Royal Academy, London, 30. Januar bis 18. April
“Resumption: Art for Animals. A change of perspective for people ”, Opelvillen Rüsselsheim, August 22 to January 16, 2022
“Surreal Beasts”, Max Ernst Museum, Brühl, autumn 2021

More: Review of the art market 2020: auction houses are the winners in the crisis

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