Museum Brandhorst: 36,000 ceramic rods and a very special art collection

2006-1667-08-08-01- 0048

The striking building designed by Berlin architecture firm Sauerbruch Hutton stands out because of its facade clad with 36,000 ceramic rods in 23 different colours. It has become a real attention getter in the dynamic Maxvorstadt shaped by museums, universities and galleries.


Museum Brandhorst on Theresienstraße in Munich was opened in the art gallery neighbourhood in 2009 and complements the Munich Kunstareal with an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. The Pinakothek der Moderne and Museum Brandhorst facilitate a lively debate with diverse artistic positions from the 20th and 21st centuries.


Anette (†1999) and Udo Brandhorst have collected more than 1000 works by seminal artists of the 20th and 21st centuries since the seventies consisting primarily of paintings, drawings and sculptures. As of late, photographs, media works and installations were added. While initially the classic artists of avant-garde (Kasimir Malewitsch, Kurt Schwitters, Pablo Picasso) and post-war European modernism (Joseph Beuys, Palermo, Sigmar Polke, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz) were in the forefront, their interest over the years lay more and more in art from the United States: John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman, Richard Tuttle and Walter De Maria, among others, are represented by important works.


With well over 100 works by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), the portfolio of the most famous Pop Art artist bears little comparison to any other European collection. The exhibition „Reading Andy Warhol“ just came to an end. More than 50,000 visitors viewed the world’s first presentation of Warhol’s book production. That Warhol had a very intimate relationship with books is still a little known fact among many connoisseurs. For the first time, the exhibition showed that Warhol worked on books on a consistently creative basis since his student days in the forties until his death in 1987.
Unique describes the more than 170 works – paintings, sculptures and drawings – by American artist Cy Twombly (1928-2011). Twombly characterises the Brandhorst Collection like no other artist. For his monumental work „Lepanto“ (2001) which consists of twelve paintings, a central hall of the museum has been permanently designated whose design suits the wishes of the artist. Twombly died in Rome in 2011.


The fact that contemporary art is increasingly becoming the focus of collector interest is proven by the exhibition of works by Damien Hirst. The spectacular „Pill Cabinets“* is currently being disassembled on the downstairs level with the take down of 28,000 pills. The work will be on display at a later date elsewhere in the museum. The impetus behind this change is the set up for a major exhibition beginning 19 July featuring works by American photographer Richard Avedor.


While the Pinakothek der Moderne showcases an overview of the development of 20th and 21st century art, individual artists take centre stage at Museum Brandhorst. From an urban planning perspective, the museum in the north-east of Munich defers to the Kunstareal and partially incorporates historically informed conditions in its design of the development plan for the second phase of the Pinakothek der Moderne. On one hand, the new Sauerbruch Hutton structure imitates the wing layout of the former Türkenkaserne. On the other, the front at the corner of Türken- and Theresienstrasse responds to the residential complex by Sep Ruf from the 1950s in its volume and pronounced ease as well as its filigree structure. The main facade, the museum entrance and the foyer including a restaurant/café and museum shop are located on Theresienstraße; the building faces the lively Maxvorstadt, the university and Schwabing as well as the Kunstakademie. Brandhorst Museum is open daily except Mondays from 10 -18 o’clock and until 20 o’clock on Thursdays. The price of admission is seven euros for adults. On Sundays, Museum Brandhorst may be visited for just one euro. Children and youth up to 18 years of age receive free admission. The audio guide in German, English and Italian costs three euros and is highly recommended.

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