Monday, June 6, 2011

Museum Brandhorst, Munich

Munich is a big city with a lot of fantastic museums and art collections, but nevertheless I always felt a bit "homeless" in my own town.
I remember how excited I was when the
Pinakothek der Moderne opened, but the curartors and me .... we are simply not souls thinking alike. That means not much concerning the quality of the collection or the architecture of the building. It's just not my cup of tea and being a spoiled MoMa vsiting kid I do not go often to the Pinakothek and save my museum time for places I like better.

But inbetween I found my "home" and here it is:

Museum Brandhorst, Munich

Let's start with the architecture because the building is absolutely beautiful. It was designed by the Berlin based architects SauerbruchHutton and is one of these buildings where design meets functionality and ecology.
PS: Click on the images for larger versions of the photos.
The fassades are made of several different layers to regulate the climate inside, shut the street noise out and reduce the energy needed to maintain the building.
Ceramic elements in 23 different colors are responsible for the beautiful and unique look of the building.

I personally love the light inside the museum, the silence and the indoor climate. I was there at one of the first really hot days this year and inside it was cool but not chilly and the air fresh and nice - the complete opposite of the hot, humid stickiness at New York's Whitney Museum.

The museum has several floors to explore and the hall- and stairways are active parts of the exhibition areas. The openenings from one room to another allow - horizontally as well as vertically - views into different rooms and on different types of artwork.

One of my favorite places was the quiet room, where you can sit down, take a break, look into the museum catalogue, read and enjoy the view over the gardens and roofs of the museum's quarter.

But now let's talk about art!

The museum presents parts of Anette and Udo Brandhorst's over 700 pieces holding private art collection (a DREAM isn't it?). The couple concentraded mainly on modern art from the 2nd half of the 20th century and contemporary art.  The collection includes works by a breathtaking number of big names like Joseph Beuys, Mario Merz, Jannis Kounellis, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, Bruce Nauman, Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat und Mike Kelley.

With artist Cy Twomblys the Brandhorst family is already for several decades closely connected in a creative friendship and over 60 of his artworks are part of the Brandhorst collection.

Twombly (born 1928) is considered to be with Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns the most important artist from the generation following the Abstract Expressionism (without being purely Pop Art).

He himself gave input to the architects how he would like to have the room designed for his monumental Lepanto Cyle referrring to a naval battle in 1571 between the Ottoman and Holy League forces.

Sad enough even my new camera does not have the right equipment (and I have not yet enough knowledge about photography) to really show the room completely and nicely, but I tried.

Cy Twombly - Lepanto


Cy Twombly - Roses

Anette and Udo Brandhorst have a special love for projects which combine art & poetry like this room full of roses by Cy Twombly. Every rose includes a quote from a poem.

These red/orange/pink roses were my favorite ones - visually

And these blue roses I like most for the quote by Ingeborg Bachmann (and it actually sounds beautiful in English):

In the Storm of Roses
Wherever we turn in the Storm

of Roses
The night is lit up by Thorns
and thunder
rumbling at our heels

But of course the collection has much more to offer than the fantastic works of Cy Twombly. Out of the many others I liked I chose some to show you here. For more you need to come to Munich (if you do not live here) and visit the museum. I promise - it's worth the trip.

John Chamberlain - Piece Pockets

This was the very first time I fully used the full (12) optical zoom of my new camera because this one hangs high up the wall in the hallway.

Sigmar Polke - Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Alex Katz - West Palm Beach

Andy Warhol - Still-Life (Hammer and Sickl)

Damien Hirst

This one is my personal highlight. If you look from distance it looks all shiny, colorful, pretty and positive.

But if you come close you see it is all pills accompanied by this statement:

In this terrible moment we are all victims clinging helplessly to an enviroment that refuses to acknowledge the soul


  1. Wow! THis Damien Hirst artwork is - so true! I have to come back to Munich and see it in "real life" which, according to Hirst, it isn´t at all.
    And of course I´d like to see the others too... plus, the museum really seems a beautiful work of architectural art in itself. A piece for the mind - to work and rest at the same time.

    Great pics you made there, so don´t worry. The imperfection seems perfect ;-). Thanks for showing us around!

  2. I love your article about this museum, it's one of my favourites, too. (I'm also from Munich, that's why my English isn't very good)
    And even though I'm not really a fan of Cy Twomblys work, I was impressed by Lepanto. I'm in a project called "pi.lot-Projekt", where pupils can work as a museum guide once a month and tell the visitors something about their favourite picture. I choose "West Palm Beach" by Alex Katz, I absolutely love this picture.
    Good work