Past exhibitions

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For logistical and conservatorial reasons, it is unfortunately not possible to extend the exhibition beyond 26 April. We ask for your understanding and thank all Beethoven fans for their keen interest.
Enjoy our digital 360 ° tour!

17 December 2019 to 26 April 2020

In cooperation with the Beethoven Haus Bonn, the Bundeskunsthalle marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 2020 with a major exhibition.
The interdisciplinary exhibition traces the key events and phases of Beethoven’s life and correlates them with his singular musical oeuvre. The central narrative is underpinned by a series of select special focus sections – for example ‘Beethoven as a Patient’, ‘Networks’ or ‘Business Strategies’ – each of which relates to key works. The exhibition presents unique original objects and iconic portraits to shed light on the composer’s personality and scrutinise the many clichés and myths that have grown around him over the course of the last 200 years. Period instruments and audio stations invite visitors to immerse themselves in Beethoven’s captivating musical cosmos. Further to his creative practice, the exhibition explores the cultural and historical context of the composer’s life and work.

An exhibition of the Bundeskunsthalle in cooperation with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn.

Martin Kippenberger
A Retrospective

1 November 2019 to 16 February 2020

Hugely versatile and complex, Martin Kippenberger was one of the most important German artists and helped shape the face of the 1980s and 90s. His position in the history of contemporary art was recognised and celebrated during his lifetime, and his legacy as a teacher and role model for generations of artists continues to be of national and international importance. Kippenberger’s creative practice was characterised by a feigned carefree dilettantism – a strategy he used with great deliberation. The polymorph complexity of his work, his knowing, unconventional, witty and often self-deprecating way of playing with form and content and his questioning of meaning or established concepts also place him in the Dada tradition. His work is based on a profound knowledge of the history of art and the close observation of everyday life. The exhibition will present paintings, drawings, posters, multiples, sculpture as well as expansive installations.

California Dreams
San Francisco – a Portrait

12 September 2019 to 12 January 2020

As places of longing, California and San Francisco in particular have always stood for the dreams of a "better life": dreams of prosperity and abundance, of other (at times utopian) social orders, innovative life styles, creative artistic perspectives, and new technological horizons. Both the Asian-Pacific region in the west and Europe in the east have had a lasting impact on San Francisco.
Time and again, global impulses have emerged from San Francisco: from the gold rush of the 19th century to the great social and political movements of the 20th century. Today, Silicon Valley is another global center of attraction in the San Francisco Bay area.
With artworks and historical objects from numerous Californian and European lenders the exhibition draws a many-faceted portrait of the city of San Francisco over four centuries. It touches upon important global issues of our time, especially those of migration and displacement. The exhibition celebrates San Francisco as a place whose pluralistic identity is constantly being renegotiated to this day.

Federal Prize for Art Students

24th Federal Competition of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
18 October 2019 to 5 January 2020

Every two years, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research holds the competition Federal Prize for Art Students. The competition is open to students enrolled at the 24 art academies in Germany. Every academy nominates two of their most promising students.
An independent jury selects five to eight winners. The prizes include an exhibition with catalogue at the Bundeskunsthalle, cash prizes and studio grants.
The competition Federal Prize for Art Students is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and organised by the German National Association for Student Affairs. It chief aim is to support young artists, to give them an opportunity to exhibit their work and to make the transition from the academy to the professional world.
This year’s design of the poster, catalogue and website lies in the hands of the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg.

From Mosul to Palmyra
A Virtual Journey
through the World’s Cultural Heritage

30 August to 3 November 2019

Mosul, Aleppo, Palmyra, Leptis Magna – the names of these cities resonate  as symbols of the fabled cultural heritage of ancient civilisations, but also  as symbols of the wanton destruction of their vestiges by fanaticism and war. The exhibition employs state-of-the-art virtual reconstructions and spectacular animations to bring these legendary ruined cities of the ancient Arab world back to life. It invites visitors to embark on a journey through time and space into their glorious history, to witness their destruction in the recent past and to contemplate the possibility of their future reconstruction.
The itinerary takes visitors from Mosul (Iraq), the ancient city of Nineveh, via Aleppo (Syria), where successive Muslim empires from the Umayyads to the Ottomans left behind an extraordinary architectural treasure, to Leptis Magna (Libya), founded by the Phoenicians and once known as the ‘African Rome’, and, finally, to Palmyra (Syria), the legendary Graeco-Roman ‘pearl of the Orient’.
With this exhibition, the Bundeskunsthalle wants to underscore the importance of preserving this universal heritage of all humanity. ‘An exhibition that will make history. [...] Heartbreakingly beautiful.’ (Die Welt)

In cooperation with the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA), Paris

Transformation of the World

17 May to 15 September 2019

Johann Wolfgang Goethe is Germany’s most famous poet and writer. His works have been translated into every major language, and characters like Faust and Werther found their way into every genre of art. Like no other artist of his time, Goethe reflected the dramatic changes that sent shockwaves through the very foundations of Europe around 1800. He was not only an attentive observer of the dawn of modernity, but also an immensely versatile artist who continues to inspire writers, painters and sculptors as well as composers, photographers and film directors.
The first major Goethe exhibition in 25 years sheds light on his life, the dawn of our modern world and on the history of the reception of his singular work. Theatre, film and music will play an important role alongside paintings, sculptures and photography.

An exhibition of the Bundeskunsthalle and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar in cooperation with the Freies Deutsches Hochstift, Frankfurt/Main, the Goethe Museum Düsseldorf and the Museum Casa di Goethe, Rome, under the patronage of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Goethe's Gardens
Green worlds on the roof of the Bundeskunsthalle

13 April to 22 September 2019

The garden on the rooftop of the Bundeskunsthalle beckons visitors to feast their eyes and minds. In 1776, when Goethe moved into his first Weimar home not far from the river Ilm, he was particularly interested in the extensive garden and immediately set about its redesign. In addition to a kitchen garden, he created a small landscape garden in the English style with winding paths and shady spots to rest and read. He kept numerous flowerbeds for his botanical experiments that led him to develop his own theory on the metamorphosis of plants. When he moved into the house on the Frauenplan in central Weimar, he once again devoted a great deal of attention to the garden and devoted a pavilion to his collection of minerals, rocks and fossils from all over the world.
The Bundeskunsthalle roof garden will pick up on all these aspects. Because it will change with seasons, visitors are advised to return from time to time.

Power Play
Anna Uddenberg

5 April to 22 September 2019

Anna Uddenberg explores social conventions, norms and rhetorics. She challenges ingrained ways of thinking and seeing as well as our mental and physical mobility. With her sculptures and installations, she reflects our everyday life and investigates how new technologies, especially social media, affect our consumer culture. She analyses social and cultural systems and scrutinises the role and the cliché-driven role models of women. Her hybrid sculptures – pieces of ‘seating furniture’ and unrealistic ‘ideal types’ – testify to the artist’s interest in space (for the critical analysis of social conditions and utopias) and forms of representation.
Uddenberg’s exaggeration of the female body and her method of constructing it as a synthesis of ready mades and handmade objects hold up a mirror to modern society. Her visually irritating and often surprising works challenge us to question the norms and values of our time.

Michael Jackson: On the Wall

22 March to 14 July 2019

Michael Jackson is one of the most influential cultural figures to come out of the 20th century and his legacy continues into the 21st century. His significance is widely acknowledged when it comes to music, music videos, dance, choreography and fashion, but his considerable influence on contemporary art is an untold story. Since Andy Warhol first used his image in 1982, Jackson has become the most depicted cultural figure in visual art by an extraordinary array of leading contemporary artists.
This landmark exhibition explores the influence of Michael Jackson on some of the leading names in contemporary art, spanning several generations of artists across all media. For the first time, Michael Jackson: On the Wall will bring together the works of over forty of these artists, drawn from public and private collections around the world, including new works made especially for the exhibition.

The exhibition was developed by the National Portrait Gallery, London, and organised with the Bundeskunsthalle. Michael Jackson. On the Wall is produced with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson Estate.