Lutz Bacher, Hair, 2010

Lutz Bacher –
What's Love Got to Do With It

07 September, 2018 – 06  January, 2019
K21 Ständehaus (Bel Etage)

Opening: 06 September, 7 p.m.

The US-American artist Lutz Bacher – who has concealed her identity beneath a masculine pseudonym throughout her career – works conceptually in a range of media. A longtime resident of California who now lives in New York, the artist has based her work since the 1970s on found objects and image  material from popular culture. Advertising photographs, excerpts from pornographic magazines, and unedited cell phone videos are incorporated into her works along with discarded objects from the world of consumerism. Through rearrangement, distortion, and estrangement, Bacher destabilizes the appearance and mode of expression of her materials, generating ruptures and making new  constellations possible. Central to her artistic production are the medialization of everyday life,  questions of identity, as well as a confrontation with power, violence, and sexuality. In her first solo  museum exhibition in Germany, Bacher combines sculpture, video, and sound to form a large-scale installation.


Photo: Katja Illner

K21 Re-Opening

06 September, 2018
K21 Ständehaus

Following a period of closure in summertime, the K21 will reopen on September 6 as the totally modernized Museum of Contemporary Art of the Kunst­sammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. The presentation of the collection on the 2nd and 3rd upper stories will feature the art of the late 1980s (Marina Abramović, Paul McCarthy, Robert Gober, Maria Lassnig, Manfred Pernice, Rosemarie Trockel, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Schütte, Wael Shawky, Ana Torfs, among many others). After comprehensive restoration, Reinhard Mucha's key work Das Deutschlandgerät (The Germany Device) will be on view again, while found in the bel etage will be an exhibition devoted to the mysterious US-American artist Lutz Bacher. The 1st upper story will become an accessible space for immersion and exchange. Installed here on a permanent basis, for example, is the Dorothee and Konrad Fischer Archive.


Cao Fei, Haze and Fog, 2013, Courtesy the artist and Vitamin Creative Space

Cao Fei

06 October, 2018 – 13 January, 2019
K21 Ständehaus

The K21 is presenting the first comprehensive exhibition in Germany devoted to the Beijing-based artist Cao Fei. The featured videos, photographs, and multimedia installations by this pioneer of the post-internet-generation are representative of her artistic oeuvre as a whole. Oscillating between reality and fiction, her art reflects upon China's societal and urban situation, characterized today by continual and massive change. Cao Fei (*1978) draws upon her local and personal milieu in Beijing, at the same time integrating traditional Chinese rituals into her work. She exploits the latest digital media for projects that alternate visually between the aesthetic realms of documentary, feature film, and virtual reality.

In cooperation with MoMA PS1, New York, and the Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf/Berlin.



Exhibition poster "Paul Klee" at the Israel Museum Jerusalem, 1966, photo: Achim Kukulies

museum global
Paul Klee. A Collection Travelling Around the World

13 October, 2018 — 10 March, 2019
K20 Grabbeplatz 

In 1960, the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia acquired 88 paintings, watercolors, and drawings by Paul Klee. This purchase represented an act of atonement (Wiedergutmachung) toward an artist who had been dismissed from his professorship at the Düsseldorf Art Academy by the National Socialists in 1933. This ensemble of works, which forms the foundation of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, founded in 1961, is now the point of departure for a reexamination of its permanent collection: from 1966 until 1985, the Klee pictures travelled the world, and were seen in Jerusalem in 1966, in Prague in 1969, in Rio de Janeiro in 1972, and in New Delhi in 1979, among others. In the context of this tour, the “universal genius” Klee and his works were explicitly designated as message and messengers of the still young Federal Republic of Germany, as strikingly documented through previously unknown archival materials, along with documents from some of the host institutions. The presentation Paul Klee: A Collection Travelling Around the World is serving as a prologue to the wide-ranging exhibition project museum global, which opens on November 10, 2018.  


Lasar Segall, Encontro, ca. 1924, Acervo Museu Lasar Segall – IBRAM/MinC, © Museu Lasar Segall

museum global.
Microhistories of an Ex-centric Modernism

10 November, 2018 – 10 March, 2019
K20 Grabbeplatz

With a point of departure in a critical engagement with our own collection, museum global – a research and exhibition project of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen – focuses on selected instances of a transcultural modernism that is situated beyond the Western canon.

With microhistories from Japan, Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Lebanon, or Nigeria (1910 to 1960), the museum interrogates not just a Eurocentric version of art history, but our own perspectives as well. Via a lively forum, the museum is opening itself up toward urban society and initiating a discussion involving diverse communities, art, scholarship, and research.


Schmela Haus

Schmela Haus, photo: Achim Kukulies

Alfred Schmela: A Centenary Exhibition

24 November, 2018 – 20 January, 2019
Schmela Haus

On November 23, 2018, the famous Düsseldorf galerist Alfred Schmela would have celebrated his 100th birthday. To mark the occasion, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen is organizing an exhibition that illustrates the widely ramified network of this pioneer of the art scene in the Rhineland. The setting for the exhibition, assembled by Schmela's granddaughter, the curator Lena Brüning, is Schmela's architectonically incisive gallery building, located in Düsseldorf’s old town. Designed by Aldo van Eyck and inaugurated in 1971, it serves today as one of the three locations of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Selected works by renowned artists who worked with Alfred Schmela when launching their careers will be presented in conjunction with documentary materials. The exhibition illustrates the international spectrum of the  gallery's program and focuses on central protagonists of and tendencies in the art of the second half of the 20th century – among them Joseph Beuys, Nouveau Réalisme, Pop Art, and ZERO – to whose dissemination and success Alfred Schmela made an essential contribution.