Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart

Stuttgart is the closest large city to Tübingen, and an excellent source of art-related activities. While my friends dedicated their Saturday to a Beerfest-like celebration in the area or the Mercedes Museum, I made my way to the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, which collects and exhibits modern art.

Its gorgeous glass, cube-shaped building had captivated me weeks before during my first visit to the city.

The interior view is even cooler. Though most of its space was dedicated to the large exhibition Three. The Triptych in Modern Art (which I'll be reviewing later), the museum has an excellent collection, with a focus on German artists.

There's a small room devoted to Minimalism. White Weiss (1997) by Heinz Gappmayr was my favorite.

I fell in love with Dieter Roth, of whom I had never heard before seeing his work here. He has a manic style and a range of materials and influence that I really enjoy. One room houses the series 2 times 5 BATS and 2 times 5 TROPHIES, both from 1978. Several of his pieces were also part of the Three exhibit.

Trench Warfare, 1932
Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber, 1925Dissimilar Lovers, 1925Nelly with Toy, 1925The Triumph of Death, 1934 (detail)They have a large number of Otto Dix pieces, with several rooms devoted specifically to him. I wasn't too familiar with him beforehand but after seeing his pieces here I really like him. He has an interesting, sketchy painting style and a penchant for drafting sickly, gruesome figures or creepy children. I am in full support of these tendencies.

Homeless Person (1991) by Duane Hanson really caught me off guard. I definitely thought it was a real person as I walked in. It's a very bold piece.

Willi Baumeister: Monturi, White Discus, 1954There were some interesting abstract paintings and sculptures.

Adolf Hölzel: Window in the Stairway of the Firm of JF Maercklin, Stuttgart, 1933-34And a room for Adolf Hölzel and his experimental stained glass windows.

There was also a great mini-exhibition for Stefan Burger, a young contemporary German artist. His Frischzelle_10 is quite imposing, with two paintings completely dominating the entirety of two walls. He has created a very theatrical setting, though devoid of human players. It had a wonderful feel to it.

I was uneasy about Wolfgang Laib's Wax Room (1997) installation due to the small enclosed space, but I ended up kind of digging it. It's a short, one-ended hallway whose walls and ceiling are completely made out of wax. There was a very heavy but comforting smell and a soft light at the end. Quite interesting.

Here are a few other works that caught my eye:

Christoph Voll: Self Portrait, 1925Jonathan Meese: Chess 1923, The Balthus Saloon, 2001Olaf Nicolai: Considering a Multiplicity of Appearances in Light of a Particular Aspect of Relevance, Or: Can Art Be Concrete?, 2008Rainer Ganahl: Don't Steal My Mercedes-Benz Bicycle, 2007I had a really great experience at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. It's a magnificent space, utilized to its fullest. It's open and bright, never feeling over-crowded. My biggest problem was the persistent use of glass over almost every painting. I understand this is important for conversation purposes, but it was often difficult to fully view a piece due to the reflection of light. That happens at a lot of museums, though, so it wasn't a big deal. I fully recommend this museum for anyone in the Stuttgart area. Review of the Three exhibition forthcoming!

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