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New presentation of the Collection of Contemporary Art at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Städel Museum’s Collection of Contemporary Art. Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz.



FRANKFURT AM MAIN.- The Städel Museum’s Collection of Contemporary Art is presented anew for the first time—nearly a decade after its opening. A history of art after 1945 fans out proceeding from the central square of the Garden Halls, which cover an area of some 3,000 square metres, beginning with major works of art dating from the recent past to the present. A total of approximately 230 works by 170 artists of various schools, styles and groups will reveal surprising comparisons, viewpoints and visual axes between the immediate present and its roots in past decades. In honour of the occasion, a large number of the museum’s most recent acquisitions and gifts will be on exhibit for the first time, for example works by Miriam Cahn (*1949), René Daniëls (*1950), Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923–2019), Jimmie Durham (*1940), Asta Gröting (*1961) and Victor Vasarely (1906–1997).

With a wide array of narrative threads, the new presentation will allow experiencing post-1945 art from a thematic rather than a chronological point of view. The dissolution of the depicted object in formless, abstract painting, as seen in works of different decades, will be one thematic focus; another will be the advent of gestural painting and its impact on the generations that followed. The presentation will also address itself to the aesthetic of geometry and objects of everyday life—an aspect that turns up time and again in the period in question, charged with ever new meanings and references—in all its various forms and thematic premises. As visitors make their way through the rooms and squares of the Garden Halls, they will moreover gain insights into how the figure found its way back into the picture, how painting conquered—real—space, how the alleged competitors painting and photography entered into a mutual exchange, and much more.

“We’ve been collecting contemporary art since the founding of the Städel Museum. In 2012, the collection of contemporary art received a superb new domicile in the Garden Halls. A lot has happened since then. Over the past years, thanks to the strong dedication of our patrons as well as numerous substantial gifts and a resolute purchasing policy, we have significantly expanded our contemporary art holdings. Our visitors can now discover these recent acquisitions—and rediscover important older works—in a changed presentation featuring works by 170 artists. It is an invitation to see a special collection and seven decades of contemporary art with new eyes”, Städel Museum director Philipp Demandt comments.

Wolfgang Tillmans’s (*1968) abstract photograph Freischwimmer 54 (2004), for example, strikes up a dialogue with the assemblage Zimbal (1966) by Gerhard Hoehme (1920–1989) and Raymond Hains’s (1926–2005) collage Coup de Pied (1960). The presentation segues from the sculptures by Jessica Stockholder (*1959) #358 (2001) and Isa Genzken (*1948) Wind I (David) (2009) to works such as Blinky Palermo’s (1943–1977) Cloth Picture (1970) and Yves Klein’s (1928–1962) sponge relief Relief éponge bleu (1960). Daniel Richter’s (*1962) abstract-figurative painting entertains a link to Francis Bacon’s (1909–1992) Study for the Nurse in the film Battleship Potemkin. Dirk Skreber’s (*1961) photo-realistic-like painting forms a transition to the spaces built and captured on film by Thomas Demand (*1964). In realms off the beaten paths of post-1945 art, various presents become visible: widely differing interpretations and accesses to the art of this period that run parallel to, intersect or complement, contradict or comment on one another. The result is an expedition through seven decades of contemporary art that enables visitors to grasp art history individually and according to personal interest. The squares, spaces and paths of the exhibition architecture offer unaccustomed visual axes and proximities that create links and make them visible, bringing together art of several decades.










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