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Tracing Brandhorst: Re-Imagining a Collection (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Giampaolo Bianconi, Lynn Rother

Einzeltermin | Do, 07.04.2022, 14:15 - Do, 07.04.2022, 15:45 | C 40.176 Seminarraum | .
Einzeltermin | Do, 12.05.2022, 14:15 - Do, 12.05.2022, 15:45 | C 40.176 Seminarraum | .
Einzeltermin | Mo, 11.07.2022, 10:00 - Fr, 15.07.2022, 18:00 | extern | Exkursion nach München

Inhalt: It was once said in the early 20th century that something can either be modern or a museum, but not both. This refers to the conflict that works once acquired as the art of the present and considered progressive, original, and provoking may no longer have that effect when exhibited decades later. How can a museum dedicated to contemporary art deal with its increasingly aging collection? The Museum Brandhorst in Munich, which only opened in 2009 and plans to reinstall its permanent collection in 2023, faces this challenge in a peculiar way–having its roots in the private collection of Anette and Udo Brandhorst, the core of which was acquired between the 1970s and 90s in Germany and the US. Anette Petersen, later Brandhorst (1936–1999), an heiress of the German Henkel AG, and the businessman Udo Brandhorst (born 1939) started collecting contemporary art when they had just moved to Cologne in 1972. The couple and the American artist Cy Twombly developed a deep friendship, which meant that the Brandhorsts were able to see many of his pieces before they even left the studio. But Twombly was only one of the main focuses of the incipient collection, which also assembled 120 pieces of Andy Warhol, making it the most significant selection of his work outside the US. Within a short period of time, the pair collected an impressive number of works from the neo-avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s, by artists such as Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys, and Bruce Nauman. In the 1980s and 1990s, the couple expanded their collecting activities, focusing especially on what is sometimes known as “critical postmodernism”: that continuation of the neo-avant-garde that concentrated on the dark, abysmal aspects of the capitalist lifestyle. Artists like Mike Kelley, Cady Noland, Jeff Koons, Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, and Damian Hirst were added to the collection during this period. Tracing the objects back to their early reception and the moment when Anette and Udo Brandhorst acquired them, the class will help to understand the collectors and their decisions at the time. We will research, study and discuss specific objects and artists represented in the Brandhorst Collection that lack sufficient cataloguing, and archival material in order to contextualize them in the exhibition, collecting, and art market practices at the time. The majority of the class will take place at the Museum Brandhorst in Munich, where Giampaolo Bianconi, the museum’s curator planning the reinstallation of the permanent collection, will be participating.