For several months, inhabitants of Munich passing through the Art district wondered what was being built. Although the building’s outside walls were covered in bright geometric stripes of colour, the modern structure actually seemed to fit in with the pre and post war architecture quite well. The construction aroused a certain curiosity, particularly when signs started popping up around the city with the names of modern artists and a photograph of the building. The day that the Brandhorst Museum opened its doors, a long queue formed around the building and expectations were high among the crowd of art lovers, students, families and dignitaries.
My first visit to the Brandhorst Museum was incredible. I frequent Munich’s plethora of museums,(my favourite being the New Pinakotheke), and was intrigued by list of artists whose works would be on show in the museum; Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Mike Kelley, Christopher Wool, the list of goes on and on. Although I had never actually seen Twombly’s work on display, I was familiar with his style and it was Twombly himself who helped design the building. The museum also houses the second largest collection of his work in the world.
I was especially interested to see Lepanto, Cy Twombly’s twelve-piece work inspired by the Battle of the Lepanto. One whole specially-designed room of the gallery is dedicated to the opus. The bright colours mixed with scratches, cracks and paintdrip techniques make the work a masterpiece and ensure it leaves a lasting impact. Art critic Richard Howard said of Lepanto; “as grim and sometimes uproarious as the panels are, their cumulative effect, as we move among them, or step back to take in the whole sequence as a single image, is one of luminous intensity. We witness historical evidence through a personal meditation on tragedy. Certainly Lepanto is an accounting, but not a final summing up. We are still, with Twombly in the thick of the fight.” The artist first diplayed the series when he won a lifetime achievement award at the 49th Venice Biennale.
As you enter the museum, you are greeted by Andy Warhol’s Hammer and Sickle and there are over 100 of his works on display at the Brandhorst. Although Twombly and Warhol top the bill at the museum, the world-class collection also features other important modern artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst and Joseph Beuys. In terms of culture and art, Munich is upping its game and this flamboyant building with its impressive selection of modern artworks is leading the Bavarian city’s reinvention.Museum Brandhorst Kunstareal Theresienstrasse 35a 80333 Munich
A report on the Brandhorst Museum and Munich’s cultural scene