Artificial but fond of art
Although artificial, #urbanana has always been fond of art. One of the reasons why urban art and avantgarde, off spaces, museums and art societies are deeply rooted into western grounds.
The grandmother of art fairs, the Art Cologne and her youngest grandchild, the Art Düsseldorf, are fixed points when navigating through the international art world of #urbanana. For your first stops and stations, we recommend the Monopol Art Maps when you are coming here with art hunger and thirst.
It is as if it was dripping from the walls right into our eyes. We do not need rose-coloured glasses to be enthusiastic about the colours adorning walls in Cologne, Düsseldorf and the Ruhr Area. Here is where urban colorists reclaim public space for their magnificent manifestos. To whom belongs the city? All claims of ownership left aside, urban art remains eye-candy for all searchers of colorful calories. At the City Leaks festival in Cologne, the 40° Urban Art and the festivals in the Ruhr Area, international artists take brushes and cans, sometimes even light-diodes, drones and tape in order to transform the yawning spotlessness or grimy dreariness into spectral spectacles.
Galleries and photographers
Honestly: Galleries do not always seem inviting, even when they are open. Be brave: It is worthwile to demolish these truly artificial fears of contact. Why not in autumn? When Galleries in Düsseldorf and Cologne become sisters in spirit during the DC open and jointly exhibit what the new season brings. More photography is on display every February, when Düsseldorf celebrates the photo weekend. On that occasion, more than 50 Galleries and institutions honour the city’s reputation as the birthplace of the Düsseldorf Photoschool (Düsseldorfer Fotoschule). The Museum Folkwang in Essen displays photography all year round. It is one of the 21 Ruhrkunstmuseen, who – taken jointly – have an immense potential for exhibitions in the Ruhr Area alone.
Zero hours in Art
This is art by tradition: The Young West (Junger Westen) of 1948 was at home in the Ruhr Area. The Art Gallery Recklinghausen (Kunsthalle Recklinghausen) honours the group consisting of painters and sculptors still today in awarding artists with the Artprize Young West (Kunstpreis Junger Westen). The Fluxus Movement especially shook the art scene of the 60ies in Düsseldorf and Cologne. Roughly at the same time, Mack, Piene and Uecker formed the supergroup ZERO in order to claim the „zero hour“ of art. Pop Art was treated ambivalently: With enthusiasm – as by Peter Ludwig, whose Collection of Pop Art is one of the largest in Europe and on display in Cologne, or with irony – as by Richter, Polke and others who reacted to Pop Art with coining „capitalistic realism“.
Painting, sculpting, performance and dancing meanwhile got a strong sister: Media art. Julia Stoschek is taking good care of her in Düsseldorf, where her impressive collection of installation, photography and video is on display now and then. The inter media art institute (imai) in Düsseldorf is an archive of video art since the 60ies until today. The „Hartware MedienKunstVerein“ (HMKV) in Dortmund takes care of the production, presentation and communication of contemporary media art. The so-called Kunstvereine (Art Societies) are unique in their ways to support and develop art in Germany.
More is more
That was a lot. Nevertheless, you still want more? Try the museumsdienst and their vast knowledge about Colognes art museums. A visit to the Kulturkenner will also boost your knowledge and help you navigate through culture and art in NRW. The Monopol Art Maps are another helpful choice: consisting of six maps and 28 routes in total, they contain a lot of useful information on urban art, culture and scene in NRW.