Marta Herford in Herford, Außenansicht von oben, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Top-Ex­hib­i­tions 2020

Behrens, Beeth­oven und Baroque

Museums in North Rhine-Westphalia offer a wide range of fascinating exhibitions with different emphases. Those interested in arts and culture can look forward to artwork from renowned painters, sculptors, photographers and musicians. Institutions will display exhibits of prominent musicians. Historic events and social phenomenons also play a role. In the following you can find a chronological overview of top-exhibitions that will take place this year. They are divided into the sections "Art, Design, Architecture" and "Music, Science, Society".

Please note that interested parties should check the websites of the museums to see whether dates and opening times have changed. There you will usually find information on behavioral requirements, access limits and hygiene measures as well. 

Diözesanmuseum Paderborn, Blick in die Ausstellung mit Peter Paul Rubens, Selbstbildnis, um 1625/30, Siegen, Siegerlandmuseum, © Diözesanmuseum Paderborn/Besim Mazhiqi

Art, Design, Ar­chi­tec­ture

Norbert Tadeusz, LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster

Norbert Tadeusz was a contemporary artists, figurative painter with his own imagery, professor at the art academy Münster and a master student of Joseph Beuys. His large-sized works are especially famous for their intensive play of colours, the unusual perspectives and the extreme postures of his represented figures. 66 of his mostly massive works of art are now on display at the LWL-Musuem für Kunst und Kultur in a new exhibition, that already enjoyed its first success in Düsseldorf’s Kunstpalast. Often the motif of the woman has priority and is provided a setting in different ways. The swimmingpool-paintings obtain special validity in the unique daylight-filled room of the exhibition.

Dates: 10th of May 2020 to 2nd of August 2020

Survivors. Faces of Life after the Holocaust, Zollverein World Heritage Site in Essen

Faces tell life stories. Even those defined by fear and horror, faith and hope. The power of the "Survivors. Faces of Life after the Holocaust" exhibition is considerable. Renowned photographer Martin Schoeller took portraits of 75 Holocaust survivors. The images can now be seen at the Zollverein coking plant’s mixing facility. The exhibition is being shown to mark the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in cooperation with the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and its German circle of friends as well as the Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur Bonn and the Ruhr Museum.

Dates: 7 May 2020 to 13 September 2020

Angelika Kauffmann: Artist, powerful woman, influencer, Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf

The works of the most famous female artist of the Age of Enlightenment and Sentimentality are the focus of an exhibition at the Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf. About 100 paintings, drawings and sculptures by this powerful woman are being exhibited by the museum in cooperation with the Royal Academy of Arts in London. They provide an insight into the work of the Swiss native, who quickly became famous throughout Europe and made a name for herself with portraits and historical paintings. Kauffmann had a profound influence on the art and fashion of her time. She asserted herself like no other in a metier dominated by men.

Dates: 30 January to 20 September 2020

Peter Lindbergh: Untold Stories, Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf

In Peter Lindbergh's images, man with all his facets takes centre stage. Sometimes it is a proud and august gaze that captivates the observer, sometimes a posed body. Kunstpalast Düsseldorf is now showing 140 works by the fashion photographer, who worked for the most famous fashion magazines in the world before his death in 2019. Lindbergh, who grew up in Duisburg, selected the exhibitsfor the show before he passed away. They provide insight into his photographic work, which dates back to the early 1980s. Many of the works have never been exhibited in public before.

Dates: 5 February to 27 September 2020

Michelangelo's paintings up close, Dalheim Monastery in Lichtenau

Special works in a special place: Michelangelo’s Bible scenes, which decorate the Sistine Chapel in Rome, now can be seen in the church of the former Dalheim Monastery in Lichtenau near Paderborn. The painstaking reproductions of the ceiling and wall paintings from the Vatican include the creation story for example, with the famous "The Creation of Adam" fresco or the composition on the Last Judgement. The exhibition invites visitors to discover the oversized images, which are to be seen at a height of 21 metres in the Sistine Chapel, from up close.

Dates: 4 April 2020 to 22 November 2020

Keith Haring, Museum Folkwang in Essen

For the very first time, Museum Folkwang is showing a comprehensive exhibition of works by American artist Keith Haring, who created his art in the context of the topics of the 1980s: the AIDS crisis, the Cold War, the growth of capitalism and the destruction of the environment. More than 85 works, including large format paintings and drawings, posters, photographs and videos, demonstrate a broad spectrum of his oeuvre.

Dates: 21 August 2020 to 29 November 2020

Sean Scully, Waldfrieden Sculpture Park

Sean Scully’s massive monumental sculptures impressively stand out against the natural scenery of Waldfrieden sculpture park. Surrounded by greenery the works of art from abstract painters and sculptors ascend like high, stacked towers. Some works were especially created for the new exhibition, that is to honour the friendship with the Irish-native and park founder Tony Cragg. From the beginning it also included the paintings, which are typical for Scully, with vertical and horizontal stripes. Further works of art are complemented by the artist over the period of the exhibition. The exhibition evolves in a continuous process.

Dates: 11th of June 2020 to 3rd of January 2021

Time for Outrage! Art in the Age of Anger, Kunstpalast Düsseldorf

Lack of understanding, rage and anger are the driving forces expressed in 60 important works at the “Time for Outrage!” exhibition. It is a reaction to current political challenges and grievances. International artists such as Monica Bonvicini, Peggy Buth and Harry Hachmeister take very clear positions in installations, photographs, paintings, drawings and sculptures. In this context, the show at the Kunstpalast provides an overview of opinions and positions but does not offer any solutions. It enables visitors to analyse or broaden their own way of thinking.

Dates: 29 October 2020 to 10 January 2021

Hito Steyerl, Kunstsammlung NRW in Düsseldorf

Hito Steyerl is one of the most influential stakeholders on the international art scene and has made a decisive contribution to re-defining the documentary. The experimental, sociocritical film maker is known for working with various presentation forms and constantly examining the role of art. From September, Kunstsammlung NRW, together with the Centre Pompidou Paris, will dedicate a comprehensive show to this immense talent. K21 in Düsseldorf will become a showplace for current works that presents a differentiated examination of capitalism in the cultural sector.

Dates: 26 September 2020 to 10 January 2021

Otfried Preußler: Creator of characters and teller of stories, Ludwiggalerie Schloss Oberhausen

Who doesn't know Otfried Preußler's imaginative characters and exciting stories? The Little Witch, Krabat or The Robber Hotzenplotz still come to life when read. Ludwiggalerie Schloss Oberhausen is now placing the primary focus of an exhibition on the unmistakable appearance of the characters. Cartoonists and illustrators like Franz Josef Tripp contributed to defining it over the years. In addition to this, visitors can enjoy exhibits relating to Preußler's literary works.  The media adaptations of the famous books are also examined.

Dates: 13 September 2020 to 10 January 2021

Thomas Ruff, Kunstsammlung NRW in Düsseldorf

One of the most important representatives of contemporary photography in Germany invites you to explore image worlds. Thomas Ruff takes visitors to his new exhibition on a journey through 170 years of photographic history. The artist, who is actually best known for his frontal portraits of serious looking subjects, juxtaposes a large format series from various sources at Kunstsammlung NRW’s K20. These include studio photographs from the 19th century, press photographs dating from the post-war era and propaganda images from the People’s Republic of China.

Dates: 12 September 2020 to 7 February 2021

Andy Warhol Now, Museum Ludwig in Cologne

His work redefined the boundaries between painting, sculpture, film and music. The “Andy Warhol Now” exhibition casts light on aspects that have received less attention before now, such as Warhol’s migration background as the son of Russian immigrants in Pittsburgh and his treatment of religious motifs, as well as life beyond heterosexual norms, which he addressed in many ways and saw as an essential factor in a diverse society. Museum Ludwig is showing more than 100 works by the world famous icon of the Pop Art movement that explain his critical attitude, including the famous Elvis Presley series and the colour variations of Electric Chair.

Dates: 12 December 2020 to 18 April 2021

Beuys and the Shamens, Museum Schloss Moyland in Bedburg-Hau

From May, visitors will be able to see the shamanic world through the eyes of the artist and gain a closer understanding of spiritual ideas through art at Moyland Castle. The museum which holds the largest collection of Beuys’ works in the world looks at the painter, sculptor and activist’s relationship to the religious media in this new exhibition. The show covers Eurasia in the year of Joseph Beuys’ 100th birthday, showing the views held by this polarising man in a hat on spirituality, transformation and wholeness.

Dates: 2 May 2021 to 29 August 2021
The exhibition is part of the programme to mark Beuys’ anniversary in 2021.

Peter Behrens - Art and Technology – LVR Industriemuseum Peter-Behrens-Bau in Oberhausen

The redesigned permanent exhibition on the architect and designer Peter Behrens presents architectural models developed specifically according to original designs as well as current and historical photographs of his buildings - going from his early residential house in Darmstadt to the tobacco factory in Linz. The LVR Industriemuseum building in Oberhausen was also designed by Behrens.

Tomás Saraceno - in orbit, Kunstsammlung NRW in Düsseldorf

It is a rather different type of art enjoyment that visitors experience below the huge dome of the "K21 Ständehaus" building that houses the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, the North Rhine Westphalia art collection. They can enter the "in orbit" room installation by artist Tomás Saraceno and, in an extensive web structure covering 3 levels and a total area of 2,500 square metres, move freely between half-a-dozen "spheres", air-filled balls with diameters of up to 8.5 metres. The web sways from the steps, high above the piazza of the museum, and with it, the other people climbing it sway too - a communicative experience. The artist’s room in the K21, which was also designed by Saraceno, shows how the movement in the web construction works. Here, real spiders move about in their own webs.

Dates: the installation is part of the permanent exhibition in K21, but is occasionally closed for maintenance works. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the artwork is currently not accessible. More information can be found on the website of the Kunstsammlung NRW.

Kloster Dalheim in Lichtenau, Außenansicht, Innenhof, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Mu­sic, Sci­ence and So­ci­ety

Friedrich Engels – A spectre is haunting Europe, Kunsthalle Barmen in Wuppertal

The exhibition “Friedrich Engels – a spectre is haunting Europe” is the main event of the Engels-anniversary 2020. Visitors can approach Wuppertals famous son through a historical glance in the Kunsthalle Barmen, the former Barmer Ruhmeshalle at the Geschwister-Scholl-Platz. Significant works, original manuscripts, caricatures and personal belongings are on display. Life, work and influence of the founder of the so called scientific socialism are guiding themes.

Dates: 15th of May to 20th of September 2020

The History of the Plague, LWL-Museum für Archäologie in Herne

All over the world, the plague claimed millions of victims, but it is not a horror of the past – it still exists today. The special exhibition "Pest!" (Plague!) presents the history of the disease and its consequences based on around 300 archaeological and cultural history exhibits. Eleven themed areas lead from the archaeogenetic to the modern understanding of the plague. 

Dates: 20 September 2019 to 15 November 2020

Ludwig lives! Beethoven in Pop, rock n popmuseum Gronau in Gronau  

The central theme of the exhibition is the traces Beethoven has left in modern pop culture to this day. The multimedia show over three floors shows where Beethoven can still be found today, including in advertising, mobile phone ring tones and in songs by The Beatles, the Toten Hosen, Helge Schneider and Judith Holofernes. The exceptional musician can also be found in films such as A Clockwork Orange and in cartoons like Peanuts.

Dates: 21 March 2021 to 3 October 2021

  • ©
    Museum Schloss Moyland in Bedburg-Hau am Niederrhein, Außenansicht, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
    Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Außenansicht, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
    Marta Herford in Herford, Außenansicht von oben, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
  • ©
    Kloster Dalheim in Lichtenau, Außenansicht, Innenhof, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
    Blick auf die Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, © Tourismus & Congress GmbH Region Bonn,Rhein-Sieg,Ahrweiler
    Gasometer Oberhausen in der Dämmerung, © Ruhr Tourismus GmbH Jochen Schlutius
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Click here to dis­cov­er more mu­seums in NRW

Museum Insel Hombroich in Neuss, © Dominik Ketz, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Mu­seum In­sel Hom­broi­ch in Neuss

Schokoladenbrunnen, © Schokoladenmuseum Köln

Chocol­ate Mu­seum Co­logne

Zeiss Planetarium Bochum, Außenansicht mit Schriftzug, © Stadt Bochum Presse und Informationsamt Planetarium

Zeiss Plan­et­ari­um in Bo­chum

LVR-Römermuseum in Xanten, Außenansicht bei Nacht, © Axel Thuenker DGPh

LVR Ro­man Mu­seum in Xanten

Kolumba Museum in Cologne, © Kolumba Köln, Helene-Binet

Kolumba Mu­seum in Co­logne

Museum Ludwig, Innenansicht, Treppenhaus, © Museum Ludwig

Mu­seum Lud­wig in Co­logne