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.
Art, Design, Architecture
I. Max Liebermann. A European Artist, Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf
He is considered one of the most important representatives of German Impressionism and a pioneer of Modernism in Germany, with his paintings of vivid landscapes and groups of people against an impressive backdrop. Those viewing them will notice the many details added by Berlin painter and graphic artist Max Liebermann with his keen observations of nature. The Kunstpalast Düsseldorf is now presenting a comprehensive choice from his oeuvre. The museum places around 120 paintings in the context of several works from his colleagues in European centres, including works by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, or Rembrandt van Rijn. One room is entirely dedicated to Liebermann’s influence on the Düsseldorf art scene.
Dates: 3 February 2022 to 8 May 2022
Renoir, Monet, Gauguin. Images of a flowing world, Museum Folkwang in Essen
Museum Folkwang is hosting an assembly of international impressionist masterpieces in an overview exhibition in 2022. The famous composition “On the boat” by Claude Monet and “The Port of Saint Tropez” by Paul Signac will be meeting Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Lise with Umbrella” and Paul Gauguin’s “Girl with a Fan” in Essen. The exhibition “Bilder einer fließenden Welt” exemplifies based on about 120 exhibits how a style was able to develop to the point where it heralded a new era of art. Museum Folkwang’s own inventory is entering into a dialogue with works from the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo for this, with pieces that haven’t been exhibited in Europe at a larger scale since the 1950s.
Dates: 06 February 2022 to 15 May 2022
The Brain. In Art & Science, Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn
The Bundeskunsthalle is hosting an interdisciplinary dialogue of art, cultural history, and science with its exhibition “Das Gehirn” (The Brain): The object of observation and research is the “control centre of the human body”. It has been posing innumerable riddles to specialists from the various areas: How are thought and association processes working? Is the brain where the soul lives? Brain research keeps supplying insights, while art helps better classify thought and feeling, awareness and perception. The exhibition collects 300 works and objects on the subject. Visitors can also approach the mystery of the brain through visions and thought experiments regarding the core of existence.
Dates: 28 January 2022 to 26 June 2022
Departure into Modern Times, Kunstmuseum Bonn
The interpretation of art can be an ambiguous matter as it connects to discourses, ideas, and events. It communicates on many levels and brings about insights. Nothing could make this clear than the “Departure into modern times” exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bonn, showing painted and graphic art from its collection of Classical Modernism. The exhibition places works by August Macke and the Rhenish Expressionists in a larger historical framework, connecting them with captivating episodes from the early 20th century. Guests can learn more about a continuing era full of pervasive changes on all levels of human life.
Dates: 27 June 2021 to 30 June 2022
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf
Pictures of a crowd of art fans strolling across the Place Charles-de-Gaulle in Paris, where the Arc de Triomphe is wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable, blue-silver plastic fabric, have gone around the world. Though artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude started planning this project in 1962, it could not be put into practice until the autumn of 2021, after Christo’s death. This installation is an example of their joint lives’ work. The Kunstpalast Düsseldorf now pays tribute to them with a large overview exhibition that teaches visitors about all the projects realised and planned since Wrapped Coast happened in 1968/69. With many objects, large drawings, graphic works, photographs, and designs on display, the exhibition also references the Paris avant-garde from the 1950s that deeply influenced Christo as well as Jeanne-Claude.
Dates: 11 August 2022 to 8 January 2023
Expressionisten am Folkwang, Museum Folkwang in Essen
The Museum Folkwang has brought together 120 works of exceptional expressionists such as Max Beckmann, Alexej von Jawlensky, Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Paula Modersohn-Becker, and many others under its roof for the second one of its centennial exhibitions. The exhibition uses paintings, graphics, and sculptures to analyse the history of this revolutionary art style with its free forms, dissolved perspective, and colour inserts. The tale stretches from the early days in Germany, past confiscation of pieces of art in National Socialism, to the celebrated exhibitions after 1945. Guests can draw their own connections between work, events, and the Museum Folkwang, whose history is inseparably linked to expressionism.
Dates: 20 August 2022 to 8 January 2023
Zero, Pop und Minimal: Die 1960er und 1970er Jahre, Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal
Zero, optical art, minimal and concept art go beyond the visual. They involve the audience, improve spatial perception, playfully or subversively reduce the distance from the work and inspire communication. All of this is made clear by the “Zero, Pop und Minimal: Die 1960er und 1970er Jahre” (“Zero, Pop, and Minimal – The 1960s and 1970s”) exhibition in Wuppertal’s Von der Heydt-Museum, as it draws attention to a time of revolt, when artists were politically active, made provocative statements with their works, and established new types of art. At the time, the location in Wuppertal served as a centre for everything new. Parts of its comprehensive collection and the museum’s history are now reflected in the events of the time.
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.
Suitable travel offer: Tomás Saraceno - in orbit
Music, Science and Society
Artificial Intelligence, DASA Arbeitswelt in Dortmund
Artificial intelligence has become very important for our everyday lives, enabling items such as self-driving cars, smart rain collection systems, tools for early recognition of disease, and computer-controlled household assistants. It is subject to constant further development, while harbouring risks and potentials at the same time. The exhibition “Künstliche Intelligenz” (Artificial Intelligence) at DASA Arbeitswelt reflects this ambivalent relationship by covering the developmental history, issues, limits, and perspectives of automated machine learning. Visitors can learn just how much technology can help in designing a smart world or lead to full supervision based on interactive objects, videos, and AI-based objects.
Dates: 13 November 2021 to 9 August 2022
Linda McCartney, Ludwiggalerie Schloss Oberhausen in Oberhausen
As a photographer, Linda McCartney, who died in 1998, got closer to the great music stars of the 1960s than anyone else. Her photos continue to characterise the image memory of a time in which social constraints were broken and moral etiquette overcome. Married to Beatles bassist Paul McCartney, she skilfully presented Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, Nico and Brian Jones, The Doors and The Who, Aretha Franklin, and Bob Dylan – naturally and highly dynamically. Visitors can now view her pictures in the Ludwiggalerie Schloss Oberhausen, retracing the path of her unusual career in the rock’n’roll scene. The show is completed by an independent exhibition area on forms of design and record covers, including Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and Andy Warhol’s “Sticky Fingers” for the Rolling Stones.
Date: 15 May 2022 to 11 September 2022
Rome’s flowing borders, five sites in the Rhineland
The Lower Germanic Limes has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 27 July 2021. The river border, with a length of more than 400 kilometres, follows the course of the Rhine from that time. Starting around 15 BC, it separated the Roman province of Lower Germania from free Germania for more than 450 years. A five-part exhibition now teaches history fans from all age groups about its significance for the development of urban centres in the Rhineland. Museums and archaeological parks in Detmold, Xanten, Bonn, Haltern am See, and Cologne have opened their exhibitions in September to explain where military and civilian centres were located in NRW, where people used to explore, build, trade, and fight. Unique new finds, research results, and replicas of Roman buildings and objects bring the Roman era to life.
Dates: September 2021 to October 2022
The fragile paradise, Gasometer in Oberhausen
A 20-meter-wide globe floats high above the visitors’ heads. Projectors cast high-resolution satellite images of the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR; the German Aerospace Center) onto its surface, making our world visible in all its beauty. This grace is fleeting, as the new exhibition “Das zerbrechliche Paradies” (The fragile paradise) in the Oberhausen Gasometer demonstrates impressively with award-winning photographs and videos. Some of these present beautiful landscapes and exotic animals to the guests, while others show smoking stacks or polluted waters to reflect the effects industry has on the environment. The dramatic consequences of human intervention in nature are made visible in these exhibits. The show presents the unadulterated truth, demonstrating the history climate in all its facets.
Dates: 1 October 2021 to 30 December 2022