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

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

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.

Date: Spring 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

Fashion photography of the 1990s, Kunstpalast Düsseldorf

Germany’s most successful supermodel invites you on a stroll through the 1990s’ fashion world. Visitors to the Düsseldorf Kunstpalast can follow Claudia Schiffer to her most famous fashion shows, memorable fashion parties, and the most spectacular photo shoots of a decade. The fashion icon, once discovered as a model on Düsseldorf’s Königsallee, just a few meters away from the exhibition venue, has assembled an exhibition of central photographic works, videos, music, and memorabilia. The comprehensive collection includes pictures by Herb Ritts, Arthur Elgort, and Karl Lagerfeld. Guests will be able to view some intimate photographs before once again focusing on others that are rather on the playful or extravagant side.

Dates: 04 March to 13 June 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.

Dürer was here – a legendary journey, Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen

Albrecht Dürer’s journey to the Netherlands in 1520 and 1521 was one of the most productive periods in his life, as he travelled to Antwerp from Nuremberg via Frankfurt, Mainz, and Cologne. At his destination, Dürer met with important artist colleagues such as Quentin Massys, Bernard van Orley, and Conrad Meit. He found inspiration wherever he went. The painter genius met with scholars and princes, eventually attending the coronation of Charles V in Aachen, who reaffirmed his privileges after the death of his most important patron. Dürer created important works of art on this journey, now displayed in the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum together with works by his contemporaries. The 140 exhibits from Europe and the USA include a copy of Dürer’s account book with travel notes, laying out his experiences. This exhibition concludes the “Dürer – Karl V. – Aachen” triad.

Date: 18 July 2021 to 24 October 2021

“Brücke” and “Blauer Reiter”, Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal

One show, two artist groups, and three museums come together for the new “Brücke and Blauer Reiter” exhibition that presents the work of two associations that were pioneers of classic modernism and are currently considered the most important representatives of expressionism in Germany in correlation. The exhibition combines selected works from the Von der Heydt Museum, the Buchheim Museum of Imagination, and the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz to present a comprehensive overview. Visitors to the Wuppertaler Haus can look forward to enjoying works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, and Otto Mueller, all members of the “Brücke”. August Macke, Alexej von Jawlensky and Paul Klee, among other artists, represent the “Blauer Reiter”.

Date: 23 November 2021 to 27 February 2022

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

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

Bundeskunsthalle Bonn Ansicht © Peter Oszvald Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, © Peter Oszvald Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn

Bundeskun­sthalle in Bonn

Schokoladenbrunnen, © Schokoladenmuseum Köln

Chocol­ate Mu­seum Co­logne

Aussenansicht Deutsches Fußballmuseum Dortmund - direkt am Hauptbahnhof, © Deutsches Fußballmuseum Dortmund

Ger­man Foot­ball Mu­seum Dortmund

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, Außenansicht in der Dämmerung, © Deutsches Bergbau Museum/Karlheinz Jardner

Ger­man Min­ing Mu­seum in Bo­chum

Die Ausstellungen Haus der Geschichte bieten Vergangenheit zum Anfassen, © Stiftung Haus der Geschichte, Axel Thünker

Haus der Geschichte in Bonn

Die Ausstellung im Neanderthal Museum erklärt den Lebensalltag der Urmenschen, © Neanderthal Museum / M.Pietrek

Neander­th­al Mu­seum in Mettmann