Museum Marta Herford on Herford, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Top-Exhibitions 2020

Bauhaus, mountains and rockstars

In North Rhine-Westphalia's museums lots of different exhibitions open their doors throughout the year.

Art, Design, Architecture 

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

Now! Young Painting in Germany, Kunstmuseum in Bonn

With 500 works by around 50 artists, this exhibition project endeavours to provide a cross-section of young painting created in Germany. In addition to Kunstmuseum Bonn, other exhibition halls such as Museum Wiesbaden, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz – Museum Gunzenhauser and Deichtorhallen Hamburg are also involved, where all of the participating artists are represented by at least three works.

Dates: 19 September 2019 to 19 January 2020

Turner. Horror and Delight, LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster

For the first time in two decades, works by William Turner (1775-1851), probably Britain’s most important Romantic landscape painter, are to be exhibited in Germany. The “Turner” exhibition at the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster will focus on Turner’s travels to Switzerland and Italy, which inspired him to create his atmospheric landscapes. The exhibition is a cooperation with the Tate Britain art museum in London; most of the works on display come from the Tate’s Turner estate.

Dates: 8 November 2019 to 26 January 2020

In the Light of the Night, Museum Marta Herford in Herford

Based on about 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos and installations from the early modern period to the present, at this show visitors experience how the ordering principle of light and dark gives way to a multifaceted nocturnal life. The historical core at the Marta is based on a partial takeover of the exhibition “Peindre la nuit” (Painting the night) from the Centre Pompidou-Metz.

Dates: 26 October 2019 to 9 February 2020

Martin Kippenberger – BITTESCHÖN DANKESCHÖN. A Retrospective, Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn

As a keen observer of everyday life with a profound knowledge of art history, Martin Kippenberger became one of the most influential personalities in the art world of the 1980s and 1990s. His overflowing creativity could also be seen in the particular complexity of his works, which he brought to life using an whole range of expressive forms, such as painting, sculpture, drawings, collages, multiples, posters and artist’s books. Bundeskunsthalle Bonn shows the complexity and diversity in Kippenberger work in all its facets.

Dates: 1 November 2019 to 16 February 2020

Else Lasker-Schüler – Prinz Yussuf von Theben and the Avant-Garde, Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal

The poet Else Lasker-Schüler not only created “another” world with her words, her drawings were also characterised by fantasy and poetry. During the exhibition, her works will be put into context with works by Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc and August Macke as well as poets such as Franz Marc and August Macke.

Dates: 6 October 2019 to 16 February 2020

Edward Munch, Kunstsammlung K20 in Düsseldorf

Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård sought out around 140 works by his fellow countryman that have never or hardly ever been seen in Germany before for this exhibition. Knausgård investigated the inner world of the painter and traced the artistic considerations that preoccupied Munch. His very personal view opens up a new perspective on probably the most important artist of the Scandinavian avant-garde of the early 20th Century. 

Dates: 12 October to 1 March 2020

Rembrandt’s Graphic World & Inside Rembrandt, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Foundation in Cologne

On 4 October exactly 350 years ago, Rembrandt, the most important painter of the Baroque period, died. The exhibition “Rembrandt’s Graphic World” opens at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Foundation precisely on this date. A fine selection of etchings by the artist will be shown. The subsequent presentation visually traces his dramatic life as an artist between tragedy and comedy. 

Dates: 1 November 2019 to 1 March 2020, Inside Rembrandt

Norman Seeff - The Look of Sound, MAKK in Cologne

His photo shoots became happenings, his portraits of rock stars, music legends and famous socialites became iconic images. The Museum of Applied Art Cologne is currently exhibiting 170 photographs by Norman Seeff, who has been one of the USA’s most famous portrait photographers for decades. Videos of his photo shoots show how he managed to create a relaxed atmosphere on set and thus to get extremely close to the personalities behind the stars and starlets from the 60s to the 80s.

Dates: 13 September 2019 to 8 March 2020

The Assembled Human, Museum Folkwang in Essen

The relationship between humans and technology is the focus of this exhibition, which spans a broad temporal and medial arc with paintings, sculptures and graphics, early photographic experiments, installations, films and works by the post-Internet generation. You can see works by Otto Dix, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Nam June Paik, Man Ray, Thomas Ruff, Oskar Schlemmer and Jean Tinguely, for example.

Dates: 8 November 2019 to 15 March 2020

Picasso, Kunstsammlung NRW K20 in Düsseldorf

In this show, paintings, sculptures, drawings and historic documents from 1939 to 1945 tell of the man Pablo Picasso and the contradictions of everyday life during the Second World War.

In his work, the artist reacted to the threats of that period, to death and destruction. And yet, the subject of war is not in the foreground; instead, he created still lifes, portraits and nudes, often using motifs from the private sphere.

Dates: 15 February 2020 to 14 June 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: 29 May 2020 to 6 September 2020

Andy Warhol, Museum Ludwig in Cologne

Warhol’s work redefined the boundaries between painting, sculpture, film and music. The Andy Warhol exhibition casts light on aspects that have received less attention up until 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 postulated as an essential factor in a diverse society.

Dates: 10 October 2020 to 21 February 2021

Music, Science and Society

German Perspective on Great Britain, Haus der Geschichte in Bonn 

The “Very British. Ein deutscher Blick” (Very British. A German Perspective) exhibition shows that Great Britain is more than just Brexit. Based on the example of about 500 exhibits, the exhibition sheds light on the German-British relationship and the political, historical, economic and cultural role of Great Britain in Europe after 1945. The original tiger skin from the sketch “Dinner for one”, the ball from the legendary 1966 World Cup final and a dress worn by Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit to Germany in 1965 can be seen.

Dates: 10 July 2019 to 8 March 2020

Beethoven. Welt.Bürger.Musik, Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn 

On the occasion of the 250th birthday of the world-famous composer, the central anniversary exhibition at the Bundeskunsthalle looks at Beethoven’s life, work and influence. Around 250 unique loans from German and international collections, some of which have never previously been shown, convey a multi-faceted picture of the artist and the man. The highlights include original writings and historical musical instruments that were of key significance to Beethoven’s compositions. An extraordinary exhibition experience is promised by a special chair from Canada that translates sounds into vibrations: Using the chair, visitors can feel music throughout their entire bodies without hearing it. 

Dates: 17 December 2019 to 26 April 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 10 May 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: 17 May 2020 to 25 October 2020

Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

Aussenansicht des Picasso Museums Münster, © Joachim Busch
Blick auf die Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, © Tourismus & Congress GmbH Region Bonn,Rhein-Sieg,Ahrweiler
Gasometer Oberhausen in der Dämmerung, © Ruhr Tourismus GmbH Jochen Schlutius
Das Museum Ludwig Köln bei Nacht, © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln

Discover more

Museum Marta Herford on Herford, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Top-Exhibitions 2020

Zeche Zollverein aus der Luft, © Jochen Tack  Stiftung Zollverein

Industrial heritage

Duisburger Weihnachtsmarkt, © FrischeKontor Duisburg GmbH, www.krischerfotografie.de

Christmas Markets

Das Dach der Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, © Tourismus & Congress GmbH Region Bonn,Rhein-Sieg,Ahrweiler.jpg


Sicht auf den Düsseldorfer Medienhafen inklusive Rheinturm, © Tourismus NRW e.V.