Germany off the beaten track

An entirely new city district has developed over the past few years in Münster's old harbor, the area surrounding the Kreativkai (Creative Quay). © Dietmar Wirlitsch

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Culture

Münster – Where art and urban spaces meet

In Münster, one is literally quite likely to stumble over art anywhere. “Art in public spaces” is the longstanding motto of the “Skulptur Projekte", an event that has placed Münster firmly on the international art map. Held every ten years, it attracts huge numbers of visitors to the city from all over the world. And the first portents are already making themselves felt as the next event will be coming soon – from June to September 2017. Past events have left their marks with objects or installations – meanwhile around 60 of them – to be found everywhere in the city, including works by Henry Moore, Eduardo Chillida, Claes Oldenburg, Rosemarie Trockel or Ilija Kabakov, to name just a few. An informative guide is now available in the shape of newly developed app entitled “Skulp.Tour Münster” (available for Android).
 
Kunst am Aasee (Art at Lake Aa) ©Ralf EmmerichAnd another important outcome is that the idea has developed a momentum of its own, with public spaces regularly serving as a stage for new artistic interventions also during the ten-year interval in between. Some of the most recent example include the Rehberger installations to be found in the area surrounding the central station, where lowly switchboxes have been turned into surrealistic sculptures, or the exploration of Münster’s urban spaces by “Flurstücke” a festival of critical and creative events that also leave off the beaten track.

But of course, art in Münster is not something that only takes place outdoors. After a programme of alteration and rebuilding lasting several years, Münster’s LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur (LWL Museum of Art and Culture) returned to the international art scene with a bang. Besides the outstanding special exhibitions, the highly impressive permanent collection, with works ranging from the Mediaeval to the Avant-Garde, can now be shown on an additional 7,500 square metres of space. The spectacular “Courtyard” architecture of the new extension has met with particular acclaim: With its bold contemporary language, it joins up to the historic original building, and at the same time opens up new pathways and spaces for the city. Only a few steps away, the Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster, located in a historic town house of the Westphalian nobility, boasts the world’s biggest collection of graphic works of Picasso and attracts art lovers from the whole of Europe with its permanent displays and exquisite special exhibitions. Altogether, over 30 museums offer interest and enjoyment for art lovers – including such jewels as the thousand-year-old cathedral treasures or masterpieces of Asian lacquer art.

Graphikmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster (Pablo Picasso Graphics Museum Münster) ©Joachim BuschAt the same time, the very latest in contemporary art is also regularly on display in the Kunsthalle Münster in the docks area, as do the city’s other art galleries – with new works coming not least from the vibrant arts scene that has grown up around the Kunstakademie Münster (Art Academy)

And altogether, it is this mix of established and upcoming activists and institutions that make Münster’s cultural scene so extraordinarily lively and varied. Alongside over 30 museums, eleven theatres, a Varieté theatre and around 20 cinema screens, there are also any number of other events that need a large, small or no stage at all.

Whether grand opera à la The Magic Flute in the Theater Münster (City Theatre), a play by Kleist in the Wolfgang-Borchert-Theater, which has now moved to a spectacular new home in the historic Flechtheim-Speicher building in the docks area, or the latest avantgarde dance theatre in the Pumpenhaus Theatre it’s all there, and which one may be choosen is just a question of the theatre programme and personal taste. With the City of Münster Symphony Orchestra, the musical theatre section of the Theater Münster, the Musikhochschule (Academy of Music) and many independent ensembles, lovers of classical music can choose from a rich variety of offerings throughout the year. And the same also goes for jazz fans, who even have their own special event: The Münster International Jazz Festival, held every two years for a weekend in January. And also in the years in-between, with the aptly named, equally high-quality “Jazz Inbetween” event.

Cultural facts and figures

Since 2014, following a five-year period of rebuilding and extension, the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kulturnow has over 7,500 square metres of additional exhibition space.

An institution with high international esteem: The “Geschichtsort Villa ten Hompel” – in cooperation with Yad Vashem in Israel and the Holocaust Memorial Washington, among others – counts as one of the leading centres of research into the perpetrators of the Holocaust. The building is scheduled for reopening with a completely new permanent exhibition on 29 March 2015.

Once every 10 years: The "Skulptur Projekte Münster" (founded in 1977 by Klaus Bussmann and Kasper König) is the world’s most important event devoted to the subject of "art in public spaces" – the next “Skulptur Projekte” is coming very soon: 10 June to 1 October 2017, curator: Kaspar König.

Once every two years, the start of the year is marked by the International Jazzfestival Münster (next date: January 2017), and in-between, there is Jazz Inbetween.

The Theater Pumpenhaus was the first independent theatre in NRW, while the Wolfgang Borchert Theater is one of Germany’s oldest private theatres.

Extremely influential as a composer and musician, with his last resting place in Münster: Louis "Moondog" Hardin (1916 – 1999). From the 1940s to the 1960s, the blind street musician was an icon of the New York City scene. Philip Glass and Steve Reich credit him with having crucially influenced the development of their minimalist music. After a concert tour in 1974, Moondog spent the rest of his life in Germany, with the last two years in Münster. His grave in Münster’s “Zentralfriedhof” cemetery was designed by his friend, the Viennese artist Ernst Fuchs. In May 2016, Moondog would have been celebrating his 100th birthday.

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