In these difficult economic times, more and more cities are getting behind museums as an anchor for international cultural stature. Here the Wall Street Journal looks at the newly opened Museum Brandhorst
Munich’s new Museum Brandhorst, which opened this week in a striking new building designed by Berlin architects Sauerbruch Hutton — and backed with a €120 million grant to fund future acquisitions — aims to vault this Bavarian city into the contemporary-art big leagues. The museum is the new home of more than 700 works of 20th- and 21st-century art collected by Udo and Anette Brandhorst, who started acquiring art in the 1970s. […]
The collection also includes important works by Andy Warhol. “Brandhorst concentrated on two very prominent artists: Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol. They cover more than half of the collection,” says Carla Schulz Hoffman, the acting general director of the Pinakothek and the Museum Brandhorst.
Among the Warhols are his portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. There are self-portraits of the artist and late works like his Last Supper and the famous Camouflage Series along with two Oxidation Paintings.
The Brandhorsts collected art methodically, acquiring large numbers of works representing the working lives of the artists they loved. British artist Damien Hirst, whose sculptures and installations are preoccupied with medicine, death and anatomy, was among them. In the 2007 installation “In This Terrible Moment We Are Victims Clinging Helplessly to Our Environment that Refuses to Acknowledge the Soul,” Mr. Hirst created 27,000 life-like pills and set them in an eight-meter-long mirrored cabinet. It took six curators a full week to place the numbered tablets of bronze, resin and plaster, in their proper place in the installation.
Bloomberg adds to the story with this description of the building and the way the collection was built:
Now the 750 art works collected by the Cologne-based couple have a new home, with the opening of the Brandhorst Museum. The eye-catching building, near the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich’s museum complex, shimmers with color on the outside, while the inside functions on the white cube principle, with well-filtered light and space in abundance, no decor to distract and plain yet imposing oak floors and staircases.
Designed by architects Matthias Sauerbruch and Louisa Hutton of Sauerbruch Hutton in Berlin, the museum is cloaked in horizontal stripes of sheet metal, arranged in three zones of color. Above that skin is another layer of 36,000 thin, vertical ceramic rods, each approximately 1 meter in length, in 23 different colors ranging from dark violet to light yellow.
The colors reflect and blend differently, according to where you are standing and the light. There is nothing garish about the unusual cladding; it has a glittering, opulent elegance that suggests precious contents, like a jewel box. The colors allow the building to stand out as a museum without making a major statement in the city landscape.
The Brandhorsts began collecting in 1971 and their first joint purchase was a 1929 collage by Joan Miro. They later turned to contemporary art.
In 1993, they created a Munich-based foundation to manage both the art and capital for future acquisitions. The state of Bavaria financed the 48 million euros ($67 million) construction costs of the museum in return for a long-term commitment to Munich by the foundation. Anette Brandhorst died in 1999. Udo Brandhorst played a role in choosing the design for the museum and attended its opening.
Contemporary Stars at Munich’s New Museum (Wall Street Journal)