history of the kunstmuseum wolfsburg
The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg opened in 1994 with a retrospective exhibition on the French artist Fernand Léger. Since then 130 exhibitions on modern and contemporary art have been presented. The museum’s founding director was Gijs van Tuyl, who served until 2004. He was followed from 2006 to 2014 by Markus Brüderlin. Ralf Beil has been our director since February 2015.
In the more than twenty years since its opening the museum has shown large-scale retrospective exhibitions from the area of classic modern art, for example Fernand Léger, Bart van der Leck and Alberto Giacometti, much-noticed survey shows such as “Full House,” “German Open,” “The Italian Metamorphosis 1943–1968” and “Blast to Freeze.” Monographic exhibitions have been devoted to such artists as Carl Andre, Andy Warhol, Luc Tuymans, Olafur Eliasson, Frank Stella, James Turrell, Imi Knoebel, and Jeppe Hein. With the start of the new directorship in 2006 the program placed contentual accents in large-scale historical and thematic exhibitions, including “ArchiSkulptur,” “Japan and the West,” “Interior/Exterior,” “The Art of Deceleration” and “Art & Textiles” as well as in extensive mid-career retrospectives devoted for example to Douglas Gordon, Neo Rauch, Philip Taaffe that took up the theme of modernism in the 21st century, illuminating it from various perspectives. With “Wolfsburg Unlimited. A City as world laboratory,” Ralf Beil presented his first major exhibition in which the city was reflected in the museum – and the museum in the city.
The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg is a privately-sponsored museum supported by the non-profit Kunststiftung Volkswagen. The project was able to get underway thanks to start-up funding provided by Volkswagen, the city of Wolfsburg and private donors. The subsequent building and the museum’s operation expenses are financed by the Kunststiftung Volkswagen. A large part of its funds come from the foundation of Asta and Christian Holler, the founders of Volkswagen-Versicherungsdienst VVD. In recent years the Kunstmuseum has also received project-based support from Volkswagen Financial Services AG.
The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg has been collecting international contemporary art since 1994. A solid foundation was laid with key works from the field of Minimal Art, Conceptual Art and Arte Povera. Works by a younger generation of artists were subsequently added. It was never the intention to assemble a broad encyclopedic collection, focusing instead on prominent major works, ensembles and work phases in addition to the exemplary presentation of artistic developments. The result is not a documentation of so-called “currents” but concentrates instead on artists and artworks representing important aspects of contemporary art. The collection presently encompasses circa 400 works or ensembles.
Artists Represented in the Collection (A Selection)
Carl Andre, John M Armleder, Christian Boltanski, Helmut Federle, Gilbert & George, Douglas Gordon, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Merz, Mario Merz, Bruce Nauman, Panamarenko, Julius Popp, Neo Rauch, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall.