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Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen

The Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen's collection of paintings is, in the best sense of the world, representative, featuring a tour that traces the history of German art since the advent of Modernism. However, it's most unique feature is unquestionably how it presents kinetic works of art. The manner in which it combines these with related works from the fields of light art and op art make it stand out in particular, not just among the museums which make up the RuhrKunstMuseen, but across the art scene as a whole.


Kinetic Art – Moving Art

Not only when accompanied by children, when visiting the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen, your first stop should be the slightly darkened basement. Here, visitors are invited to move and touch a number of the artworks on display. This museum is without peer when it comes to emphasising how mechanics and motorisation are making their way into the field of art.

Once visitors have set aside their fear of touching and their general shyness towards the exceptional art, they can easily spend an hour listening to the sequences of musical notes produced by Peter Vogel's 3-metre tall speaking column – sequences which vary depending on how the light falls – or allowing themselves to be transfixed by Peter Segler's prismatic, pastel-coloured play on light, "Spin und Dreieck" (spin and triangle). Endless visual worlds and interior landscapes are opened up to the viewer in what is colloquially known as the "mirror room" but which is actually called "Repro Modul", an installation created by Inge Haas.


From Zero to curious treasures

In addition to works created by the Düsseldorf-based group ZERO (Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker), the museum is also home to works from the B1 art group, members of which can be found across the entire Ruhr area. This includes the playful objects created by Rolf Glasmeier as part of his series "Kaufhausobjekte" (department store objects), the light art created by Günter Dohr, or Kuno Gonschior's psychedelic toadstool, "Rundkonvex Rot-Grün-Violett" (Round Convex Red-Green-Violet), which bewilders the senses.

An absolute favourite among the locals of Gelsenkirchen is Kees Aafjes' mildly obscene sculpture of a beetle – sadly not always on display – which bears the name "Spanische Fliege" (spanish fly). Here, visitors are invited to stroke the beetle and, when they comply, it expresses its pleasure. Time and time again, the manner in which the museum's collection is presented is characterised by the contrast between strict experimentations with form and playful machines of association.


Finding your favourite picture

The upper floor currently makes visitors feel as if they are taking part in a large art fair – everyone finds their favourite picture in the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen's painting gallery. The exemplary acquisition policy of the 1950s has ensured that, today, a high concentration of different artworks are able to be displayed: from artists ranging from Max Liebermann to Auguste Rodin, from Ernst Ludwig Kirchner to Alexej von Jawlensky to Emil Nolde. Post-1945 German art is also represented here, for example in the form of Konrad Klapheck and Gerhard Richter. The collection, displayed along an elegant system of paths which leads along the stairs and balconies of the museum, displays big names in the art world alongside lesser well-known artists and features works that date up to the present. It is precisely this part of the collection which makes the museum a place of discovery for curious appreciators of art.

An additional focus of the collection is the artistic work of Anton Stankowski, a graphic designer who was born in Gelsenkirchen and who was responsible for designing logos for institutions such as the Deutsche Bank and the Börse Frankfurt. What's more, the museum owns over 3,000 paper-based works, which it presents in smaller exhibitions in its graphic prints department. The fact that the museum displays an ever-changing selection of contemporary artworks in the Alte Villa (Old Villa) is another aspect which perfectly rounds off a free – yet always worthwhile – visit to the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen.


Elina Kniss

22. June 2022
Musiktheater im Revier

Tagung „Kunst in der Kommune: Über die Gleichzeitigkeit von Innovation und Kontinuität deutscher Kunstpolitik nach 1945“

Elina Kniss

23. June 2022

Tagung „Kunst in der Kommune: Über die Gleichzeitigkeit von Innovation und Kontinuität deutscher Kunstpolitik nach 1945“

Das Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen veranstaltet in Kooperation mit dem Institut für Stadtgeschichte Gelsenkirchen die Tagung mit Förderung der Fritz Thyssen Stiftung für Wissenschaftsförderung.

Im Nachkriegsdeutschland stellte sich kommunale Kulturpolitik als eines der wenigen kaum reglementierten oder vorstrukturierten Politikfelder dar, kulturelle Förderung mutete hierbei nach wie vor als weitestgehend freiwillig an. Das Begriffspaar Kunst und Politik schien zugleich fast unzertrennlich mit Demokratisierung und Re-Education einerseits sowie Sozialismus und antifaschistischer Erziehung andererseits verbunden zu sein. Die Kommune kann - noch vor den Einflüssen der Institutionskritik - als der wesentliche Bereich verstanden werden, in dem die Kunst den Menschen unmittelbar gegenübertritt. Die Kunst wurde dementsprechend im Westen Deutschlands zu einem vermeintlichen Demokratisierungsparameter und die Kommune zum Ermöglichungsraum für unterschiedliche Kunstimpulse und -erzählungen. Allerdings war ihre Rolle ambivalent, da Räume für Kunst geschaffen und gleichzeitig verhindert wurden.

Vor diesem Hintergrund stellt die interdisziplinär angelegte Tagung die Frage nach der Gleichzeitigkeit von Innovation und Kontinuität in der kommunalen Kunstpolitik in der langen westdeutschen Nachkriegszeit. Der primäre Untersuchungszeitraum beschränkt sich auf die Jahre 1945 bis 1973. Zugleich ist ein Blick auf die Entwicklungen in der SBZ bzw. DDR als Vergleichsfolie ausdrücklich erwünscht.

Die Tagung ist kostenfrei, um Anmeldung wird gebeten unter

Elina Kniss

24. June 2022

Tagung „Kunst in der Kommune: Über die Gleichzeitigkeit von Innovation und Kontinuität deutscher Kunstpolitik nach 1945“

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