As a transparent exhibition centre, the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl displays sculptures from the fields of both Classic Modernism and contemporary art – not only within the museum itself, but also within the urban space.
For those visiting Marl for the first time, the museum can be somewhat difficult to find. This is because, in Marl, it's a little harder to tell where art stops and the town starts. The Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten building is somewhat concealed, situated under the meeting wing of the town hall, next to the large flight of steps leading to the registry office.
Founded in 1982, the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten – "Glaskasten" being German for "glass box" – very much lives up to its name, with all of the exhibition space being completely surrounded by large, glass surfaces. Here, the exhibits on 20th century art, Classic Modernism and contemporary art are not hidden behind metre-thick walls. Instead, they are transparently and deliberately displayed out in the open, visible to passers-by in the street. The collection includes works from Auguste Rodin, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti and Wolf Vostell, among others, as well as from contemporary artists such as James Turrell, Bogomir Ecker, Felix Droese and Isa Melsheimer.
Another way in which the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten can be recognised from the street is thanks to the writing which spells out "Les Fleurs du Mal" – part of an installation from Düsseldorf-born artist Mischa Kuball. The letters are lit up at night, meaning that they can always be read. The installation also includes a large concrete vase, placed at the bottom of the flight of stairs and which the residents of Marl are encouraged to fill with flowers.
The museum's exhibits are not only limited to those which feature inside the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten. Approximately 100 additional sculptures, from (Hans) Arp to (Ossip) Zadkine, have been placed around the local area which surrounds the architecturally striking town hall, the artificial City-See lake, and the town area as a whole. The closer you approach the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten on foot, the higher the concentration of large sculptures to be discovered.
In 1990, another branch was added to the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten in the form of the Paracelsus-Klinik. The collection which is housed there comprises around 50 20th-century works of art.
Electronic art also has a place in Marl. Every two years, the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten awards the Marler Medienkunst-Preise series of awards – which consists of the Marler Videokunst-Preis and the EUROPEAN SOUNDART AWARD – to national artists who work with the media of video and sound. The prize winners are then presented in the museum in the form of an exhibition.
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