The arrival of the newest kid on the block, the Brandhorst Museum, has added a fresh, new dimension to the Munich Art Quarter. Designed by the Anglo-German architect team of Matthias Sauerbruch and Louisa Hutton, it is set to be a major draw, and not just for lovers of 20th and 21st century art.
The outer skin of the long, narrow building is hung with 36,000 glazed ceramic rods that shimmer in myriad colours depending on the light. On the subject of colours, green is prominent in the Brandhorst Museum’s philosophy: its state-of-the-art lighting concept makes use of every last shaft of daylight, while energy-saving technology keeps the galleries at the right temperature. Inside are three exhibition floors connected by a sizeable staircase. The building’s outer fabric is specially designed to absorb traffic noise.
Works by Bruce Nauman displayed in the Brandhorst Museum focus on the dynamics of human relationships, both psychological and physiological. The way the body functions, and how parts of the body function, for instance hands and heads, and what role is played by violence and sexuality, are all explored here by the artist in his works on paper (Big Welcome, 1985; All Thumbs, 1996), in plaster (All Thumbs, 1996), in wax (Two Heads on Base #1, 1989) and in a video sequence (Violent Incident, 1986). The neon sculpture Mean Clown Welcome (1985), a major work, takes these subjects to the extreme.
The Brandhorst Museum has one of the largest Warhol collections in Europe, with well over a hundred works by the artist. It is notable that all of Warhol’s creative phases, including the very early ones, are represented by high-quality works. The museum’s collection includes early drawings in Warhol’s seminal dotted-line style, hand-painted dollar bill works from the 1950s and his famous prints of celebrities and flowers. There are also groups of works dating from the 1970s and 1980s in which Warhol focuses on the culture of glamour and on metaphysical themes. Thanks to the Brandhorst Foundation, the museum is able to continue acquiring works to supplement its unique Warhol collection.