Das Kunstwochenende / the Art Weekend in Munich 2015 – (EN)

  • 15.06.2015

From 2010 to 2013, the Art Weekend / Kunstwochenende in Munich took over the city as an annual occasion to make a statement: if there is going to be a jour fixe such like an art weekend, it should concentrate the forces, the network and quality of shows on the latest art fluctuations.

Avoiding a condescending agenda, eighteen to twenty galleries connect to the international drive of artistic, curatorial, theoretical and market-related practices.

If there is anything Munich has to prove for itself, is that it can be more than traditional or opulent. And this new image depends on an art scene that allows the freshest proposals to be part of the system. Things had to adjust on the attitude of the Art Weekend, for good.

It started as an oasis in the midst of everything else. It meant exclusivity, yes, but nevertheless it was too alternative for the city, even if they tried to show to care for creating synergies between the galleries and the institutions of the city. The curators invited to give artists talks and the panels discussions organized around the shows were certainly not only relevant, but also marking the difference between what had been done before the Art Weekend.

The Art Weekend in Summer 2015 offers something else than the other years, and the public has the right to look at it with certain skepticism. It was quiet around the board in 2014; Karl Pfefferle left the advisory chair, followed by Matthias Kunz and Barbara Gross as the organizers of the KW’s 5th Edition. However, their Facebook profile was a deserted absurd, Tanja Pol decided not to participate this time, the same happened with Christine Mayer. Esther Donatz gallery is closing her gallery by the end of the season; similar rumors surround Nusser & Baumgart. But complaints about the Art Weekend haven’t been public.

It’s been almost two years since the Art Weekend / Kunstwochenende last took place (October, 2013), due to date variations that are not to be underestimated. Until now, Fall has been the most important season of the year. It has been said that all happens from Fall on: the international fair for antiquities and classic modern art HIGHLIGHTS, the season starts for the theaters, the fatigue of collectors is over after the summer holidays, the Open Art – the more democratic event where institutions and most all other exhibition spaces presenting together special features – takes place the second weekend of September every year.

Since 1989, the Open Art has been organized by the association of local galleries (Initiative Münchner Galerien), which has a directive board managed now by gallery owners such as Michael Heufelder, Gudrun Spielvogel and Walther Mollier (Galerie Tanit). Moreover, the association Initiative Münchner Galerien maintains so far a monthly issue – almost iconic to the Munich tourist – where more than 70 exhibition spaces are listed.

But the Open Art has been constantly losing its forte; the last panel discussion they presented was in 2012, with a subsequent heavy eight-year pause. Their program became a pretty generic bulk of exhibitions here and there, with no orientation (not even for the spectator) to follow. As if in Munich there wasn’t enough to be discussed. Not to mention the Night Art, which happened parallel to the opening of the Venice Biennale promising a long evening full of events, but closing down at 9pm (therefore making no sense). The same happens with the regionally flavored Kunstareal-Fest, which celebrates the museums unit in downtown Munich, being a perfect distraction for the museum goers.

2015 plays a role for the sculpture of the Art Weekend / das Kunstwochenende: The event leaves Fall for Summer, doing a strategic intersection through the year; and maybe the most crucial one.

For what the Art Weekend attempts to create is exactly what Munich needs: a stronger image of galleries as linkages between local and international art production, as well as between visual arts and the other métiers such as the film industry and the Opera, both very prolific in the Bavarian capital.

The Warholmania show at Museum Brandhorst – presented by Glenn O’brien and Katja Eichinger, curated by Achim Hochdörfer and Patrizia Dander – makes already the shift from the museological to the cinematographical value of Warhol’s oeuvre, while the Opera commissions Professor dr. Barbara Vinken to organize a Women Congress called “City of Women” after Fellini’s film. The congress invites visual artists, designers, drag queens and theoreticians to discuss 13 hours long current issues of gender, equality and female representation. An event easy to connect to the perspectives presented at the Lea Lublin retrospective at Lenbachhaus.

The Art Weekend has carefully chosen its dates, and to have a good timing is a very hard thing to manage. Even if it is happening after the Art Basel, these 18 galleries will take – for at least the last weekend of June – the protagonist role on the stage of cultural networking. It's time to push it forward.