Düsseldorf might not get as much international attention as trendy art hub Berlin - a modern economic city that is built on business, banking and advertising. It doesn’t appear to be the most buzzing cultural centre but this Rhine city is one of Europe’s best.
With Boss business suits and polished brogues commonplace, walking in certain parts of the city doesn't feel very artsy. But Düsseldorf’s experimental architecture — Frank Gehry’s being the most striking — booming nightlife, and prestigious art school collectively make it one of the best cities in Germany to see and make contemporary art.
Forming a Rhine triumvirate with Cologne and Bonn, there is much to explore artistically in the region. From some of Europe’s best contemporary art galleries, to the internationally famed Art Düsseldorf, to ARTPIQ’s new Summerhouse residency, Düsseldorf is not just a city for now, it has the potential to rival the very best European cultural hubs in the future.
Here is our guide of the best art happenings in Düsseldorf right now.
The best contemporary art galleries in Düsseldorf
1. Galerie Max Mayer, Düsseldorf
Worringer Straße 64, 40211 Düsseldorf
Current Exhibition — Nicolás Guagnini. The Male Maze and Some Trompe L’oeil. 10 May - 30 June 2018
Son of the art dealer Hans Meyer, Max Mayer set up Galerie Max Meyer to create programmes that reflect and add to Düsseldorf’s rich cultural history. You may have seen the gallery at Art Basel or Frieze Fair, and in Düsseldorf, the gallery exhibits some of the most engaging contemporary artists from across the globe.
From Sarah Kurten, a German contemporary artist who lives and works in the city, to Japanese film installation artist Ei Arakawa, to the current exhibition which explores the work of Argentinian artist Nicolás Guagnini — who challenges masculinity, gender and conventional notions of beauty — Gallerie Max Mayer always stands at the forefront of contemporary art in Düsseldorf.
2. Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
Grabbeplatz 4, 40213 Düsseldorf
Current Exhibition — Liu Xiaodong. Langsame Heimkehr. 9 June - 19 August 2018
Open since 1967, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf has been at the heart of Düsseldorf’s contemporary art scene since the very beginning. Forming a hub for artistic inspiration, it has prodded, provoked and galvanised the city — putting on world-class shows that rival galleries like the Tate Modern in London and the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
Over the past decade the gallery has exhibited some of the most well-known contemporary artists. From Hans-Peter Feldmann — one of Düsseldorf’s best conceptual artists, to Tomma Abts, to the latest retrospective by the Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is a gallery that not only challenges art itself, but expectations too.
3. Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf
Schanzenstrasse 54, 40549 Düsseldorf
Current Exhibition — Generation Loss, 10 Years of the Julia Stoschek Collection. 10 June - 29 July 2018
Unlike the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Galerie Max Meyer, the Julia Stoschek Collection focus on one type of art — spatiotemporal installations. Opened in 2007 it is built in a former industrial modernist building. The Julia Stoscheck Collection has been home to over fifteen exhibitions and eight international collaborative projects since it first opened, attracting over 100,000 visitors.
Over its decade-long history, it has become a pillar of the artistic community in the city. The current exhibition, in collaboration with British artist Ed Atkins, explores the way in which video as a medium allows generations of artists to speak to each other. Visibly connecting the works in the gallery’s vast space, the exhibit allows the almost fifty artists featured to speak directly to each other through their works.
4. Art Düsseldorf 2018
16-18 November 2018
The highlight of the year, not just for artists, but for the entire city, Art Düsseldorf is one of Europe’s best celebrations of contemporary art. The art fair, hosted at Areal Bohler, will exhibit over a hundred established, young, regional and international galleries — taking in some of the world’s best young artistic talent. In 2017 Art Düsseldorf attracted 43,000 visitors, and 2018 is going to be bigger than ever.
You can find out more about Art Düsseldorf 2018 by clicking here.
5. ARTPIQ Summerhouse 2018
13-31 August 2018
Of course, we couldn’t mention art in Düsseldorf without mentioning the ARTPIQ Summerhouse. Though this year will be the first, some of the best emerging talent from around the world will convene to create and collaborate in the Rhine hub. Works created by the artists will be exhibited in Düsseldorf, providing the city a chance to explore the latest trends emerging in the art world.
For investors and collectors, there will be an opportunity to meet the artists and buy the created works. This year, the residency is centred around the theme of water — a topic intrinsically linked to big topical issues like water shortage and climate change — as well as linking the art produced to the Rhine itself.
If you would like more details about the ARTPIQ Summerhouse 2018, you can find out more here.