You can look, but don’t touch
People in Düsseldorf know that appearances count. The city is Germany’s capital of fashion. But it’s not just the high-end shops in the famous Königsallee that are worth seeing. Düsseldorf has many first-class art and design exhibitions to offer, too. Unlike the shops along the "Kö", they have a strict rule: You can look, but don’t touch.
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Dusseldorf's artistic sides
Joseph Beuys, Joseph Fassbender, Jörg Immendorf, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Günther Uecker - all of these creative geniuses studied at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. The academy, founded in 1773, has reserved a special gallery for displaying the works of its famous pupils and teachers. Elsewhere in the academy you will find more exhibits from its centuries-old collection. The exhibitions are changed twice annually at the beginning of the summer and winter semesters.
Academy Gallery – new collection, Burgplatz 1, Tel.: +49-(0)211/139 62 23, Open Wednesday through Sunday 12 noon–6pm, www.kunstakademie-duesseldorf.de
Underground art: KIT Kunst im Tunnel, perhaps the most spectacular art exhibition forum in Düsseldorf, is hidden in a tunnel beneath the busy Rheinuferpromenade. Here, in a so-called "restroom" situated between the two tubes of the tunnel running along the banks of the Rhine, is the meeting-place of the avant-garde of the contemporary art scene. Entrance is through a glass pavilion on the promenade.
KIT – Kunst im Tunnel, Mannesmannufer 1b, Tel.: +49-(0) 211/892 07 69. Open Tuesday through Sunday 11am-6pm, Admission €4 (reduced rate €3), www.kunst-im-tunnel.de
In Daniela Steinfeld’s Galerie Van Horn you will find works of established Düsseldorf artists regularly interspersed with provocative items from the Underground Art, Grotesque Art and Psychological Art scenes. The name Van Horn comes from a village in Texas, near which stands Fort Marfa, a former military base that has been converted into a vast open-air exhibition of contemporary art.
Galerie Van Horn, Ackerstrasse 99, Tel.: +49-(0)211/500 86 54. Open during exhibitions Tuesday through Friday 2-6pm, Saturdays 12 noon-4pm, at other times only by appointment, www.van-horn.net
City of collectors and important works of art
At the entrance to the Medienhafen (Media Harbor), which is becoming increasingly popular with designers, stand the sales- and showrooms of the famous furniture manufacturer Thonet, where exhibits of classic pieces of the bentwood and tubular steel furniture that made this firm internationally famous are on display. Like Chair No. 14, which revolutionized the Viennese coffeehouse scene at the start of the 20th century, or the pioneering designs of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer right down to the latest models from top designers like Norman Foster, Piero Lissoni and James Irvine.
Thonet Sales- und Showroom, Ernst-Gnoss-Strasse 5, Tel.: +49-(0)211/15 76 07 20. Open Monday through Friday 2-7pm, Saturdays 11am–4pm, or by appointment wwww.thonet.de
Julia Stoschek is a young collector specializing in modern media art. Her collection of 400 works includes photographic, video, performance and installation art by artists such as Bruce Nauman, Marina Abramovic and Olafur Eliasson. She exhibits them in a former factory building that has been listed for preservation.
Julia Stoschek Collection Düsseldorf, Schanzenstrasse 54, Tel.: +49-(0)211/585 88 40. Hours vary according to the exhibition on display and are mostly by private appointment (stating viewer’s name) or registration, www.julia-stoschek-collection.net
The museum kunst palast Foundation is not particularly interested in conventional types of museum. It sets its own priorities and expects its curators to follow these. For example, its collection includes Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1616/18), works of the 19th century Düsseldorf school and just about the entire interior of the Cream Cheese, an artists’ bar opened in 1967. The Hentrich Glass Museum, one of Europe’s largest collections of glassware, also belongs to museum kunst palast.
museum kunst palast Foundation, Ehrenhof 4-5, Tel.: +49-(0)211/899 02 00. Open Tuesday through Sunday 11am-6pm (Thursdays 11am-9pm), www.museum-kunst-palast.de
Pictures: Sackermann/Bilderberg, Hans Rathschlag/Nachlass Joseph Fassbender, KIT, Jan Albers/Daniela Steinfeld, museum kunst palast