Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany

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Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany
Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany - Bundeskunsthalle-9246.jpg
Federal Art Hall (2014)
place Bonn coordinates: 50 ° 42 ′ 51 ″  N , 7 ° 7 ′ 19.3 ″  EWorld icon
architect Gustav Peichl
opening 1992
Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany GmbH
ISIL DE-MUS-640415
Federal Art Hall (2014)
Logo of the Bundeskunsthalle

The art and exhibition hall of the Federal Republic of Germany , or Bundeskunsthalle for short , is one of the most popular museums in Germany . The exhibition hall, located on the Museum Mile in Bonn , shows changing exhibitions with important art treasures and cultural assets from all over the world. The sole sponsors are the federal government and the federal states , Rein Wolfs held the directorship from March 1, 2013 to the end of November 2019 , and Bernhard Spies was the commercial director. Patrick Schmeing has been commercial director since January 1, 2018. On August 1, 2020, Eva Kraus is to take over the management of the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Bundeskunsthalle was built between 1989 and 1992 together with the neighboring municipal art museum in Bonn .


The Bundeskunsthalle should represent the intellectual and cultural wealth of the Federal Republic of Germany appropriately and create opportunities for cultural exchange with other countries. It is also intended to be a forum for dialogue between culture and politics . From the beginning it was intended as a platform for changing exhibitions and events of both national and international rank; it is also intended to enrich Germany's cultural life. However, it should not have its own collections.

The main task of an exhibition hall is to show exhibitions from the fields of art, culture, history , economy , science and technology . Today's use as a place for lectures, discussions and social performances was intended from the start.

One of the tasks set out in the tender text for the building's architecture competition was to work with the Kunstmuseum Bonn to create open spaces for sculptures , activities and the like.


From the idea in 1949 to the planning and opening of the art and exhibition hall, a colorful arch spans a complex development history, the result of which can be traced back to the participation of many participants - artists and culturally and politically effective institutions and people.

Idea and planning

As part of the so-called capital city concept 1977 of the Federal City of Bonn, many initiatives to support the project were lined up. From November 2nd to 4th, 1978, artists and politicians met in the Steigenberger Hotel Bonn and in the Kulturforum Bonn-Center for a colloquium organized by the German Association of Artists to discuss the question “Do we need a Federal Art Hall?” In lectures and discussions.

The “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mehr Kunst für Bonn 1981”, an association of gallery owners, artists and museum experts, aimed for a federal art hall as a cosmopolitan forum for art in the capital. In the same year, the Friends of the Kunsthalle Bundeshauptstadt e. V. founded. Annemarie Renger, then Vice President of the Bundestag, persistently campaigned for her cause as chairwoman of the development association at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry for Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development under Oscar Schneider . The Center for Cultural Research Bonn under the direction of Karla Fohrbeck , the Kulturfonds e. V. and the German Cultural Council participated in the implementation of the project. On October 26, 1983, the then Federal President Karl Carstens received a poster folder with eleven motifs from well-known artists such as Joseph Beuys , Jörg Immendorff and Otto Herbert Hajek , who also drew attention to the urgency of a federal intellectual and cultural center.

16 patinated steel columns symbolize the 16 federal states, December 2006

In June 1984 the federal cabinet decided to build it. The Bundeskunsthalle should represent the intellectual and cultural wealth of the Federal Republic appropriately, be a forum for the dialogue between culture and politics also on an international level and fulfill a unifying function with regard to the still divided Germany. These demands should also be reflected in the architecture of the Bundeskunsthalle.

The suggestions and ideas of several groups and bodies were included in the text of an ideas competition, from which the design by the Viennese architect Gustav Peichl emerged as the winner in July 1986. At the beginning of 1987, the then Federal Ministry for Spatial Planning, Building and Urban Development and the Federal Ministry of the Interior set up a discussion group which had the function of an advisory board to provide technical support for the project.

Construction and opening

The foundation stone was laid on October 17, 1989 , and the topping-out ceremony was celebrated on September 12, 1990 . The opening took place on June 19, 1992. The construction costs amounted to 127 million German marks , around 65.2 million euros .

Criticism of the Federal Audit Office

At the beginning of 2007 the Federal Audit Office submitted an audit report to the budget committee of the Bundestag in which numerous serious violations by the managing directors of the Bundeskunsthalle from 1999 to 2006 were found. Thereupon the board of trustees and the shareholders' meeting of the Bundeskunsthalle canceled the employment contract of the commercial director Wilfried Gatzweiler, the managing director and artistic director Wenzel Jacob was released. On May 18, 2007 Otto Lindner , who was released from Deutsche Welle for this purpose, took over the management of the Bundeskunsthalle, until Bernhard Spies , a new managing director, was hired on January 1, 2008.

On June 25, 2007, Wenzel Jacob was dismissed by the shareholders' meeting and given notice of termination on December 31, 2007. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled in October 2010 that Jacob was not entitled to continued employment. Until the appointment of the new director, the Swiss Christoph Vitali took over this office, since January 2009 it has been continued by Robert Fleck . He left the Bundeskunsthalle prematurely on October 1, 2012, after the non-renewal of his contract and thus a resignation at the end of 2013 had already been mutually agreed. Fleck came under nationwide criticism because he only exhibited works from the Hans Grothe collection in a retrospective by Anselm Kiefer . He himself justified his early departure with the fact that his duties as artistic director and professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy could not be reconciled.


The characteristic light shafts of the building, in May 2014
Interior view in March 2006

The building designed by the architect Gustav Peichl forms an architectural contrast to the Bonn Art Museum opposite . The strictly geometrical structure rises above a square floor plan (96.3 × 96.3 m). He consciously closes himself off from the outside world. With its unprofiled, incised rows of windows and narrow gates, the 12 meter high, two-storey building exudes the cool dignity of ancient Egyptian architecture. 16 steel columns with a reddish brown patina , which flank the building on Helmut-Kohl-Allee (until August 2019 Friedrich-Ebert-Allee ), symbolize the 16 federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany. The roof with the three light towers that can be seen from afar is designed as a roof garden, which is intended to enable various exhibition installations.

Exhibition halls, foyer and lecture room are the core rooms, while offices, cabinets, workshops, library, bookstore and restaurant are located on the periphery. The diversity of the space on offer enables a versatile exhibition design: a large hall with 1300 m², a two-storey atrium hall with 3000 m², three galleries with 700 m² each and a central cabinet with 300 m² with room heights of 3.60, 4.30 and 9 meters. The forum for 500 visitors is included in the exhibition area and can be used in a variety of ways as a lecture and event space. In addition, there are television and audio-compatible facilities as well as translator booths.

In July 2010, the Berlin architecture firm AFF architekten won a competition to redesign the foyer, but the project was not implemented.

“Where modernity sought synthesis, Peichl's building offers coexistence. Despite all the monumentalism, all theatrics and ostensible self-confidence, he sensitively displays what the pioneering buildings veiled: the dangerous and inevitable tightrope walk of the museum between the place of learning and the temple of the muses. "


The collection focus of the freely accessible reference library with 50,000 media (2014) is on the history of exhibition.

Major exhibitions are usually documented through exhibition catalogs and secondary literature . In addition to general specialist literature and reference works, this also includes current art magazines , artist monographs , books on exhibition organization and technology, and works on the history of museums and collections. The library's holdings include a large selection of art literature with a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries. The specialist library receives current exhibition catalogs from other art halls and museums through the international exchange of documents. The library is an institutional member of the Association of Art and Museum Libraries .

The exhibition archive documents the exhibitions and events and the history of the building in detail through photos, slides, files and plans.

Special exhibitions

Presentation of the European brands 2008, from left: Frank Appel , Peer Steinbrück and James Rizzi

Two to four exhibitions are constantly shown on the 5600 m² exhibition area of ​​the Bundeskunsthalle. In the first ten years, over 100 exhibitions from the fields of art and cultural history, science and technology were presented. Since the Federal Republic of Germany acts as guarantor , it is always possible to bring art treasures of international importance to Bonn. The exhibition of the finds from Tutankhamun's burial chamber from November 2004 to May 2005 attracted around 850,000 visitors.

In her exhibition series The Great Collections , world-famous museums and their collection areas are presented, such as

The Bundeskunsthalle develops its own formats for art and science, such as Future Garden in 1996 . The endangered meadows of Europe with Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison , 1997/1998 Arctic - Antarctic or 2014/2015 in cooperation with Wikimedia Outer Space - Fascination Space , which recorded around 130,000 visitors.

Exhibitions from recent years (selection)

  • 2013/2014: 1914. The avant-gardes in battle
  • 2015: Petrit Halilaj . She, fully turning around, became terrestrial
  • 2015: Karl Lagerfeld . Fashion method
  • 2015/2016: Hanne Darboven . Contemporary stories
  • 2016: Pina Bausch and the dance theater
  • 2016: The Bauhaus . Everything is design
  • 2016: Parkomania. Prince Pückler's garden landscapes
  • 2016: Juergen Teller . Enjoy your life!
  • 2016/2017: The Rhine. A European river biography
  • 2016/2017: TOUCHDOWN. An exhibition with and about people with Down syndrome
  • 2016/2017: A Brief History of Humanity. 100,000 years of cultural history (an exhibition by the Israel Museum Jerusalem )
  • 2016/2017: Gregor Schneider . Wall to wall (curator: Ulrich Loock)
  • 2017: Katharina Sieverding . Art and capital. Works from 1967 to 2017
  • 2017: Iran . Early cultures between water and desert
  • 2017: The Persian Garden. The invention of paradise
  • 2017: Comics! Mangas! Graphic novels!
  • 2017: Aleksandra Domanovic veal carrier
  • 2017/18: Ferdinand Hodler - painter of early modernism
  • 2017/18: Gurlitt inventory . The Nazi art theft and the consequences
  • 2017/18: Federal Prize for Art Students. 23rd federal competition of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • 2017/18: Weather report on weather culture and climate science (curators Stephan Andreae, Ralph Burmester and Andrea Niehaus, in cooperation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the German Weather Service )
  • 2018: “Germany is not an island” Collection of contemporary art from the Federal Republic of Germany . Purchases from 2012 to 2016
  • 2018: Nasca . In the sign of the gods. Archaeological discoveries from the desert of Peru
  • 2018: Marina Abramović
  • 2018/19: Painter princes , in cooperation with Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie ( National Museum in Krakow ).
  • 2018/19: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner . Dreamed trips , curated by Katharina Beisiegel (Art Center Basel) in collaboration with the Kirchner Museum Davos and with Thorsten Sadowsky
  • 2018/19: Modern cinema. Film in the Weimar Republic (with the Deutsche Kinemathek Berlin )
  • 2019: Michael Jackson : On the wall
  • 2019: Goethe . Transformation of the world (curators Johanna Adam and Thorsten Valk)
  • 2019: From Mosul to Palmyra . A virtual journey through the world cultural heritage , curator: Aurélie Clemente-Ruiz
  • 2019/20: California dreams. San Francisco - a portrait
  • 2019/20: Martin Kippenberger . Please thank you. A retrospective , curator Susanne Kleine.
  • 2019/20: Beethoven . World. Citizens.Music
  • 2020: We capitalists. From beginning to turbo , curator Wolfger Stumpfe


In addition to exhibitions, stage events are also held in the Bundeskunsthalle. Concerts, theater performances, conferences, readings and film screenings take place in the Forum, an event hall with up to 600 seats. Permanent cooperation partners are the German Music Council , the Beethovenfest , the Jazzfest Bonn, the Theater Bonn , the Literaturhaus Bonn and the Bonn Kinemathek . In 2007 the Festival Drums Summit was founded, which takes place at irregular intervals exclusively in the forum and presents international drummers and percussionists as soloists or leading band members.

In October 2008 the forum of the Bundeskunsthalle hosted the World Chess Championship . An accompanying symposium on the cultural history of the game of chess was dedicated to the artist and chess player Marcel Duchamp .


Tent roof on the museum square (2009)
Cold square in the entrance area of ​​the Bundeskunsthalle (2006)

The forecourt, often referred to as the “Museum Square”, which belongs to the Bundeskunsthalle, was spanned by a tent roof from 1997 to 2012, under which concerts, cinema evenings and public viewing attracted visitors in the summer months . In winter there was an ice rink there. In February 2012, the tent was dismantled and sold after the open air concerts moved to a new venue.

Cold square

The artist Tom Fecht called an installation in the entrance area of ​​the Bundeskunsthalle a cold square . It is one of the permanent installations of the Names and Stones project , which is intended to remember people who have died of AIDS . The prominent deceased who are remembered by the paving stones in front of the Bundeskunsthalle in the installation include Freddie Mercury , Michel Foucault , Keith Haring , Miles Davis and Rock Hudson .


  • Kristin Feireiss (Ed.): Gustav Peichl: from the sketch to the building; Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany (with an essay by Dieter Bartetzko ). Ernst & Sohn, Berlin 1992, ISBN 978-3-433-02542-0 .
  • The art and exhibition hall of the Federal Republic of Germany . Bonn 1991. (catalog)
  • Deutscher Künstlerbund (Ed.): Art report - Bundeskunsthalle project, special edition
  • Bernd Wiese: Museum Ensembles and Urban Development in Germany - 1815 to the Present - Actors-Locations-Urban Design (Bonner Geographische Abhandlungen, Issue 120), Sankt Augustin 2008.
  • The Art Bulletin 1992 , No. 6
  • Andreas Denk and Ingeborg Flagge : Architectural Guide Bonn . Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-496-01150-5 , p. 90.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The Federal Government, Minister of State for Culture and Media Bernd Neumann press release No. 14/2013. Press and Information Office of the Federal Government, January 17, 2013, archived from the original on January 22, 2013 ; Retrieved January 18, 2013 .
  2. Patrick Schmeing becomes the new commercial director of the Bundeskunsthalle. In: Retrieved December 27, 2018 .
  3. The Federal Government Press Release 421: '' Eva Kraus will be the new director of the Bundeskunsthalle. Minister of State for Culture Grütters: "Highly qualified cultural manager secures reputation of the house" '' , accessed on December 13, 2019
  4. Stefan Koldehoff : ++ My car, my business trip, my eviction . Süddeutsche Zeitung , December 14, 2008, archived from the original on May 7, 2016 .;
  5. ^ Intendant Fleck leaves the Kölnische Rundschau prematurely on July 11, 2012
  6. Maximilian Mühlens: Inauguration of Helmut-Kohl-Allee at B9 - Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is committed to Bonn. In: General-Anzeiger . August 15, 2019, accessed August 16, 2019 .
  7. Redesign of the foyer of the Bundeskunsthalle 2010
  8. Bundeskunsthalle clears on General-Anzeiger, July 17, 2010
  9. Dieter Bartetzko: Objectivity and Magic . In: Kristin Feireiss (ed.): Gustav Peichl: from the sketch to the building; Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany . Pp. 13-23.
  10. ^ Exhibition Tutankhamun , November 4, 2004 to May 1, 2005
  11. a b c exhibition review
  12. WE CAPITALISTS - Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany - Bonn. Retrieved May 24, 2020 .
  13. ^ Badische Zeitung: When capitalism ignited the turbo - Culture - Badische Zeitung. Retrieved May 24, 2020 .
  14. EXPRESS from February 22nd, 2012: End of an era: The museum square tent is being dismantled here