Over the last few weeks I had the absolute pleasure of visiting some fabulous Frankfurt exhibitions!  Admittedly I was lucky enough to sneak in just before they all had to close again!  And again they remind one of the power of art.  Power not only in its creation and viewing but the power to impact through its message!    

Must See Frankfurt Exhibitions this Spring

Once again The Städel and The Schirn do not disappoint with their newest exhibitions!  Exploring and walking the halls is still one of my favourite pastimes!!  Three incredibly different exhibitions but all exceptionally impactful in the messages and stories they tell!

Max Beckmann – The Frankfurt Years, The Städel Museum

The Städel presents Max Beckmann – The Frankfurt Years.

This exhibition connects with Frankfurt on so many levels.  Firstly, Max Beckmann spent the longest and a key phase of his life in Frankfurt where he produced a large portion of important works.  And secondly, it was in Frankfurt that he developed his characteristic style which would go on to define his work.

The Städel has for the better part of the past 100 years been a strong advocate of Beckmanns work.  Notably collecting and studying the artists work over the years.  Most recently, thanks to a large joint coming together of both institutions and private donors The Städel acquired the iconic Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass (1919).      

It is this piece that sets the exhibit in “motion”, drawing you in and then almost as if to release you it sets you off in an anti-clockwise direction around the exhibition.  In addition to this, the exhibition is set into three sections:

  1. The Self-Portrait.  Beckmann’s fixation with this genre is nearly unmatched in classical modern art
  2. Print making.  Drypoint etchings, drawing and lithography
  3. Beckmann’s life in Frankfurt

Exhibition has been extended until Extended until 8/29/2021

George and Gilbert, Schirnkunsthalle

Calling themselves ‘Living statues’ as they make no distinction between life and art, Gilbert and George have been creating art for over half a century together!  Also, there is no denying that the pair know how to make a statement!  From their very distinctive formal attire to the topics they address in their large format art works.  GO BIG is definitely an idea they subscribe to!

Never one’s to shy aware from big issue topics their art works cover everything from sex, religion, corruption, violence, hope, fear, racial tension, patriotism to addiction and death.

Frankfurt exhibitions

Magnetic North, Schirnkunsthalle

Magnetic North explores Canada and it’s “fairytale” history and landscape.

The exhibition begins by introducing the viewer to the Group of Seven.  A group of artists working to illustrate the Canadian landscape in way they felt to be authentic.  The concept of ‘Method Acting’ popped into my mind as way to describe the way they were attempting to create their paintings.  Immersing themselves in the landscape that they were painting and illustrating, initiating the first Canadian National art movement.  However, the illustrations of pristine untouched landscapes contrast with the reality of the the indigenous people who have inhabited and worked the land for generations! A glaring ‘over site’!

Lisa Jacksons film ‘How a people live’ works to highlight and draw attention to this ‘over site’!  The short film traces the history of Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw a First Nation (an indigenous Canadian people).  Detailing how the Canadian government with complete disregard forcibly uprooted and relocated them leaving far reaching consequences for generations to come alcoholism, homelessness and overcrowding.  The film was moving and simultaneously incredibly uncomfortable to watch!  Confronted more and more by my white privilege I am ashamed of how rarely this privilege is used to uplift but all too often to oppress.  The complete disregard and lack of understanding of one group of people for another literally sucker punches you in the solar plexus.

The impact of Magnetic North, in my opinion, is the two very contrasting stories conveyed in the  exhibition.  Perception vs reality, colonial vs indigenous, choice vs lack there of, and how ignorance is something so many of us ‘easily’ subscribe to!

The Digital version of Magnetic North is available to view until the museum is allowed to open it’s doors again!

Also, the rotunda remains open during lockdown meaning Caroline Monnet’s Transatlantic film is available to watch!  Take a wander through the slightly quieter Römer and take a peak!