Art is beautiful but hard work, too

Art is beautiful but hard work, too

In early May 2013 the Lenbachhaus will reopen after a major renovation and expansion. The opening of the new museum is the perfect occasion to review our history, take stock of our collection, test new constellations, present completed and ongoing restoration projects, and critically assess both familiar and hardly known works. The prospect of installing art in an empty building also invites us to more fundamentally reconsider the museum as an institution, its tasks and responsibilities.

The aim of this last show before the reopening is both to prepare for the presentation of our collection in the Lenbachhaus and to critically assess the work of a museum in general, particularly scholarly research and the conservation and restoration of the collection. The Kunstbau will become a laboratory where artworks are unpacked, and their conditions documented. They are unframed and reframed, consolidated and restored, and newly photographed. In some model spaces we are testing new ways to install our paintings. From Friday to Sunday the Kunstbau will be open, and the public is invited to inspect the results of these activities.

We will present several hundred major works and unknown treasures from the nineteenth century, the Blue Rider, New Objectivity, post-war modernism, and contemporary art. Experimental settings and arrangements break down chronological seeing conventions – we begin with heads, dozens of artists' self-portraits and portraits. The classification according to genres mirrors an important feature of Munich art history, in which freelance artists were often condescendingly termed “genre specialists”. The exhibition also offers re-encounters with groups of works by Lovis Corinth, Gabriele Münter, Hans Hofmann, and Günter Fruhtrunk, and with paintings which have recently been restored, including Franz von Stuck‘s “Salome”. Everything will be in motion, and displays will change continually.

Nothing could more aptly describe the aim of this exhibition project than Karl Valentin’s "Art is beautiful but hard work, too". The title speaks of art and all the work it entails while bowing to a prominent figure in Munich’s cultural history.

Curators: Helmut Friedel, Karin Althaus

Title of the Exhibition: Karl Valentin © Karl Valentin-Erben / c/o RA Fette