Art in tunnels and subway stations, nightclubs in museums and lots of innovative art projects - Düsseldorf is a hotspot for creative people. A well-mixed museum landscape of established houses and exciting young galleries has formed in the city on the Rhine. Nowhere else in Germany is there such a large number of museums in such a small area. In almost every street in the city districts of Altstadt, Carlstadt and Friedrichstadt there is a museum, not always immediately recognizable from the outside, but there nonetheless. From the Natural History Museum to street art to the almost 150-year-old Ständehaus: Düsseldorf has the right museum or art project for every city traveler, regardless of lifestyle. And often it's not just a matter of looking, but also of taking part:
World-class international artists and contemporary works with the courage to criticize in unique architecture: The KAI 10 is not a classic museum and perhaps for that very reason the ideal destination for open-minded, tolerant and inquisitive visitors. In the privately run exhibition rooms at the MedienHafen, works by international, young artists are shown. In addition to the exhibitions, there is a diverse supporting program: Guided tours and discussions with the artists give you the opportunity to engage with the works in different ways.
Exciting information about the mutual relationship between the city and the artist is provided by the Beuys city tour. Between the Johannes Rau statue, the art academy and the Beuys bar, you will learn why Beuys is inextricably linked with Düsseldorf.
A real highlight in the Düsseldorf cultural scene and known worldwide is the Art Palace. Art treasures by Rubens, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Frank Stella and Davic Hockney, among others, are presented here on three floors. The collection includes late medieval sculptures, Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries, works of German Expressionism to contemporary art. Highlights include the multi-monitor installation "Fish Flies on Sky" by Nam June Paik and the Joseph Beuys room.
Another highlight in Düsseldorf's city center is not to be missed: The two houses of the Kunstsammlung NRW, the K20 and the K21. Behind its curved, gleaming black granite façade, the K20 houses the K20 at Grabbeplatz art of the 20th century. The permanent collection of the house includes works by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian and Klee. The K21 is located in the Ständehaus, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The former parliament building on the Kaiserteich, which was the seat of the state parliament until the late 1980s, now houses the Contemporary Art Department. You'll find large sculptures in the attic under the large glass dome. Since June 30, 2021, the walk-through net installation "in orbit" by Tomás Saraceno has also been open again. The walk-through artwork is a construction of almost transparent steel nets stretched across three levels. The panoramic view over Düsseldorf is also spectacular here. And if you need a break after all that amazement, the Restaurant Pardo's on the first floor is a good address. However, thanks to the psychedelic wall design by artist Jorge Pardo, you may well have to marvel here for a while longer.
You are individual, like to try out new things and love the colorful life in big cities? Then these museums and art projects are just right for you: Directly under Düsseldorf's Rhine embankment promenade - in a space that lies between the tunnel tubes for car traffic - was created in 2007 with KIT - Art in the tunnel a spectacular meeting place for contemporary art opened. The works of young artists are exhibited between the purist concrete walls. On display are about four to six temporary exhibitions per year with a focus on young, contemporary art from the fields of sculpture, painting, photography, video and installation art.
And not far from the Rhine Tunnel, you can also admire underground art - without having to pay an entrance fee. The six subway stations of the Wehrhahn line were all designed by artists with a connection to Düsseldorf. "Art and Magic in a German Metro" - that's how the New York Times describes this spectacular subway line.
The special thing: From the very beginning, no "art on the building" was planned, as is usually the case. Instead, architects, engineers and artists developed and implemented the design concept for the subway stations together. The result is six extraordinary buildings that are worth a visit even if you don't want to take the subway. If you want to know more about the artists and their works, you can also visit the stations with a Guide visit
You can also use the Wehrhahn line to get from the south of Düsseldorf to the old town. Here you will find another museum with a program for young individualists and trendsetters. The art gallery on Grabbeplatz, popularly known as the "art bunker" because of its windowless concrete façade, shows changing exhibitions of contemporary art that repeatedly address social discourses and thus cause a sensation. Where art connoisseurs cavort during the day, there is dancing at night. In 2004, the same building opened the Salon des Amateurs, a legendary nightclub for avant-garde electronic music.
But the statement par excellence for urban art in Düsseldorf is the countless graffiti, sticker art, urban knitting and guerrilla gardens. Here, what was illegal years ago is now highly regarded in many places. For example, the approximately 2,000 colorful Pacman ghosts by Pdot are as much a part of the cityscape as the ten column saints by Christoph Pöggeler. For those who would like to get an overview of Düsseldorf street art, there are Street Art Tours offered. And if you want to bring art from the street into your own four walls, you should pay a visit to the Gallery Pretty Portal near the Bilk train station.
The collector Gil Bronner created in Düsseldorf in a former glass factory in the traditional workers' quarter Flingern spectacular art spaces, whose architecture has won several awards. The collection has a strong connection to the art academy and to local artists, but Bronner juxtaposes them with international greats.
Two institutions in Düsseldorf have devoted themselves entirely to digital art: Across the Rhine in Oberkassel is the private collection of entrepreneur Julia Stoschek, unique in Europe, housed in a former frame factory. It specializes in time-based media art and shows works by Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman and Marina Abramović, among others. It's mostly videos, single and multiple projections of analog and digital footage, and computer- and net-based installations. And the cool thing is that online, before your visit, you can check out over 200 works from the Julia Stoschek Collection view free of charge.
By no means should you miss the exhibitions of the NRW Forum. The museum has a very mixed program from the fields of photography, contemporary art, digital culture, design and pop culture. In group and solo exhibitions of international relevance, in festivals, symposia, film screenings and workshops, the NRW-Forum addresses current social issues. Participation is expressly encouraged! From August 2021, a very special exhibition will also be on show here: The Augmented Reality Biennial with new AR works by international artists. The digital sculptures will be on display throughout the Ehrenhof and Hofgarten. With the help of special apps, virtual elements will be inserted into the real environment and visible on your own smartphones or tablets.
Also available online is the archive of the IMAI Foundation - Inter Media Art Institute. You can access more than 1300 works free of charge via the imai online catalog. The imai is located in the NRW-Forum, which is situated between the Rhine and the Hofgarten. Here you can find the collection of about 3000 national and international works. They are shown in regular exhibitions.
You prefer to be outside in nature, like to have a lot of green around you and still want to experience top-class art? Then these museums are made for you:
The Langen Foundation has its origins in the collection of the founder Marianne Langen and her husband Viktor. The exhibition house designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando is itself a work of art. The Langen Foundation is programmatically dedicated to the dialogue between the cultures of the East and the West, particularly in its engagement with contemporary art.
And if you are already in the Düsseldorf area, why not take a detour to the Museum Hombroich Island. Walking through the 21-hectare landscape conservation area, you can discover ten walk-in sculptures, some of which are used as exhibition buildings. The museum was initiated by Karl-Heinrich Müller, who wanted to give his extensive art collection of modern and contemporary works as well as artifacts from the Asian and African regions an appropriate setting.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Düsseldorf: Plan arrival.
His animal motifs populate Paris in particular, but also London and New York. Now the artist Ardif has made a trip to Düsseldorf and left this raccoon under the bridge on Corneliusstraße © Düsseldorf Tourismus - Photo: Markus Luigs
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