Special Exhibitions

November 15, 2019 – June 21, 2020
Ready to go! Shoe-motion
The exhibition is conceived as a tour of the cultural and social history of footwear. Featuring some 500 pairs of shoes, it focuses on the emotions that different types of footwear can arouse. The high-heeled shoes of the baroque and rococo periods were a status symbol that ostentatiously elevated the wearer above the common people. Shoes can also be a symbol of power or a signifier or statement testifying to the allegiance of the person wearing them to a particular group. This is true of cyber goth boots, for example. The importance of footwear from a gender perspective forms the common thread that links gamines sporting Oxford shoes and dainty drag queens in their high heels. The exhibition also turns the spotlight on voyeurs who get their kicks from looking at certain types of footwear. As a fetish, shoes set collectors’ pulses racing, demanding absolute devotion. Pumps – the archetypal women’s shoe – are worn for their seductive qualities, while stilettos can whip up a frenzy of sexual desire in some or serve as a painful instrument of torture for others. Many women have endured pain and deformation to make their feet small and dainty in the name of sexual attractiveness. While in China this famously took the shape of lotus or lily feet, and yet the bunions caused by Western fashion are no less telling an example. No exhibition on this topic would be complete without considering shoes as a practical means of helping people get from A to B. Here, we explore the significance attached to the original function of the footwear – primarily to protect the feet and provide support while standing and walking. The old rubber tires, cork, straw, wood and nails used during the days of wartime hardship are juxtaposed with materials that artists and designers experiment with today, such as tree fungi, corn, pulverized stones and animals’ hoofs. Some 30 outstanding and in some cases outlandish shoes designed as objects by international artists provide a contrast to the items from the Museum’s multifaceted collection, adding a more abstract note to the exhibition’s concepts and messages.

December 20, 2019 – February 23, 2020
Video portraits by Kurt Benning and Hermann Kleinknecht
In 1996, artists Kurt Benning (1945-2017) and Hermann Kleinknecht (born 1943) started work on a long-term project – “Videoporträts” (video portraits). It involved getting members of the Munich art scene along with ordinary people of all social classes, professions and ages to talk about the things that matter to them. What emerged was an extremely diverse collection of (self-)portraits of individuals who reveal themselves not only through the spoken word but also through tone of voice, gesture and body language. By depicting a broad spectrum of very different people, these video portraits provide a compelling snapshot of contemporary Munich society.
Under the title of "Bilder für Alle" (A Picture for Everyone), the exhibition also presents a number of open, "democratic" portrait projects conceived by Kerstin Schuhbaum, Barbara Donaubauer / Ulrike Frömel, Jadranka Kosorcic, Gabriele Drexler and Timo Dufner. These contemporary works complement the large number of predominantly historical portraits in the Münchner Stadtmuseum’s collections. They explore new ways of representing the people who live in our city, crossing the boundaries between individual and stereotype.

February 7 – June 6, 2020
Vorbilder / Nachbilder
This exhibition presents, for the very first time, around 200 original photographs selected from the collection of template images and specimens held in the Berlin University of Arts archives – the only collection of its kind in Germany. They once served as illustrations and teaching aids at the Berlin Academy of Arts and the renowned College of Applied Arts (attached, at that time, to the Museum of Decorative Arts), both predecessors of the Berlin University of Arts. The collection includes 25,000 photographs taken by famous photographers such as Fratelli Alinari, Ottomar Anschütz, Ludwig Belitski (Minutoli Collection), Karl Blossfeldt, Georg Maria Eckert, Constant Famin, Wilhelm von Gloeden, Jakob August Lorent, Guglielmo Marconi, Albrecht Meydenbauer, James Robertson, Henry Peach Robinson and Giorgio Sommer - just to name a few. A number of objects once used as teaching aids for botany have also been preserved, notably bronze sculptures and herbaria produced under the direction of Moritz Meurer. Other treasures include drawings and artistic studies. All these items have been the focus of a research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The exhibition is the fruit of close collaboration with the Berlin University of Arts archives and will also be mounted at the Berlin Museum of Photography at a later date.

March 7 – 15, 2020
13th Munich Junior Book Fair
More than 5,000 children’s books and other media for all the family are on display at Munich Junior Book Fair. The Fair is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm every day, and admission is free.
It offers an imaginative and varied program of events, with workshops examining literature from different perspectives, tours, and readings from books ranging from gripping detective stories to fascinating non-fiction not to mention beautifully illustrated picture books.

May 29 – September 13, 2020
A World in Transition. The Art of the 1920s – from Otto Dix to August Sander
The 1920s was a time of great extremes and contrasts, full of hope and despair, light and shade. In this exhibition, painting and photography enter into dialogue to illuminate a period which, while abounding in artistic innovation, was also showing growing signs of the impending cultural decline brought by the Nazis. The movements of New Objectivity in painting and New Vision in photography, with their modern styles, strove to achieve an objective, true-to-life or veristic representation of their subjects. The exhibition traces this artistic dialog through a series of portraits, particularly nudes and self-portraits, cityscapes, still lifes, images of industry and technology and political collages. It showcases some 220 photographs, paintings and graphic artworks alongside the leading photographic publications of the day and selected films by avant-garde artists. Created in cooperation with the Bucerius Kunst Forum museum in Hamburg, it features works by artists such as Aenne Biermann and Erwin Blumenfeld, Otto Dix, Hugo Erfurth, Carl Grossberg, Florence Henri, Hannah Höch, Karl Hubbuch, Germaine Krull, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Walter Peterhans, Max Radler, August Sander, Christian Schad, Rudolf Schlichter, Georg Scholz, Sasha Stone and Umbo.

July 17 – September 27, 2020
FORUM 051: Jonathan Danko Kielkowski – unbounded
US photo artist and documentary photographer Richard Misrach once said that “Beauty entices people to stop and look”. Photographer Jonathan Danko Kielkowski (b. 1988) transforms his documentary images into works of art. His chosen subjects are places forgotten and abandoned by human history. His images document traces of humankind’s encroachment on and exploitation of the natural world and yet are free of any recriminatory tone sometimes found in journalistic photography. Take, for example, his photographs of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which grounded off the Tuscan coast in 2012.The Nuremberg photographer managed to swim aboard and photograph the wreck shortly before it was scrapped. Kielkowski’s most recent work and book are devoted to Pyramiden, an abandoned Soviet coal mining town on the island of Spitsbergen. This area’s bizarre and moribund landscapes stand as testament to failed technological visions of the future.