JEWELRY & THE CITY
MUNICH SCHMUCK 2022 REPORT
By Jason Stein
Englischer Garten. Photo: Chr. Ziegler.
I arrived in Munich at 8 AM on a Friday morning, a bit dazed and disoriented from the transatlantic flight. I was there to deliver my artwork to the Bayerischer Kunstgewerbeverein for the exhibition and show opening of "Metamorphoses", curated by Loukia Richards and Christoph Ziegler. My previous experience getting artwork into Germany involved having a grenade-like object held in customs for 5 months in 2020, so I was naturally a bit on edge. That first day consisted of exploring the Viktualienmarkt, seeing the Old and New Town Halls, taking in the impressive Marianplatz, stumbling across Weltraum gallery, eating a bratwurst, and passing out early.
Marienplatz, Munich. Photo: Jason Stein.
Day 2 started off with an excellent visit to Galerie Biró to check out their fabulous collection of work from contemporary art jewelers and introduce myself. Olga and Kinga Zobel were gracious and informative, and I greatly enjoyed our conversation about the contemporary art jewelry scene in Munich, Europe, and the United States.
From there I headed to the Pinakothek der Moderne, which was an impressive and stimulating experience. Some of the highlights on display include works from Joseph Beuys, William de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly. Also shown were several pieces by Tom Sachs, including a life-size foam-core model of a dumpster, which somehow fits these current times perfectly.
I then proceeded to the Die Neue Sammlung (International Design Museum) in the same building, where I marveled at examples of innovative and bold design in objects, furniture, and creative museum displays. As if all of that wasn't enough, hidden in the basement of the museum was the Danner Rotunda, which has been exhibiting international contemporary jewelry since 2004. The space is dramatic and atmospheric, and the work sublime.
'Rotunde' at Pinakothek der Moderne. Photo: Jason Stein.
On day 3 I took a walk around the old town center area and discovered the Munich Jewish Museum and Synagogue right around the corner. Reading the printed text and inscriptions on the exterior of the building and trading blank stares with the plainclothes security guards trying very hard to blend in was about all I could handle at the moment. From there I visited the gloriously over-the-top Asam Church, a private Baroque chapel built by the Assam brothers next to their office as as a construction demonstration and design catalog. On the way out I shared a moment with Death as he cut the thread of life. I spent the afternoon at the Deutsches Museum of Science and Technology, which was huge and a lot to process, but awesome. There was a large section devoted to the history of machining, with fully functional machine shops from various periods throughout history. They also had an impressive exhibition dedicated to the history of mining and mining technology, including a multi-story subterranean mine underneath the actual museum.
Pinakothek der Moderne, Photo: Jason Stein.
On day 4 I checked out the Odeonsplatz again, this time without the police and checkpoints prevalent on my second day. This was due to the Munich Security Conference. I walked through Max-Josephplatz, and found my way to the Residenz, a former royal palace of Bavarian monarchs which has elements dating back to the late 1300's. It was as impressive as one would imagine, doubly so given that much of what is on display is a reconstruction completed after the end of WWII.
By day 5, I was getting a bit worn down. I went to the Museum Brandhorst and saw work by Cy Twombly, Warhol, and others from the 20th century. I then went in search of coffee, and found "The Lost Weekend". The coffee was good, and it turned out to be the local college, liberal arts, and creative hangout spot.
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