Up close and personal
The exploration of modern and contemporary art offers ever new opportunities for special experiences and insights: be this at the Museum Ludwig during exclusive previews or on guided tours with curators, during studio visits or on art trips in Germany and abroad. A few selected highlights provide an impression of our highly diverse program:
2023 Wolfgang Hahn Prize to Francis Alÿs November 2023
A great evening came to an end! The award ceremony of the Wolfgang Hahn Prize 2023, followed by a festive evening and convivial get-together in the “Ludwig im Museum” restaurant in honor of the Belgian artist Francis Alÿs, took place at the Museum Ludwig on November 17, 2023. In the presence of the artist, his multifaceted work was honored in festive speeches. As part of this year’s prize, the two-part work Untitled from his Sign Painter Project (1993-97) was purchased. Francis Alÿ’s work is a reflection of precise observations of society and his environment in which he combines his own concerns and political conflicts.
Preview Füsun Onur September 2023
Lively rush! On September 14, our preview of the current exhibition “Füsun Onur. Retrospective” took place in the foyer of the Museum Ludwig. The work of the Turkish artist Füsun Onur (*1938) was honored. Her diverse oeuvre tells stories from life. Through an openness to materials and the special use of everyday objects, Onur creates installations that captivate through their play with surface and space. Her close connection to her hometown of Istanbul with its proximity to the Bosphorus becomes clear again and again, familiar materials and colors refer to her deep roots. Füsun Onur’s examination of individual experiences and current social issues invites reflection and immersion.
New year's event 2023 February 2023
At the joint New Year’s meeting of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst and the Concert-Gesellschaft Köln, members had the unique opportunity to attend a dress rehearsal of the Gürzenich Orchestra. Under the direction of guest conductor Lorenzo Viotti, the musicians played pieces by Peter Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninov. In the Museum Ludwig, guided tours presented new works from the collection and the presentation Kiss, kiss. In memoriam Lady Renate Gruber.
2022 Wolfgang Hahn Prize to Frank Bowling November 2022
What a celebration! In November 2022, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst celebrated the artist Frank Bowling (*1934 in Bartica, Guyana) with an award ceremony at the Museum Ludwig and a festive dinner at the Flora Köln. He was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize for his unique abstract painting, which combines the spirit of American color field painting as well as British abstraction to create an incomparable, very independent position. Thanks to the artist’s generosity, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst was able to acquire the painting Flogging the Dead Donkey (2020) for the Museum Ludwig as the first work in a German public collection. The prize was accepted by Frank Bowling’s son, who performed on stage with his band Doc Bowling and the Blues Professors after the dinner.
Preview Isamu Noguchi March 2022
On March 24, 2022, the preview of the major retrospective of the Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) took place at Museum Ludwig. His Akari lamps and coffee tables achieved international fame as design icons. The exhibition presented the artist’s multifaceted oeuvre – from playground designs to sculptures and stage sets – with a focus on his sculptural works. The uniquely playful and organic formal language of Noguchi’s sculptures, with their social and political references, always draws on his preoccupation with his cultural origins.
2021 Wolfgang Hahn Prize to Marcel Odenbach November 2021
On November 16, 2021, Cologne-born Marcel Odenbach (*1953) was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize. Thanks to the artist’s generosity, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst was able to acquire the Schnittvorlagen, a central foundation of his artistic work. With over 117 sheets that are constantly being added to, the Schnittvorlagen are a comprehensive, essential collection of material and an ongoing picture archive. In his working method of finding, assembling, collaging and blending, Odenbach creates his typical collages with motifs from different sources, an overarching theme or free associations. Odenbach’s works are often dedicated to social and political processes and show his preoccupation with questions of cultural identity, colonization and globalization.
25 Years Wolfgang Hahn Prize April 2019
On April 9, 2019, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst awarded Jac Leirner for the first time to a South American artist for her work. Since the 1980s, the principles of collecting, accumulating and classifying have been the focus of her oeuvre. As part of the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, her work Museum Bags (1985-2019) was purchased for the Museum Ludwig collection.
15th Young Acquisition April 2019
To mark the 15th anniversary of the “Junger Ankauf” initiative, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst presented a work by New York artist Trisha Baga at Art Cologne 2019: Mollusca & The Pelvic Floor (2018). Baga’s intermedia collage, which moves between sculpture, video and sound installation, now enriches the collection of the Museum Ludwig.
Preview 'Alibis: Sigmar Polke. Retrospective' March 2015
From March 14 to July 5, 2015, the Museum Ludwig presented one of the most extensive solo exhibitions of the artist Sigmar Polke to date. The show entitled Alibis: Sigmar Polke. Retropsektive was previously shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tate Modern, London. The preview gave members of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst exclusive access to the survey exhibition.
Sigmar Polke was born in Oels in 1941 and died in Cologne in 2010. He left behind an extensive oeuvre. Over 250 of his works were shown at the Museum Ludwig, including not only the well-known paintings but also prints, drawings, photographs, films, sketchbooks, objects, sculptures and photocopies created between 1963 and 2010. This is the first time that Polke’s oeuvre has been posthumously presented and honored in all its facets. The diversity of the various techniques can be seen, for example, in the treatment of his paintings, which he alienates with grids from the printing process, or through the manipulation of photographs, which he disturbs during the development process. The often ironic questioning of the visible and of social and media certainties is shown by the titles of works such as “Seeing things as they are”, which, significantly, appears mirror-inverted in the picture itself. In the Cologne presentation of the exhibition, Polke’s love of and for film received particular attention and was presented in a correspondingly comprehensive manner.