The Luminous West

The Luminous West, a survey at the Kunstmuseum Bonn through October 23rd, is framed as a “broad-based definition of where the art landscape of the Rhineland and North Rhine-Westphalia stands,” and “documents the measuring stick of the artistic legacy of this region.”


The catalog, from Kerber, is edited by Stephan Berg and Stefan Gronert, with a survey by Jürgen Harten and essays by Barbara Engelbach, Douglas Fogle, Günter Herzog, Catrin Lorch and Jürgen Rüttgers.

As “a deliberate signal for laying to rest the specter of the omnipotent curator,” the participating artists were chosen through a multi-step process: “Departing from a historical core, embodied by Joseph Beuys, Imi Knoebel, Blinky Palermo, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter… [t]he selection of the older generation was made by the academic team at the Kunstmuseum (Volker Adolphs, Stephan Berg, Stefan Gronert, Irene Kleinschmidt-Altpeter, Sabina Leßmann and Christoph Schreier).” These were:

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Anna and Bernhard Johannes Blume, Tony Cragg, Isa Genzken, Andreas Gursky, Georg Herold, Jürgen Klauke, Marcel Odenbach, Albert Oehlen, Ulrich Rückriem, Thomas Schütte, Katharina Sieverding, Rosemarie Trockel and Timm Ulrichs.

The “older generation” themselves then nominated the “14 younger artists, who, in their opinions, have the potential to further develop, respectively develop anew, the impressive artistic legacy of the Rhineland in a way that is productive for the future”:

Thomas Arnolds, Martina Debus, Simon Denny, Chris Durham, Claudia Fährenkemper, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, David Hahlbrock, Benjamin Houlihan, Bernd Kastner, Christian Keinstar, Erinna König, Gereon Krebber, Ursula Neugebauer and Michail Pirgelis.

Reviews by Roland Gross in Der Standard and Hanno Rauterberg in Die Zeit.