Current exhibition

Venice
Fascination and myth

06.03.2020 – 21.06.2020

For centuries, Venice has had a very special attraction for travellers and artists from all over the world. More than 30 million tourists come to Venice every year to be enchanted by the city’s magnificent churches and palaces, its winding canals and rich cultural heritage. From March 7 to June 21, 2020, the kunsthalle messmer will be presenting the theme show „Venice – Fascination and Myth“ with works by international artists who drew their inspiration from the fantastic lagoon city. The exhibition presents historical city views, paintings, photos and objects by Hundertwasser, Salvador Dalí, Joe Tilsohn, Malte Sartorius, Max Peiffer-Watenphul and Horst Janssen, among others. The focus of the wide-ranging exhibition is on modern art and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

But the dangers that threaten the existence of this 1500-year-old World Cultural Heritage site are also discussed – for example, giant cruise ships or increasingly frequent floods that threaten to sink the city into the lagoon. A multimedia installation transmits the unique soundscape of the Serenissima to visitors and takes them virtually into the lagoon city.

More information about the city of Venice


Venice is the origin and muse of countless unforgettable works of art. With its canals connected to the sea and its 398 bridges, the lagoon city forms an inspiring backdrop. With the Renaissance and the Venetian school, the golden age of painting began. The great masters Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and later Tiepolo, Canaletto and William Turner bear witness to the great artistic past of a city that has always attracted artists of all kinds. Until the 16th century, Venice was considered an important maritime and commercial power. The marvellous splendid architecture still bears witness today to the ancient wealth of the Serenissima. Until 1797, Venice was the official capital of the Republic of Venice. With more than 180,000 inhabitants, Venice was considered one of the largest cities in Europe. Today, the lagoon city has virtually no Venetian inhabitants and the city and the economy are increasingly focused on tourism. Even today, the lagoon city is still a destination for painters from all over the world, who are inspired and stimulated by this magical place. The Venice Biennale, in particular, is an important and major international event in the world of art.

Let yourself be carried away by the history and culture of this fascinating lagoon city!

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Marilyn Monroe
Life and Legend

20. september 2019 – 01. march 2020

Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) is still one of the most photographed women in the world today. She fought her way through Hollywood Studios from starlet to megastar from the poorest of circumstances. She was aware of her charm and handled it as disarmingly as hardly any other Hollywood diva. Nevertheless, she managed to convey a fresh and free image of women to a whole generation of young women. The photographers Barris, Grant, Greene, Kelley, Nygård and Stern captured Marilyn Monroe in her timeless beauty. Her unique blend of sex appeal, vulnerable innocence and comedy makes her irresistible to both men and women.

Marilyn Monroe. From the series: The Last Sitting, 1962 © Bert Stern

In the exhibition „Marilyn Monroe – Life and Legend“, the kunsthalle messmer shows more than 100 epochal works which, in addition to the various facets of Monroe, also illustrate the zeitgeist of this epoch in an exciting way. Photographs by, among others, Milton H. Greene, Bert Stern, Barris, Grant, Kelley, Nygård, as well as works by modern artists up to the contemporary period, such as Andy Warhol, Arman, and Werner Berges, revive the myth of this icon of pop culture.

Marilyn Monroe’s Leben

Just two weeks after her birth, on 1 June 1926, Norma Jeane Baker was given to a foster family. For fifteen years, the young girl was passed back and forth between five families and the orphanage. To finally escape from the orphanage, she agrees at the age of 15 to marry her neighbour Jim Dougherty, whom she barely sees due to his military service. In 1946, after just five years, the two divorce. As early as 1944, at the age of 18, she was discovered by military photographer David Conover. Already one year later she is a sought-after model. In 1949, Tom Kelley records the charms of the young Marilyn, which are only passed on in 1952 for a highly successful calendar. In 1953, one of the photos even made it to the centerfold of the first Playboy edition. Soon the film industry became aware of her. She takes dance and acting lessons and adopts her stage name. Her most successful film becomes „Some like it hot“. At the end of 1954 Marilyn Monroe founded her own production company Marilyn Monroe Productions Inc. in New York with the photographer and long-time friend Milton H. Greene. In 1954 Marilyn married the baseball star Joe DiMaggio. After only nine months they divorce again, as DiMaggio can’t handle her immense popularity. Her third husband is the playwright Arthur Miller, with whom she experiences stability for the first time. However, her addiction to tablets and alcohol causes her to break.

Come and explore the fascinating history of this icon of pop culture!

Pressestimmen zur Ausstellung

september 2019
Subject to change without notice.

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