Contemporary art Germany

New Koons in old-school Frankfurt…

…and a work by Demand for revamped Städel

Works by Jeff Koons, below, will share space in the Liebieghaus

The ancient, medieval and baroque sculpture in Germany’s Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung will share space in the 19th-century villa with some shiny guests in the shape of sculpture by Jeff Koons, including new work. An exhibition of the US artist’s work, which he will place among the classical sculpture, is due to open in June 2012 (until October).

It will be co-organised by Vinzenz Brinkmann, head of the Liebieghaus’s antiquities collection. Max Hollein, the director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, approached Koons to stage a solo show in the Kunsthalle, but the artist preferred to do something in the smaller Liebieghaus. Hollein is the director of both museums. Next summer, paintings by Koons will be on show in the Schirn at the same time.

The artist fell in love with the Liebieghaus after visiting the city on his way to the German company Arnold, which made his oversized works in polished steel, such as his late 1990s “Balloon Flower” sculptures. “It won’t be like Versailles,” says Hollein, referring to the controversial installation of Koons’s work in the royal chateau near Paris in 2008.

Meanwhile, a room-sized installation by Thomas Demand is to be unveiled next month in the Städel Museum, the third Frankfurt institution that Hollein directs. Metzlersaal, 2011, a response to the collection’s Old Master paintings and Demand’s largest site-specific work, is named after the meeting room in which it will hang. The photographic work, based on a paper sculpture, will create a trompe-l’œil of floor-to-ceiling purple curtains. Until Hollein pointed it out, Demand was unaware that Gerhard Richter’s still-life of drapes, Large Curtain, 1967, is also in the museum’s collection.

The commission is part of the Städel’s active acquisitions policy. It took its pick of the Deutsche Bank collection last year, taking some 600 works of art on long-term loan, plus more than 200 photographs from the DZ Bank. A 3,000 sq. m gallery space, featuring eight-metre-high ceilings, is to open in February 2012. The subterranean space, designed by architects Schneider and Schumacher, will be top-lit thanks to 195 openings that stud its lawn-covered ceiling. The extension cost €31m and the refurbishment of the Städel’s old building, €14m.

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