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Retrospect: 14 July 2018—25 November 2018

Let’s Demonstrate! – Ulm School of Design 1968


In 1968, the year of the student movement, the Ulm School of Design (HfG) was closed. An ambitious educational project of the early years of the Federal Republic of Germany had come to its close.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s the city of Ulm had develloped into a cultural and political hotspot in the Federal Republic of Germany, not least because of the avantgarde design school and the impact it had.

Members of the Ulm School of Design had tried to establish a new world, with social equality, good living conditions in a well designed environment.

In 1968 the still young Federal Republic was shaken not only by the students’ revolt. For the first time since the beginning of the economic boom after World War II (Wirtschaftswunder) the economic growth stagnated. In addition to that a discussion sprang up about the role of industrial design within modern consumer society.

This discussion continues until today. Briefly before its closure the Ulm School of Design debated these ideas itself. 50 years later an exhibition will look at the events on and around the Kuhberg.

An accompanying catalogue will be published for the exhibition.

Retrospect: 5 May 2018—7 October 2018

Why Art?


One of the most spectacular discoveries in archaeology, the 40,000-years-old lion man, the largest sculpture of Ice Age art and the oldest depiction of a mythical creature, is on display at Museum Ulm. It was discovered in the Hohlenstein-Stadel in the Lonetal near Ulm, one of six caves in the Swabian Jura, which is regarded as one of the most important findspots of human-made art and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

The declaration of the caves with the oldest Ice Age art as UNESCO World Heritage Sites creates an ideal occasion for an exhibition that dives into one of the big questions in human history, the question of what drives the urge for artistic creation and of the significance of art for the various cultural nations up to this date.

The joint exhibition of Museum Ulm and kunsthalle weishaupt explores the question of the why, of the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to create art. It investigates what may be the existential benefit humans gain through the independent act of artistic creation. It presents examples from the art’s past and present. Avoiding a Eurocentric point of view, it also investigates the respective categories of non-Eurpean art practices.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensively illustrated publication, as well as by an extensive programme of public events.

An exhibition project by Museum Ulm in cooperation with kunsthalle weishaupt.

Retrospect: 7 July 2018—23 September 2018

22nd Art Triennial Ulm

From July 07 to September 23, 2018 the BBK – Ulm e.V, the Kunstverein Ulm, the Künstlergilde Ulm e.V. and the Museum Ulm are organising the 22nd Art Triennial Ulm at the Museum Ulm. This platform for Ulm artists was created in 1955 by the then museum curator Herbert Pée to provide an insight into the artistic work of the region. With the motto “Why Art?” all artists born in Ulm, Neu-Ulm, Alb-Donau-Kreis or in Landkreis Neu-Ulm were invited to submit their applications with works created in the past three years.

The motto of the 22nd Art Triennial Ulm is based on the simultaneous exhibition in Museum Ulm and kunsthalle weishaupt, in which everything revolves around the question of where the human need for design and art creation lies. The applications were judged by an independent jury consisting of art scientists, artists and curators.

An accompanying catalogue will be published for the exhibition.


Retrospect: 3 March 2018—17 June 2018

Zhuang Hong Yi – Flowerbeds


East and west, tradition and modernity, discipline and free thinking: Chinese artist Zhuang Hong Yi (*1962 Sichuan/China I lives in Rotterdam and Peking) unites these seemingly disparate concepts almost effortlessly, condensing them into works that are more wall installations than paintings, due to their very haptic, three-dimensional character and the iridescent colour gradients.

His Flowerbeds are like heads of blossoms growing from out of the canvas, sometimes delicate, sometimes pastose, using rice paper, ink and lacquer reminiscent of Chinese craftwork, while stylistically oscillating between European Neo-impressionism and western abstraction. An integral characteristic of Zhuang Hong Yi’s works are the expertly engrafted iridescent colours, prompting new effects and perceptions caused by the observers’ slightest movement. Zhuang Hong Yi utilises the basic idea of kinetic art. However, it is not the object that provides the motion, it is caused by the perceiver’s activity.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of public events.

Retrospect: 6 May 2018—3 June 2018



Albert Einstein (1879 Ulm – 1955 Princeton/New Jersey) not only revolutionised physics and our view of the world. His statements regarding culture, politics and pacifism keep inspiring generation after generation all over the world. To honour one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century, Albert Einstein’s native city, the city Ulm, invited internationally renowned artist Ottmar Hörl to create a serial sculpture project in the public space. From 6 May 2018 until 3 June 2018, his Einstein sculptures can be marvelled at on the Minster Square.

At the same time, Museum Ulm presents an exhibition with current material, paintings, text, sculptures and photo concepts by Ottmar Hörl, examining topics that sparked Albert Einstein scientific curiosity: His fascination with space, asteroids, dark matter or the potential of human imagination. Ottmar Hörl’s artistic intervention in the public space and in museums provide a diversity of intersections with epistemology, art, society and science.

Ottmar Hörl (*1950, lives and works in Frankfurt/Main, Nuremberg and Wertheim), professor at and president of the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg, is particularly well known for his radical, forceful concepts and temporary large-scale projects with batch produced sculptures in the public space. He is regarded as one of the most versatile German artists and received numerous awards. His works have found their way into important museums and collections, like the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, the Albertina museum in Vienna or the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

: A joint project by the city of Ulm and Museum Ulm.

The Einstein sculptures (plastic material, 94 x 32 x 22 cm, engraving Ottmar Hörl) in green grey, blue and bronze are available from the Tourist-Information at Stadthaus Ulm. Subscription price until 31 August 2018 is € 300,- apiece. Signed and limited edition of 76 are € 600,- apiece. (regular price € 350,- / € 700,-). You can also order by sending an email to

Retrospect: 27 January 2018—13 May 2018

Digital Sculpture – Follow the Unknown


A sculpture is floating in a digital environment, constantly changing its size or surface property. Such a work can’t exist in a reality bound by the laws of physics. The possibilities offered by the digital realm enhance the creation of art and the contemporary artists’ power of innovation, honoured for the first time with the award for digital sculpture, offered by HfK+G* Ulm and the laureate exhibition at Museum Ulm.

Besides painting and architecture, sculpture is one of the most important fields of art history. However, the traditional definitions and characteristics of a sculpture, which is created by adding or removing material, lose their validity in the digital realm. 3-D models may appear in a similar shape, but they are bound by a different set of principles that are to explored and grasped artistically. While the presented works have their individual visual and contentual focus, they all deal with essential areas of our digital times, issues that affect all of us every day. The also illustrate how entangled the spheres of virtuality and reality are.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication (Edition Cantz, Status Verlag / 80 p. / Ger./Engl. / € 18,-), as well as by a extensive programme of public events. The catalogue can be ordered here.

The exhibition is a cooperation with the Institute of digital art at HfK+G*, Ulm

Retrospect: 10 April 2018—14 April 2018

aVOID – Tiny House on Tour


Living in 9m²: ‘aVOID’ is the first mobile apartment that comes in the shape of a terraced house. Developed by young Italian architect Leonardo Di Chiara, this prototype can easily bear comparison with a Swiss army knife: All the comfort needed for sleeping, cooking and living can literally be pulled from the white walls into the empty void of the room. Less is more. This minimalist principle is the biggest feature in Di Chiara’s Tiny House, approaching the idea of a sustainable lifestyle, developing a concrete model for the growing population of urban nomads.

aVOID has been at the ‘Tinyhouse University’ at Bauhaus Campus Berlin for one year, as part of a public neighbourhood of Tiny Houses that invited people to question, debate and develop concepts of living and residential models. Now, Leonardo Di Chiara is taking his house on tour, travelling from Berlin to Rome, via Munich, Ulm and Milan. In Ulm, his Tiny House will make a stop at the campus of former Ulm School of Design (HfG). For the duration of its stay, you can visit the house and join the accompanying programme: short-term stays in the house, guided tours, talks, ‘Ulm Artist in aVOID’, as well as a workshop with Tinyhouse University founder Van Bo Le-Mentzel.

Retrospect: 25 November 2017—8 April 2018

41 Minutes – across the Swabian Jura on Archaeologic Tracks


41 minutes – will be the travel time of regional trains between Ulm and Stuttgart on the new ICE line crossing the Swabian Jura. The extensive excavations conducted at the same time as the railway construction provided unique insights into the settlement history of the Swabian Jura from the Neolithic to the High Middle Ages. The archaeological finds are presented publicly for the first time in a special exhibition at Museum Ulm.

The archaeologists unearthed remnants of settlements, graves and transport routes from all eras, from the Neolithic Age 6,000 B.C., the eras of the Celts and the Romans, up until the High Middle Ages. Apparently, some of our modern routes of mobility align with transport axes that date back thousands of years.

In addition to the archaeological finds from a time span of approximately 7,000 years discovered in the Swabian Jura, the exhibition also presents finds from the same periods recovered during the construction of the train path continuing to Stuttgart via Wendlingen. During the excavation for the new underground lines at Stuttgart main station, archaeological evidence from the aforementioned periods was found as well.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication (144 pages, scientific contributions, well illustrated, Thorbecke Verlag; available at the ticket desk for € 18,- or in any book store for € 20,-), a detectives booklet for kids, as well as by an extensive programme of public events. The catalogue can also be ordered here.

Retrospect: 3 February 2018—2 April 2018

Between Chairs


Summer 1965 in Ahmedabad, India. Hans Gugelot, lecturer at the HfG Ulm (a successor institution of the Bauhaus) is a guest of the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad (NID). Together with Indian designer Gajanan Upadhyay and students he designs the Indian Lounge, also known as 24/42 Chairs. This exemplifies the combined effect of two design approaches – the system design of the HfG Ulm and the low-cost design from Ahmedabad. Made from teak and Indian fabric, the suite draws on local craftsmanship traditions in respect of materials and fabrication and merges these with contemporary design.

At the time, the collaboration in this summer workshop is already embedded in an international network. It also reflects the ambitions of a modern India, which formed the basis for the foundation of the National Institute of Design – an institute with a curriculum that delibaretely drew also on its own cultures.

The 1960s were a time of change: In the geopolitical context of the Cold War and national independence, post-war mass consumerism and ‘development’, the two schools – the HfG Ulm and the NID in Ahmedabad – formed a particularly fertile ground for the redefinition of the relationship between design and society. The dialogue between Germany and India tells us about global modernism, and also about its rifts: On the one hand, the HfG Ulm, which promoted a radically scientific approach to design and closed in 1968, on the other, the NID in Ahmedabad, a standard-bearer of modern India that remains active to this day.

The Ulm School of Design was founded in 1953 by Inge Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill. With its experimental approach and distinct design vocabulary it was often regarded internationally as the successor to the Bauhaus. The foundation of the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad in 1961 was an expression of the particular importance of design for a modern India. The educational programme was internationally oriented, which set the collaboration with the Ulm School of Design in motion. While the Ulm School of Design closed in 1968, the National Institute of Design remains active to this day.

Beginning with the Indian Lounge or 24/42 Chairs, the Bauhaus Lab 2017 investigated the transcultural dialogues concerning the education of designers as mediators between universal design and a local culture of things. In the exhibition the seating suite is placed in the context of related things that shaped the then ongoing discourse about the recovery of a design praxis that occupied a critical role in daily life. The exhibition was first on view at the Bauhaus Stiftung Dessau in 2017.

It was accompanied by a publication and a programme of public events. Due to its popularity, the exhibition was extended until 2 April 2018.

Retrospect: 6 October 2017—28 January 2018

Not from the Head but from the Heart – On Kurt Deschler’s 100th Birthday


Kurt Deschler (1917—2003) was the descendant of a long-established entrepreneurial family from Söflingen (Steiger & Deschler GmbH). He was not only one of the passionate art collectors and patrons of his time; in his many years as a town councillor he had also been involved both in political and social interests of the community in his home town Ulm. On the occasion of the centenary of his birth, Museum Ulm presents a commemorative exhibition of selected treasures and artists’ positions from an extensive art collection that had been growing steadily for decades. Kurt Deschler’s collection bears witness to the in depth exchange and personal contact with such artists as Adolf Hölzel (1853—1934), whom he had met through friends, or Horst Antes, who was a frequent guest in Deschler’s house. They equally reveal great interest in pioneer art movements of the 20th century, classical modernism, abstractionism and the New Figuration art movement.

Not from the head but from the heart: The exhibition at Museum Ulm traces Kurt Deschler’s intuitive approach and emotional confrontations with art concepts from expressive abstract to classical figurative painting, emphasising the quest of early modernism to find a new definition of the image as such. The spectrum includes paintings, drawings and sketches of classical modernism artists like Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Willi Baumeister (1889-1955), Ernst Wilhelm Nay (1902-1968) or HAP Grieshaber (1909-1981), expressive paintings by Slovenian artist Janez Bernik (1933-2016) as well as the anecdotic-satirical figurations of Fritz Fröhlich (1910-2001) from Upper Austria and the inimitably laconic line of the South German illustrator and caricaturist Romane Holderried Kaesdorf (1922-2007).

By juxtaposing these distinct positions, the exhibition opens new possibilities for the examination of art within and beyond historical categorisations.

Retrospect: 11 November 2017—28 January 2018

Sponsorship Award ‘Junge Ulmer Kunst’ 2017 : Ulrike Markus – Neoplasmic Island


Paper avalanches rise up in the room, ceramic plants sprout on the walls and copper neoplasms interweave into razor thin threads. The works presented in this exhibition resemble imaginary plants and magnified microorganisms, now revealing themselves. A new terrain, mysterious and oppressive at the same time: fragile carton walls with a hint of dystopia. And then, the reinvention of the formula, for real this time, it seems so easy. The biotopes of failure are just as persistent as a cough.

In one way or another, the work of Ulrike Markus is always connected to the investigation of fragility. She deals with what she calls biotopes of failure. This ‘moment just before’ creates an atmosphere charged with electrifying tension.

Ulrike Markus (*1989 Ulm, lives and works in Offenbach) started studying electronic media with Prof. Alexander Oppermann and sculpture with Prof. Susanne Winterling at the University of Art and Design in Offenbach in 2013. Museum Ulm presented the recipient of the sponsorship award ‘Junge Ulmer Kunst’ of the year 2017 (in the section of fine arts) with her solo exhibition Neoplasmic Island.

Retrospect: 12 November 2017—14 January 2018

Walter Zeischegg
The Nature of Shapes


On the occasion of Walter Zeischegg’s 100th birthday, the Studio HfG will present a selection of works by the product designer and sculptor.

Walter Zeischeg (1917–1983) was connected closely to the Ulm School of Design from its very beginnings. In 1951, Max Bill asked him to join the staff. His first responsibilities included the installation of the different workshops as well as the department of industrial design. From 1953 onwards, Walter Zeischegg was a lecturer in the industrial design program.

Walter Zeischegg had studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He was always interested in free forms and he was especially fascinated by geometrical structures which can be observed in nature. Since 1963, he was again working more and more in the sculptural field.

A varied selection of sculptures and drawings from the vast estate preserved at the HfG-Archiv will cast a new look on Walter Zeischegg as a sculptor.

Retrospect: 16 September 2017—7 January 2018

One Cannot Paint with Religion – Adolf Hölzel in Ulm


On the occasion of the 2017 Reformation Anniversary, Museum Ulm cooperates with the Protestant St. Paul’s Church, devoting a studio exhibition to the painter Adolf Hölzel from Stuttgart (1853—1934) and his creative work in Ulm. Built in 1908-1910, the St. Paul’s Church houses the only personal mural painting of Adolf Hölzel, one of the most important pioneers of Abstract Art in Germany. Hölzel furnished the apse of the church with a monumental representation of the crucified Christ. Both the architecture and the interior corresponded with this mural painting which formed the central focus of the church room. A redesign of St. Paul’s Church in the 1960s significantly intervened in the overall artistic concept of the interior. Adolf Hölzel’s mural was partly painted over and changed in its impact as well. The exhibition at St. Paul’s Church shows the change in space and interior, points out the conservation related approach and presents new perceptions of Hölzel’s painting technique. At the same time, a studio exhibition at Museum Ulm honours the mural and the preserved preliminary studies in the context of Hölzel’s artistic oeuvre and his theoretical notes. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication.

Retrospect: 23 June 2017—15 October 2017

Art. Value. Appraisal.


ARTPERIUM, founded by the artists Raoul Kaufer (*1957) and Peter Nowotny (*1953), transforms the art market into a real and virtual piece of art, offering the participation in a continuously growing network.

Renowned artworks from different eras are offered on the website ARTPERIUM for purchase and resale in digital format at between 60,000 and 70,000 shares (MERCE). ARTPERIUM also offers the possibility of purchasing MERCEs as tangible collector’s items in the form of unique Dibond prints.

As a premiere, Museum Ulm showed a section of Hans Schüchlin’s painting ‘Elevation of Saint Mary Magdalene’ from 1480 in the form of 250 plates, covering eight by three metres. It is a reflection on market mechanisms as well as a fundraising initiative of ARTPERIUM and Museum Ulm. The proceeds are split between the artists and the museum, which will invest the profits in media guides.

Retrospect: 20 May 2017—5 October 2017

Expect Miracles!
The Museum as a Cabinet of Curiosities And Wonders


The cabinets of art, wonders or curiosities of the 16th century are regarded as the nucleus of the museum concept as we know it today. They included not only art, but everything that was unique, exotic or valuable and therefore seemed worth collecting. It is not surprising that this time was often referred to as ‘Zeitalter des Staunens’, the age of wonders.

This passion for marvelling at the world’s phenomena is the starting point for the first special exhibition curated by new museum director Dr. Stefanie Dathe. Focus of the presentation is the ‘Kunst- und Wunderkammer’ of Ulm merchant Christoph Weickmann (1617-1681) with its unique objects and rarities. Following the archival categories of the 17th century – Naturalia, Mirabilia, Artefacta, Scientifica, Antiquites and Exotica – works by international contemporary artists resurrect the atmosphere of the early cabinets of wonders, presenting to the audience the mysteries of our world.

Retrospect: 20 May 2017—17 September 2017

Walt Disney: Fantasies Never Gets Old


Walt Disney was one of the most creative minds of the 20th century. He invented not only Mickey Mouse, using animation to revolutionise the art of story telling through film, he also created an inimitable universe of imagination that is uniting generations and cultures to this day.

The exhibition travels back to Walt Disney’s earliest inspirations, European fairy tales he became acquainted with through silent films and storybooks. For the first time, this exhibition juxtaposes original copies of the books purchased at that time with original drawings from his films Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia or The Jungle Book.

His curiosity for all kinds of artistic expression bore witness to his ambition: He wanted to use his preferred medium for presenting the wonders humans can conjure up from their imagination in a way that was accessible for everyone. In doing so, he created a new art form that drew from classic art history.

Retrospect: 19 November 2016—23 April 2017

The Foundation Collection Kurt Fried – Experience Art


For the first time since 1991, Museum Ulm is presenting almost the entire collection of journalist and publisher Kurt Fried (1906-1981), an impressive, almost encyclopedic spectrum of the art developments in the 20th century. As a patron of the arts, Fried had the opportunity to compile an extraordinary collection of more that 440 artworks by 260 artists, representing the most important art movements of his time, including Joseph Beuys, Max Bill, Jörg Immendorff, Paul Klee, Gustav Klimt, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Mangold, Agnes Martin, Otto Piene, Mark Rothko, Günther Uecker, Victor Vasarely and Andy Warhol.

With the opening of his ‘studio f’ in 1959, Kurt Fried brought his idea of a gallery space to life, a space where art was not only shown, but could be experienced. The collection in its entirety provides today’s visitors with an incomparable overview of the most important art movements of that time.

Retrospect: 23 October 2016—26 February 2017

A Seat for the Priest
Late Gothic Art in the Ulm Minster


Part of the late Gothic features of the choir at Ulm Minster was a lavishly ornamented seat for the priest and his two deacons. This piece of furniture, also called vespertolium, is where the officiants would be seated during specific parts of the liturgy. The vespertolium at Ulm Minster, placed on the choir wall south of the high altar, was part of an artistic ensemble including the famous choir stalls and the former high altar retable. Today, the three carved figures are all that remains.

In a studio exhibition, Museum Ulm presented the remaining figures and the corresponding sketches, honouring their creator, the ‘Master of the Ulm Vespertolium’.

Retrospect: 25 November 2016—8 January 2017

Martin Scheible:
The Holy Family with Oxen, Donkey and Dog


Every year since 1992, the wooden nativity scene by Martin Scheible is on display during Christmas time at Ulm Minster. The sculptor from Neu-Ulm carved this ensemble with 26 figures from lime-wood in 1923. Only the central figures, Mary, Joseph and the Infant Jesus, were replaced with new versions eleven years later. In the Advent season of 2016, Museum Ulm was able to present a special exhibit on loan: the original version of the central figure group.

The cabinet exhibition included further sculptural works, drawings and portraits from the museum collection, presenting Scheible’s multi-faceted work.

Retrospect: 31 July 2016—23 October 2016

Landscape and Interior. Impressionist Max Arthur Stremel


In his works, painter Max Arthur Stremel, born in 1859 in Zittau, Saxony, influenced and absorbed the art of impressionism in Germany. During his summer stays in Belgium and Holland he engaged in plein air painting – painting outdoors – to study and capture the effect of light on the colours of the landscape directly. Stremel’s art is exemplary for the German form of impressionism, which follows the French model but retains its own colour scheme, painting method and topics. In 1918, Stremel settled down in Ulm, where he lived and was an active member of the ‘Künstlergilde’ until his death in 1928.

The exhibition presented paintings and works on paper from the Ulm collection, providing fascinating insights into the live and work of Max Arthur Stremel.

Retrospect: 6 July 2016—11 September 2016

Am Anfang der Kunst – Art at the Start


40,000 years ago, hunters of the Ice Age travelled upstream along the river Danube to the Swabian Jura. They found shelter in the caves in the prehistoric Danube Valley, where, for the first time, they created small artworks, figures made from mammoth ivory as well as musical instruments – an important step in human development, the so-called ‘world origin of culture’.

The exhibition presented replicas of the unique finds. One original, however, is on permanent display:  the largest and most mysterious sculpture, the ‘Löwenmensch’ (lion man).

Retrospect: 28 February 2016—3 July 2016

Questions of Faith.
Chatrooms on the Road to Modern Times


The multi-cultural society is not a novelty of the present age, but a reality we have been living in for a long time. The group exhibition ‘Glaubensfragen’ (questions of faith) by Museum Ulm and the Museum of the Bible, Washington D.C., addressed this forever relevant topic using the example of religions in the south of Germany on the eve of the Reformation.

Retrospect: 11 September 2015—10 January 2016

MACK. The Light of My Colours


In 2015, Museum Ulm celebrated its 90th year of existence with a large special exhibition presenting the work of Heinz Mack. The internationally renowned artist had been in regular communication with Ulm. The exhibition ‘Mack. Das Licht meiner Farben’ (the light of my colours) with 140 works provided an overview of his work of almost 60 years, from 1959 until today. The central artistic theme in the work of Heinz Mack is light. Despite this pervasive examination of the effects and portrayal of light as well as the interplay of light, colour, structure and material, his oeuvre is exceptionally diverse.

The retrospective paid tribute to these different aspects and the visual presence of light in painting and sculpture.