"Frankfurt Museum Wonder"
The Press on the New Städel Museum
It was a huge success already on the first weekend: around 18,000 visitors flocked to the new Städel. As a thank-you for their exemplary civic fundraising efforts, they were invited to visit the new presentation of contemporary art in the Garden Halls free of charge. Both the public and the press raved about the Frankfurt museum's subterranean annex, where numerous high-profile works from the Deutsche Bank Collection can be seen.
The 3sat program Kulturzeit called it "spectacular"; Die Welt called it "great cinema." "Frankfurt has another big attraction," reported the Tagesschau. Die Zeit spoke of a "brilliant new building," the Frankfurter Rundschau of an "exemplary alliance between patronage and civic and cultural political commitment." The subterranean annex of the Städel Museum, which tracks a course through post-war contemporary art, has met with positive feedback across the board. Already before the opening, Bild reported on the "mega-poster" on the façade of the Deutsche Bank Towers announcing the museum exhibition, while the Frankfurter Rundschau printed a picture of the 800-square-foot poster with the striking Neo Rauch motif.
A large number of journalists and TV teams were present at the opening, interviewing guests such as the Hessian governor Volker Bouffier, who praised the "team work" between citizens and bankers in a Sat1 report. The TV channel also spoke with chief executive Josef Ackermann, who said that Deutsche Bank's commitment to the Städel is exemplary "for what we think of as corporate culture." Bild summed up the event thus: "The exhibition hall of contemporary art at the Städel surpasses all expectations: 500 guests from business, politics, and culture were completely overwhelmed at the opening ceremony of the annex building!"
The magazine Art called the Garden Halls a "subterranean wonder," praising them for their "originality" and "airiness." "Welcome to 21st-century museum architecture," writes the Tagesspiegel and goes on to praise the "inspiring generosity" that made them possible. The Wirtschaftswoche calls them a "gem of German museum architecture," Deutschland Radio Kultur a "clever installation" that "offers a variety of room compartments for the presentation of contemporary art." "Museum director Max Hollein and his team have pulled off something extraordinary in a short period of time," says Kulturzeit: "civic commitment and powerful sponsors have made the building a success story." The Süddeutsche concurs: "Over the past five years, Hollein raised half the building costs of 52 million euros from private sources while expanding the painting and photography holdings by acquiring large parts of the Deutsche Bank and DZ Bank collections on permanent loan to the Städel-virtually as donations. The new annex is the impressive result of civic commitment."
Die Welt also spotlights the bank's contribution to the museum: "Three years ago, museum director Max Hollein announced that two international banks had agreed to lend their splendid art collections to the Städel. The DZ Bank gave away 220 photographs (…). Deutsche Bank, whose corporate collection is among the most prominent in the world, gave the Städel 600 works. The works of the two corporate collections augment the museum collection by strengthening existing areas of concentration and creating new perspectives."
Another article asserts that the current presentation "intervenes in the art historical discourse in its own unique way (…) even Frankfurt has its Daniel Richter and Gerhard Richter and aims for the charts. But one could say that these 600 works from the Deutsche Bank Collection and the more than 200 photographic works of the DZ Bank have brought distinguished contemporary work into the museum that rounds out the acquisition policy of recent years into a museum collection that doesn't merely repeat and reproduce what can already be seen everywhere else."
Die Zeit reports that big business has contributed a great deal to the "Frankfurt museum wonder": "Most of all, Hollein knew how to win over corporate allies, particularly the banks. It was only with the support of Deutsche Bank and the DZ Bank that he was able to truly rejuvenate the collection by acquiring several hundred works that he was permitted to select himself for the Städel from the huge bank collections." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung also praises the "bankers with warm hearts." In their series on the cultural activities of important German companies, the Handelsblatt reports on Deutsche Bank's commitment to art. Under the heading "Collection of the Superlative," it mentions the art presentation in the Frankfurt Group Head Office and the "well-publicized" location for the collection works on permanent loan to the new Städel.
"It's a win-win situation," as the Frankfurter Neue Presse quotes Friedhelm Hütte, Global Head of Art, Deutsche Bank. Thanks to the works on permanent loan, "the museum is able to augment its collection in an ideal manner, and it's only now that it can continue to tell the story of the history of painting." The FNP concludes: "The Städel never would have managed to acquire such a high-quality extension to their collection in the usual way." Now, says the Frankfurter Rundschau, the museum can offer its visitors a unique journey of discovery into post-war art history (…) from now on, anyone who wants to look at contemporary art will first travel to the Städel."