Profile - Kunstmuseum Stuttgart

Stuttgart art collection's move into its striking new building at the heart of the city and its name change from Städtische Galerie (Municipal Gallery) to Kunstmuseum Stuttgart symbolizes the start of a new, more international era. The museum has built on its existing structures to combine old and new approaches, and its exhibitions now address current, international issues, focusing on four main themes: the ornament (in Adolf Hölzel's work, for example), politics and social critique (Otto Dix), subversion and irony (particularly in the work of Dieter Roth) and the often blurred line between "free" and "applied" art (e.g Adolf Hölzel, Ida Kerkovius, Oskar Schlemmer and Willi Baumeister).

The Building

Scarcely any other architectural project in Stuttgart sparked as much debate as the new building for the Kunstmuseum, partly because of its prominent location at the heart of the city. In March 2002 construction began on the site of the problematic traffic interchange built during the post-war era on Kleiner Schlossplatz. The city's art collection was finally given the home it deserves. It had taken two decades, three competitions and one city planning survey before the construction of the museum on Königstrasse finally got the go-ahead. The design of Berlin architects Hascher + Jehle was selected from a number of proposals submitted in an international contest in 1999. The Stuttgart-born pair wanted to create a "tranquil, elegant structure that is clearly a product of our times". Hascher and Jehle's final design was a distinctive yet unobtrusive architectural gem which blends in well with Stuttgart's overall inner-city architecture. The square-cut glass shell, which is visible from afar, envelops a stone panelled cube, which houses about a fifth of the exhibition space. By far the largest part of the 5000 m² exhibition space is actually located below Kleiner Schlossplatz. While parts of the museum's own collection are permanently displayed on the two basement levels, the cube is mainly used for special exhibitions.

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