02. January 2018

In 2018 the SCHIRN presents the superstar of the 1980s Jean-Michel Basquiat, contemporatry political art, video and installation artist Neïl Beloufa, lion painter Wilhelm Kuhnert and other wild artists from Henri Rousseau to today.

By Schirn Magazin


FEBRUARY 16 – MAY 27, 2018

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) is acknowledged today as one of the most significant painters of the 20th century. More than 30 years after Basquiat’s last exhibition in Germany, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting a major survey devoted to this American artist, organized in collaboration with the Barbican Centre, London. In the late 1970s, Basquiat teamed up with Al Diaz in New York to write graffiti statements across the city under the pseudonym SAMO©. Soon he was making drawings in his own blood, collaging baseball cards and postcards and painting on clothing, doors, furniture and on enormous improvised canvases. Basquiat collaborated with many artists of his time, most famously Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Having come of age in the post-punk underground scene in Lower Manhattan, Basquiat conquered the art world and gained widespread international recognition, becoming the youngest artist ever to participate in the documenta in Kassel in 1982. Featuring more than 100 works, the exhibition is the first to focus on Basquiat’s relationship to music, text, film and television, placing his work within a broader cultural context.

Edo Bertoglio, Jean-Michel Basquiat wearing an American football helmet, 1981, Photo: © Edo Bertoglio, courtesy of Maripol, Artwork: © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2018 & The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar, New York


MARCH 21–MAY 27, 2018

Democracy appears to be in crisis; the postdemocratic era has already dawned. The symptoms are manifold: populist leaders, fake news, autocratic backlash, totalitarian propaganda, neoliberalism. However, tendencies toward a repoliticized society have been palpable for some time now. And artists also appear to be increasingly under pressure to protest. They create works that they see as instruments of criticism and which expressly pursue political intentions. In a major exhibition the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt brings together artistic positions which can be read as seismographs of contemporary political activity. It focuses on fundamental issues and the examination of the phenomena and possibilities of political participation. The works call political positions into question, illustrate forms of protest, and set their sights on artistic involvement. The SCHIRN presents installations, photographs, videos, paintings, and sculptures by Phyllida Barlow, Andrea Bowers, Julius von Bismarck, Sam Durant, Omer Fast, Adelita Husni-Bey, Hiwa K, Ahmet Öğüt, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Forensic Architecture.

Phyllida Barlow, untitled: 100banners2015, 2015, Lumber, plywood, tape, wadding, fabric, paint, sand, and plastic, Dimensions variable, © The artist, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography


AUGUST 23–OCTOBER 28, 2018

The award-winning video and installation artist Neïl Beloufa will be realising a unique project by transforming the Schirn into a stage. He will create sculptural stages in various spaces outside the classic exhibition areas of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in which he presents his most recent cinematic works. Film constitutes the focus and point of departure in Beloufa’s oeuvre. He also uses its production parameters, such as set, lighting, editing, and perspective, for the development of his pictures, sculptures, and installations. His works are collaborative, with the aim of eliminating the singular position and perspective of the author. Fiction and reality are fused in Beloufa’s filmic narratives.

Neïl Beloufa, Sustainable Development, MRAC Sérignan, 2017, © the artist, Photo: Aurélien Mole


OCTOBER 25, 2018–JANUARY 27, 2019

Wilhelm Kuhnert (1865–1926) shaped the concept of Africa in both Europe and the United States more than any other artist of his time. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he was one of the first European artists to travel through the German colonies of North and East Africa, which were still largely unexplored at the time. During these journeys, his sketches of the animal and plant world were often created under difficult conditions; they later served as a basis for the monumental paintings he produced in his Berlin studio after his return. It His animal pictures were published in zoological books like Brehms Tierleben (Brehm’s Life of Animals) as well as in publications by Wilhelm Haacke, the director of Frankfurt Zoo, and in wall charts for school classrooms. His works even appeared on the wrappers of Stollwerck chocolate. The SCHIRN is presenting the first comprehensive retrospective on the artist’s life and work. The exhibition represents a wide-ranging rediscovery of one of the most unusual artist personalities of the early twentieth century. Kuhnert’s work is seen not only as a mirror of the history of art and natural science, but also against the background of the history of colonialism. As such it also makes a contribution to the current debate on the handling of Germany’s colonial past. 

Wilhelm Kuhnert, Elephants (Elefanten), 1917, Oil on canvas, 48 x 86 inches, JKM Collection®, National Museum of Wildlife Art. Requested loan


NOVEMBER 1, 2018–JANUARY 27, 2019

The SCHIRN is dedicating an extensive thematic exhibition to this recurring fascination of wilderness and presents works of art from 1900 to the present. In times in which the blank spaces on the world map have largely disappeared and an “untouched natural state” virtually only exists in the form of areas designated as nature reserves, the “wilderness” is returning in art. The search for the last open places, the expedition as an artistic medium, and posthuman visions of a world devoid of people characterize the works of many contemporary artists alongside the renegotiation of the relationship between individual and beast. With important works by some 30 artists, it does not only shed light on the phenomenon of the wilderness in terms of iconography but also shows it as a principle and motor of artistic creative work. Artists have repeatedly been drawn to that which is wild, untamed, uncultivated since the beginning of the aesthetic modern age. The “wilderness” has always also served as a projection surface for anything that was different and foreign, for the longing for a primordial life beyond the boundaries of civilization.

Julian Charrière, The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories (1), 2013, © the artist & VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2018, courtesy DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM, Berlin


NOVEMBER 16, 2018–FEBRUARY 10, 2019

Trees arranged in military formation, a binary code of napkin rings, or bouquets of talking flowers: the sculptures and installations by Maria Loboda are mysterious and full of secrets. Her encoded messages reveal themselves only at second glance. The artist transfers long-forgotten knowledge into the immediate present with her ready-made objects and installations in space. Like an archaeologist, she digs through cultural history to find it, studying archaic impressions and supposed truths about the order of the world. Loboda will be developing new works for the SCHIRN and presenting them in the freely accessible Rotunda. She will pursue her artistic approach, the antagonism between form and content: the artist underlines the poetic effect of her sculptures and spatial installations with sober aesthetics and an economy of means.

Maria Loboda, Young Warrior in the Landscape Watching the Birds Go By (Pastoral), 2017, © the artist, Courtesy Maisterravalbuena, Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel



For more than five years, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt has served as a forum for national and international filmmakers and video artists. Under the heading Double Feature, they present a work from their own oeuvre, followed by their favorite film. On the last Monday of every month and in conversation with the curators Katharina Dohm, Matthias Ulrich and guest curators, the invited artists provide extensive insight into their creative work, especially into their interest in filmDouble Feature sees itself as a platform for different trends and forms of expression in film and video art production. Film and video works by over 50 artists have already been shown in the Schirn. In 2018 the public can look forward to contributions by artists including Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Gery Georgieva, Holly Zausner, and Amie Siegel. The videos and conversations with artists who have already participated can be accessed under the title Double Feature Conversations via the Schirn’s YouTube channel.