Last Thursday I spent an afternoon in Munich, Germany’s third largest city and the capital of Bavaria – a region whose citizens enjoy life as well as beer (the latter at the annual rate of roughly 170 litres per person).
Alas, my lips touched not a jot of the stuff as I was on an all-important secret mission and time was of the essence. I had flown out that morning on the red-eye to deliver an artwork to a gallery and was flying back to London that same afternoon.
Absence of liquid booze aside, I was able to enjoy some of what Munich has to offer in the form of everyone’s favourite visual intoxicant: art.
And by art I mean the kind that is currently on show at the Museum Brandhorst, a depository for the staggering collection of modern art belonging to Udo and Anne Brandhorst, heirs to the Henkel fortune.
Nestled among the Pinakotheken galleries in Munich’s Kunstreal (art district), the Brandhorst is littered with giant canvases by art superstars (Warhol, Polke, Twombly), as well as less giant works by no-less appetising post-war artists like Joseph Beuys, Robet Gober, and John Chamberlain.
The museum’s Cy Twombly retrospective is especially impressive, given that one of the rooms – a large semi-circular space that houses Twombly’s 12-piece masterwork Lepanto – was built specifically with the artist’s works in mind. In fact the entire building, designed by Berlin-based Sauerbruch Hutton architects, is an immaculate home for the works on show. Completed in 2009, its multicoloured facade jumps out from the greys and browns of the surrounding Pinakotheks ‘like a giant abstract painting’, or at least so says Jonathan Glancey of the Guardian.
I rounded off my visit by stopping for lunch at the museum’s cafe, a contender for jewel in the gallery’s impressively bejewelled crown. Surrounded by attractive people who speak your language better than you can, the cafe is a good spot to eat inexpensive pasta and re-evaluate one’s sense of self.