100 Years of Joseph Beuys

For Joseph Beuys, whose art has influenced creative people worldwide, Mönchengladbach was an important stage in his career. In 1967, he was able to realise his first solo exhibition in the old city museum at Bismarckstraße 97.​ It was a great success with the public, which pushed the city into the focus of the international art scene. But his work polarised and heated up the minds of the city: the legendary Fluxus concert “…or should we change it?”, together with Henning Christiansen became known as the “Sauerkraut Happening”, the “Friedensfeier” with Jonas Hafner, which is still commemorated by the word “Exit” on the door of the Minster St. Vitus, left the citizens of Mönchengladbach perplexed and shaking their heads.

Joseph Beuys 
and the Museum Abteiberg

His connection to the Austrian architect and artist Hans Hollein led to a new museum building on the Abteiberg in 1982, which set the trend for the city and the entire art world. For this, Hollein received the “Oscar” of architecture, the renowned Pritzker Prize. The building became a milestone for cultural tourism: “There wouldn’t have been Bilbao without Mönchengladbach“, said Frank Gehry in his opening speech in Bilbao in 1997.

From 3 June, the Museum Abteiberg is celebrating Beuys’ 100th birthday with two complementary exhibitions that relate Beuys’ time to the present. Not limited to a retrospective, the museum also wants to continue Beuys’ world view and deal with the current issues of his institutional critique.

In keeping with the anniversary year of Joseph Beuys, the MG_Artfriends podcast with Eva Caroline Eick as guest poses the exciting and interesting question How current is Joseph Beuys today? Environmental protection, criticism of capitalism and direct democracy – for Beuys, these are issues that can be solved if everyone draws on their creativity. Is this true? Listen for yourself!

Joseph Beuys #beuysinmg 
How the city tour works via the YONA app

Digitale city tour 
about Beuys footprints in Mönchengladbach

If you want to relive the footprints of Beuys in Mönchengladbach with extraordinary insights and retrospectives, we recommend our city tour developed on the occasion of the anniversary year. Supplemented by digital elements played in with augmented reality, it tells stories of rejection and enthusiasm and, in the middle of the old museum garden, solves why an important bronze sculpture ended up as a “doghouse” on a float at the carnival Veilchendienstagszug. The Beuys tour ends at the Museum Abteiberg and can also be booked as an individual tour for groups.

The tour is available in two variants:

On the guided tour with our city guide you will learn many details and profound background information about the life of Joseph Beuys and his relationship to Mönchengladbach. Dates and tickets for the guided city tour can be found here. We also offer this tour as an individual tour. For special dates or group arrangements, please contact Andreas Henke (MGMG), andreas.henke@mgmg.de

Those who prefer to go on a discovery tour on their own without a city guide can use their smartphone to access a lot of content and information free of charge at the stations listed below (see map – start Museum Abteiberg). Around the Abteiberg, the digital Beuys tour via the YONA app offers an entertaining flashback with interaction: augmented reality makes it possible for you to leave a statement on the same wall as Joseph Beuys did in his day or to become artistically creative. Simply download the free YONA app from the App Store or Google Play and scan the stations below.

Portrait Joseph Beuys
YONA App Anleitung - Mehr erfahren

with the friendly assistance

Museum Abteiberg

Yona Scan it

Museum Abteiberg
City map

Yona Scan it

Museum Abteiberg
Brick wall

Yona Scan it

King's Chair
by the artist Anatol

Yona Scan it

Graffiti wall
Spray "House Zoar must stay..."

Yona Scan it

St Vitus Minster

Yona Scan it

City Church Alter Markt

Yona Scan it

Old market

Yona Scan it

Joseph Beuys & Hans Hollein

Yona Scan it

Beuys’ Kitchen 
And the Theatre Krefeld Mönchengladbach

The Theatre Krefeld Mönchengladbach also congratulates on the 100th birthday of the Krefeld artist. With Beuys’ Kitchen, director and theatre researcher Sebastian Blasius has conceived an evening of theatre that deals with Beuys’ work in an unusual way. The production focuses less on a biographical portrayal and more on an entertaining and challenging production that draws on Beuys’ artistic principles in an interplay with theater’s own and not theater’s own elements. You can find the premiere from the Theatre Krefeld here.

Theater Beuys Kueche
euys 1982 Ausstellungseröffnung
Joseph Beuys Hut

Beuys & Bike 
Experience the cycling theme tour

Even beyond the borders of Mönchengladbach, one can experience much about the work of Joseph Beuys. The artist’s passion for nature connects Beuys with the prominent animal filmmaker and behavioural scientist Heinz Sielmann, who was born in MG-Rheydt. The Beuys & Bike cycle route offers an experience of nature and cultural enjoyment at the same time: active, environmentally conscious and entirely in the spirit of Beuys. 

The Beuys & Bike cycle route takes you to the historically significant traces of the artist in Mönchengladbach and shows the most beautiful green sides of the large city on the Lower Rhine. Cycle along the Niersgrünzug, relax in the Volksgarten and discover the works of art in the sculpture garden at the foot of the Abteiberg Museum.

You can find more information about Beuys & Bike here.