Professor Baumstark, is it true that Munich’s Kunstareal was actually launched in 2002?
Yes. We introduced Kunstareal at the same time we opened the Pinakothek der Moderne museum in 2002. »Kunstareal München« was the location specified on all posters, and we ran a page on the cover of inMünchencity magazine with »Welcome to Kunstareal Munich« in big letters.
At the time, you were General Director of the Bavarian State Painting Collections. How did this idea come to life?
The four of us directors worked very closely together and met several times a week: me, Florian Hufnagl (The Design Museum), Winfried Nerdinger (Architecture Museum at TU Munich) and Michael Semff (State Graphic Collection). We thought about how we could best communicate what is so special about the Pinakothek der Moderne – four different museums (art, graphic design, architecture, design) under a single roof. In essence, this was its own little »Kunstareal«. But why should we stop at this property? The Alte and Neue Pinakothek museums, Lenbachhaus, Glyptothek, State Collection of Antiquities, Academy of Fine Arts, now the HFF Munich film school, Egyptian Museum, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Technical University and the Paleontological Museum ... I thought: We shouldn’t overlook how unique this collection of institutions is. We need to think about it in an overarching way.
Why didn’t you call it something like »museum district«?
We didn’t want to copy names from other cities, like museum quarter Vienna, museum island Berlin and other museum miles, embankments, etc. This is why we worked with KMS TEAM – at the time, they were responsible for the visual identity and communication for the Pinakothek museums – to find a name that would set this area apart from the rest. The term »Areal« comes from the world of urban planning and reflects the original plan conceived by King Maximilian I. Joseph, who designed a square grid for the expansion of the city at the beginning of the 19th century. His son, Ludwig I., continued this project and placed the Pinakothek museums today’s Maxvorstadt, which was still just open land at the time.
Was there resistance to this name?
Many struggled with the name at first, »Areal« seemed too unusual and unwieldy. I remember former education minister Hans Zehetmaier, who made such major contributions to the Pinakothek der Moderne museum and Bavarian culture overall, was especially critical. But then the people of Munich quickly realized how truly unique and unmistakable this name was, and accepted it.
And your conclusion today?
I’m thrilled that there were advocates for this idea. The »official« foundation in 2009, the symposia, website and office have ensured continuity. I’m especially happy that municipal and state institutions are cooperating so well here – that’s not always the case. Today, our Kunstareal is an international source of pride for the city of Munich.
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