The vibrant city of art and culture
Ever since the Kunsthaus first opened its doors on Heimplatz in Zurich in 1910, it has been impossible to imagine Zurich’s art and cultural scene without it. The founding of the Cabaret Voltaire in Niederdorf, just a stone’s throw from the Kunsthaus, marks the birth of Dadaism. The geographical proximity of the founding site of Dadaist art (an art form that called all previous art into question) to the renowned Kunsthaus shows that the area around Heimplatz has deeply fascinated artists for over a century. And you can see that again today: With Zurich West having long been considered a new hotspot for the art scene with its industrial past, more and more artists and art lovers have recently been looking to get closer to the old town and the Kunsthaus again. "The area around Kunsthaus Zürich has become very dynamic again with the openings of many established, but also young and innovative galleries," says Charlotte von Stotzingen, Zurich Art Weekend Director.
The pulse of Zurich art
Charlotte von Stotzingen is very familiar with the Zurich art world. She offers the art scene a platform every year with the Zurich Art Weekend: One week before Art Basel opens its doors, Zurich becomes a hot spot for international art for a whole weekend. During Zurich Art Weekend, private and public art institutions and hip off-spaces open their doors together. This is another reason why von Stotzingen is pleased about the various new openings around the Kunsthaus: for instance, Galerie Presenhuber, which has been running a gallery near the museum since 2020. Or the Zurich branch of the renowned Lévy Gorvy with Rumbler gallery. Hauser & Wirth has also recently opened two branches on Rämistrasse – a bookshop and an exhibition room.
More space for top-class art
The Kunsthaus extension will officially open in fall 2021. The cuboid structure was designed and built by David Chipperfield, an internationally award-winning British architect, and forms a magnificent ensemble together with the main building, which has been standing for over 100 years. The additional 5000 m2 of exhibition space in the extension will make Kunsthaus Zürich the largest art museum in Switzerland. The extension will provide additional exhibition space for the museum’s top-class collection – one of the largest art collections in Switzerland. Permanent presentations of the collection and internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions have made the Kunsthaus a popular public attraction for many years. In addition to old masters, there are important paintings by Picasso, Monet and Chagall, but also by numerous contemporary artists such as Fischli/Weiss or Sylvie Fleury. Also worth noting: The Kunsthaus houses the most extensive collection of works by the famous Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti.
"The Gates of Hell", lights and stage
There is also art to marvel at outside the museum. "The Gates of Hell" by Auguste Rodin has been permanently located in front of the entrance since 1949. Weighing eight tons, the bronze sculpture depicts a vision of the afterlife inspired by Dante’s Inferno of the Divine Comedy. A contemporary sculpture has recently been added to the artistic diversity on Heimplatz: A light and video installation by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist reveals its effect at nightfall, projecting colored points of light onto the surrounding buildings. And when the installation’s lights go up in the evening and the galleries and museums close their doors, another art institution right next to the art museum really comes to life: the Schauspielhaus theater. Artistic and cultural life knows no media boundaries around Heimplatz – the pulse of Zurich’s art scene can indeed be felt here at almost any time of day or night.