The cessation of the extraction of coal in Germany by the end of this year not only means the end of an important branch of industry. It also marks the closure of a chapter in history that has lasted over 150 years, and which more than anywhere else has dominated the face of the Ruhr area, the way that the people living there regard themselves and the evolution of its unique arts and culture landscape. Against this background, 17 museums and 13 towns and cities in the Ruhr area are participating in a major exhibition project on the theme of “Art and Coal”.
Themed group exhibitions will alternate with individual presentations. For example, the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop will show artistic documentary photographs of industrial architecture by Bernd and Hilla Becher, while in the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen art gallery, large-scale installations on the region’s industrial cultural heritage can be seen. The Museum Folkwang in Essen will present drawings by Hermann Kätelhörn, the Kunstmuseum Bochum art gallery will focus on the connection between art, religion and mining, while Helga Griffiths will tease the smell out of the coal in the Kunstmuseum Mühlheim an der Ruhr gallery.
Other participants in the project are the Lehmbruck Museum, the Museum DKM and the Museum Küppersmühle in Duisburg, the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl sculpture museum, the Märkische Museum Witten, the Emschertal-Museum Herne, the Museum Ostwall in the Dortmunder U, the Ludwiggalerie Schloss Oberhausen, the Centre for International Light Art Unna, the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen gallery, the Herner Flottmann-Hallen and the Museum unter Tage mining museum in Bochum.
The exhibition project, which spans many different locations, is a part of the RAG “Glückauf Zukunft” (“Glückauf future”) coal extraction termination initiative.