Editorial | Issue #2019
Culture in a Metropolitan Region
Frankfurt is probably best known for being Germany’s financial and economic hub. However, the city and the surrounding FrankfurtRheinMain region (FRM) also has much to offer in terms of culture.
It is the mission of the newly launched English-language magazine Culture Frankfurt/Rhein/Main to promote this region’s cultural offerings, especially for its growing cosmopolitan community.
Some highlights of the current issue are:
– THE REGION – DANCING TO THE FORE
– ART STUDIOS – HABITATS OF ASPIRING ARTISTS
– THE TAUNUS – REGION OF PAINTERS AND PATRONS
FRM | Art in public | Blickachsen
Excursions in art and Area
For over two decades, the international art biennale Blickachsen – meaning lines of vision – has been exploring how sculpture, nature and architecture intersect. The biennale invites artists – this year including Yoko Ono and William Forsythe – to take over parks and natural areas across the region with scenographic or interactive sculptures. Blickachsen 2019 also features sound artist Satch Hoyt. On the campus of Frankfurt University, he juxtaposes the pale backdrop provided by the prodigious, history-laden university buildings against colourful stele-like totems made of plastic and QR code-generated sounds and texts, alluding to the African diaspora. In Kurpark Bad Homburg, artist duo Winter/Hörbelt adapt the idea of visual axes in the form of a large tube made of beverage crates. In total, around 60 installations by some 30 international artists are on view at six locations. A good opportunity to discover interesting places as well as artworks!
FRM | Platform, Festival, Venues
A Region dances to the Fore
FrankfurtRheinMain is increasingly making a name for itself in the German dance scene. The region’s two top players, Frankfurt’s Mousonturm and the Hessian State Ballet in Wiesbaden/Darmstadt, cooperated in launching a dance platform – Tanzplattform Rhein-Main – with lots of activities and a festival for outstanding local and international productions. There’s also the Frankfurt Lab, inviting Mousonturm and university ensembles such as ATW (Giessen) and HfMDK to explore new forms of dance and performance. The city of Mainz with its creative tanzmainz ensemble and festival, is yet another hub of this vibrant scene. Tanzplattform Rhein-Main is also breaking new ground with a day of dance and its Ensemble Mobil, which seeks a more immediate interface with the public. Finally, a lively independent and alternative scene from Implantieren Festival to Antagon action theatre contribute to the region’s dynamic dance and performance landscape.
F | On Stage | Mousonturm
ESTABLISHED AND EXPERIMENTAL
Mousonturm is widely known for presenting avantgarde local and international performing artists, such as Forced Entertainment or Rimini Protokoll. Indeed, the independant artists’ house has stayed the course of being daring for the entire 30 years of its existence. It tackles conventions and keeps on recalibrating our understanding of performing arts ... such with incognito lectures in McDonald’s restaurants or a group of moles riding an escalator! Its repertoire is broad, ranging from concerts, political art events, performances in urban spaces, to dance trainings and workshops. It also likes to promote emerging artists, such as recent grads of Frankfurt’s University for Performing Arts (HfMDK) or Giessen’s Institute for Applied Theatre Studies (ATW), and collaborate with other art centres such as Frankfurt Lab. Hence, what was once the tower (Turm) of a former soap factory is today a well-established art venue that has remained raw and experimental.
FRM | Exhibitions | Summer / Autumn
From Bengal Stream to Van Gogh
There are over 100 museums in the region with a wide range of exhibitions throughout the year. The following is just a small selection of the overall offer. Autumn Edition.
- FRM | Blickachsen | Art in Public Spaces | May-Oct
- WI | What's Up? & Rachel Maclean | Aug-Nov
Taunus | Feature Taunus
Painters, Patrons and a Zoo
Bad Homburg, Kronberg, Königstein and Bad Soden are placid, affluent towns nestled in the Taunus, a mountain range on the edge of Frankfurt. While they may seem to be no more than that – calm and picturesque – the old spa towns have been attracting art ever since. They are home to the Sinclair Haus, a small, refined museum in Bad Homburg; a famous former artists’ colony of painters in Kronberg; and the Stadtgalerie im Badehaus in Bad Soden. Sinclair Haus has a penchant for somewhat contemplative exhibitions, such as the currently running Beating Wings – Insects in Contemporary Art. Furthermore, the region is home to Kronberg Academy and the corporate museums of Braun and Horex (a former motorcycle manufacturer). The Taunus even has a small but hugely popular zoo, the Opel Zoo, named after the car manufacturer. All places are accessible by public transport, with one subway leading all the way up to Hohe Mark, a starting point for many hiking trails.
F | Location | Palmengarten
World Flora and World Music
We all yearn to tune into nature and connect to our senses. An extraordinary and rare place for doing just that is Frankfurt’s Palmengarten, which is open year round. Started way back as a community initiative by Frankfurt citizens, the Palmengarten has been giving joy to people ever since with its lush, diverse and even tropical flora. Throughout the year, greenhouses and opulent gardens invite you to dive into another world. Aside from the many thematic gardens and botanical exhibitions, the Palmengarten is also known for its longstanding “Musik im Palmengarten” program. The program spans a wide range of music styles, from the world’s oldest open-air jazz series through to the Summer in the City festival and Kammeroper Frankfurt performances. Indeed, the tender and poetic ambiance of the Palmengarten ‒ rose and sunlight during summer and winter lights in winter ‒ make the garden a special place to enjoy music.
WI | Caligari Filmbühne
Cinema With Style
When the Caligari FilmBühne – named after the expressionist silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – rolls out the red carpet, international film stars cannot be far. Located in Wiesbaden, right at the city’s market square, this beautiful cinema runs a sophisticated international programme when it isn’t hosting film festivals such as the top Eastern European film festival goEast and exground, widely known for its selection of international independent films. In 2018, the Caligari received the Hessian Cultural Award for its outstanding cultural commitment. Moviegoers also appreciate the film hall for its uniquely classic interior that conjures up the golden age of cinema, and for the fact that many of the films are shown in English.
DA | Feature | Darmstadt
A Creative City
Darmstadt is, and has always been, a hotbed of creativity in the region. It is home to Mathildenhöhe, a compound of stately artists’ and museum buildings best known for the eponymous artists’ colony founded in 1899. The compound is the site of the Wedding Tower, a landmark of German Art Nouveau, as well as buildings by famous architects of the early 20th century, such as Joseph Maria Olbrich and Peter Behrens. The city of Darmstadt is also the birthplace of the Darmstadt Secession, a revolutionary artist community founded in 1919 by artists including Max Beckmann, Ludwig Meidner and Paul Hindemith. A New Darmstadt Secession was founded in 1945 and continues on to the present day. Near Darmstadt there is also the Mediencampus Darmstadt-Dieburg, perhaps the most exciting new media academy in the region.
F | 40 Years English Theatre
Frankfurt´s Little Anglosphere
It is Frankfurt’s top go-to venue for English-speaking culture and, indeed, the largest English-speaking stage on the continent. Presenting theatre, musicals and parties right at the edge of Frankfurt‘s central station district, the English Theatre lets you dive into another world. Literally, since the theatre, seating 300, is housed in the basement. The programme, however, is anything but lower-tier, boasting six high-profile productions per year, casted and partly rehearsed in London and New York, and drawing 60,000 visitors annually. James the Bar, adjoining the theatre, offers an amicable ambience for visitors to mingle before or after a show and to have a drink. English Theatre was founded in 1979 and celebrates its 40th Anniversary Season in 2019/2020.
F | Locations | The Trinkhallen
Cult and Cultural Heritage
It all began around 1900, when Frankfurt was experiencing a boom. Back then, water didn’t come from the tap but from Trinkhallen, which were kiosks and smaller buildings interspersed throughout the city. People from all generations and milieus would hence meet at these small flat stalls. Although a fixture for many decades, and becoming veritable corner stores with beer, snacks and newspapers, they were replaced by supermarkets and gas stations. Today they are seeing a revival, albeit their newer version is somewhat more upscale or hip. There’s Fein, a Trinkhalle-turned-café serving fine pastries located right by the former city wall; or Gudes, a fun pit stop in trendy Nordend on one of Frankfurts main thoroughfares. Nonetheless, many kiosks still exist as little shops or as tranquil places where a mostly older clientele gathers in the evening. In any setting, the old cultural heritage has become a cult. So whether original or revamped, kiosks are enjoying great popularity: there are kiosk days, Trinkhallen-hopping tours and even an online repertoire: line11.org - it is a good way to start a socio-cultural journey ...
Rheingau | Venue | Eberbach Monastery
In Sean Connery´s Footsteps
The old Cistercian abbey, Eberbach Monastery, is ensconced in the hills at the shore of the Rhine River, close to Wiesbaden. Built in the early 12th century, it is still in miraculously good shape. That surely contributed to its being chosen as a central location for the filming of The Name of the Rose (1986), starring none other than Sean Connery. In the summer, visitors can watch the film on the very site of the original film set. In addition, the decommissioned abbey has been hosting a slew of other extraordinary cultural events such as the renowned classical Rheingau Music Festival as well as arts and crafts shows. And of course, the abbey walls themselves are an attraction, especially for families. Eberbach is also known for its superb wines, being situated in the midst of one of Germany‘s best vinicultural regions.
OF | Location | Hafen 2
Sheep and Screens
Open air cinema and concerts, hanging out by the water, child care ... plus grazing sheep? You never thought you’d ever find such a place in or near Frankfurt, did you? But Hafen 2 in the brownfields of Offenbach’s transformed harbour front offers exactly that: coffee shop, concert shed, green meadows, fine dune sand, benches and folding chairs. In the summer, families as well as plenty of offbeat types gather in this biotope to watch films, attend concerts or simply have good old casual chinwags while the kids play in the sand or gawk at the sheep. In the line-up: foreignlanguage films, singer-songwriters, World Cup and European Championship football ... No need for a brolly even, since events are moved inside the shed during off-season or when it rains.
FRM | Art Schools & Studios
Habitats of aspiring artists
Offenbach was long considered Frankfurt’s poorer cousin and often looked down upon or derided. But times are changing. One reason is the city’s HfG_OF_MAIN (Hochschule für Gestaltung, or University of Art and Design), a thriving hotbed for young creatives. For a long time in the shadows of Frankfurt’s more celebrated Städelschule and its many international students, HfG Offenbach has since caught up and has a pull effect in all matters of art. This means that together the adjoining cities now have two habitats teeming with a vibrant and young art scene. In addition the region is home to many studio houses, the two main ones being Basis and AtelierFrankfurt where some 200 artists create and present their work. Main smaller studio buildings are Waggonfabrik Mainz, Zollamt Studios Offenbach and Atelierhaus Darmstadt. Studios and art schools open their doors to the general public several times a year. The summer highlight is a three-day HfG tour with cross-media and film night, and during December several studios organise Christmas art fairs.
F | Museum Angewandte Kunst
REDEFINING APPLIED ARTS
When the Museum Angewandte Kunst was inaugurated in 1985, it stood out for its white and expansive architecture designed by Richard Meier. Yet somewhat out of step with its building style, the museum of applied arts then steered a course of presenting oriental carpets, Buddhas and Ming vases, which made for a somber and sedate atmosphere. It was not until 2012 that a new director, Matthias Wagner K, dared to stir up the dust. The museum thus regained its initial bright and breezy air. And ‘applied arts’ was redefined. Fashion icon Jil Sander got her first museum show there; Stefan Sagmeister presented a Beauty Show; Wagner K exhibited hipsters, hamsters and mobile phones; and Contemporary Muslim Fashions became the subject of much debate. In addition, Wagner K has opened his museum’s doors to festivals, such as the RAY photography triennial or the B3 biennial. This fall, the House of Norway is guest in what is currently the most exciting museum in the region.
DA WI | Hessian State Ballet
Compagnie Pas de Deux
The region is increasingly acclaimed for being a great place for ballet. Frankfurt was the birthplace of the world-famous Forsythe Company and today hosts the Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company under Jacopo Godani, its successor. In no way less ambitious is the Hessian State Ballet, which rose more recently from a merger of the dance sections of the state theatres in Wiesbaden and Darmstadt. Drawing from the strength of its two parent companies, and led by the distinguished choreographers Tim Plegge and Bruno Heynderickx, the ensemble has conceived a much acclaimed modern Nutcracker right beside political pieces such as #Mensch (human). The residency programme and the involvement of the independent scene are also very remarkable.
FRM | Festivals | Autumn Edition
Europe and beyond
Just about 100 festivals take place in the region throughout the year, which translates into one festival every week! Many of these festivals are international, contributing much to the region’s cosmopolitan flair. Here is a small selection. Autumn Edition.
- FRM | Tanzfestival Rhein-Main | Dance Festival | Oct-Nov
- F | Unfuck My Future | Aug-Sep
- WI | Wiesbadener Fototage | Photography | Aug-Sep
- WI | Exground | Independent Films | Nov
- WI | Made. | Performance Festival | Sep
- FRM | B3 Biennial of the Moving Image | Oct
- F | Lucas Festival for Young Film Lovers | Sep
- F | European Cultural Days | Music Festival | Aug-Oct
- F | Eroica | Beethoven 2020 | Sep
- DA | Jazzforum | Positions! Jazz & Politics | Oct
- MA/HD | International Film Festival | Nov
- KS | Kassel Dokfest | Documentary Films | Nov
- F | The Arts - Future of Culture Festival | Oct
- WI | Tarbut | Jewish Culture | Sep-Dec
- Wetterau | Jugendstilfestival | Art Nouveau | Sep-Sep
FRM | English Cultural Offers
The vast number of diverse English-language cultural offerings prove that FrankfurtRheinMain is a most cosmopolitan region. This is only a small selection of the most coveted venues and events.
CINEMAS Screening Anglophone Films:
PLACES For English Speaking Communities:
TOURS Offered in English
FRM | Events | Rentrée
TOUR D’HORIZON OF THE ART
In France, transitioning from summer to fall is couched in a beautiful collective experience called la rentrée. Meaning ‘the return’, it refers to a shared reawakening following the summer months and holidays. FrankfurtRheinMain, too, has its rentrée. Theatres are starting the season with an open house day, where people can look behind the scenes and get sneak previews. Oper and Schauspiel Frankfurt will start on September 1, while Mousonturm is marking its rentrée with a festival: Unfuck my future. How to live together in Europe. The visual arts are likewise preparing to kick off the season. Frankfurt’s galleries have organised a small festival and weekend of openings clustered around Fahrgasse. This gives way to the big museum openings of fall 2019, to feature three artists from three epochs: Rembrandt’s etchings (Darmstadt), Making Van Gogh (Städel) and Lee Krasner (Schirn). One last tip: many Frankfurt museums offer free admission on the last Saturday of the month.