The nrw museums platform is a platform for art and the museums of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is a »work in progress« to which we have gradually been adding the collections of selected modern art museums in North Rhine-Westphalia since 2006. The focus of the platform is art that has a permanent home in the regional collections. It offers insights into the museums on distinct levels and from a variety of perspectives:

The themes make it possible to stroll through curated exhibition rooms. Under selection, you will find ways of researching the modern art collections in NRW. The news page offers details of upcoming events and exhibitions, as well as a journal which acts as our blog. You can also click the icons to find our social media pages, or access practical assistance when preparing to visit one of the museums. Under more, as well as artist biographies and texts on the museums, you will find the option to build up your own individual collections. Every level of the platform leads the visitor to the museums on the ground and the original art works; they are intended both to help you find your way around and to encourage you to visit the museums.

The nrw museums platform is devoted to a branch of the arts that is particularly representative of the tradition of museums and collecting in 19th and 20th century North Rhine-Westphalia.

A dense network of museums has grown up in this region dating back to the artistic movements of the 19th century: here modernism was expressed in more than just industrial culture and architecture. In tune with the interests of private and public collectors alike, it has concentrated particularly on modern and contemporary art, although following a range of approaches and ideas. As a result, the regional museums were devoted to »masterpieces« of modern art, or to documenting regional traditions in the work of individual artists or groups. They positioned themselves as public centres of art, in dialogue with the urban areas around them. They developed new museum concepts that questioned the didactic value of style or chronology and focused on the phenomena of everyday experience, the media world or popular culture.

The surrounding cultural and media worlds also sparked the museums in NRW to take up new positions – concentrating on non-European art, for example, or the opportunities opened up for art in the media or virtual worlds. In the process, they also developed wider, globally oriented perspectives, bringing new life to existing artistic terminology or creating new relationships with the everyday world of a modernised society.

The current collections in NRW encompass almost every aspect of modern art. They span works under such headings as impressionism or art nouveau, expressionism and constructivism, surrealism and new objectivity, all the way through the artistic phenomena of the second half of the 20th century to objects and installations, to performance art and environments, action painting, art informel, pop art, conceptual art or the postmodern currents of new figuration, land and body art, video and internet art.

The aim of the museumsplattform nrw is to be more than just a database or image store for the museums’ collections of modern art. In structure and content, it holds true to a curatorial concept driven by both the specific works and the history of the collections. As a result, both the »architecture« and »collection« of the museumsplattform new, which were developed simultaneously, can be traced back to cooperation between the NRW KULTURsektretariat and the museums and institutions concerned – working together with art historians and archivists, web developers and designers, photographers and graphic artists.

At the heart of all this, now and always, is the art at the museums, in North Rhine-Westphalia, made available via selected collections and accessible in a variety of ways. It offers an opportunity to represent the heterogeneous modern artistic era as found across various collections on one central site. It enables us to see the links between collections. Likewise, we can display new configurations of artworks that cross the boundaries of individual museums and their locations in a shared museum space; something which could otherwise only be arranged in temporary exhibitions.

At first the job of bringing together these wide-ranging collections was done through works created since the second half of the 20th century, which are thus on the borders of the field of contemporary art. Step by step, the museumsplattform nrw’s initial collection was expanded to include new areas, stretching back into the 19th century. As the collections have grown, the network of museums involved has also expanded.

The nrw museums platform offers several levels through which you can access modern art:

The virtual museum of modernism nrw is laid out as a public collection of artworks. From here you can choose how to access NRW’s modern art: these paths, via either image or text mode, lead to the works, the artists, the museums and regional locations, and also to themes that give you yet another perspective on the modern art collections in NRW.

The selection page is laid out as a systematic research area. You can choose between all kinds of search options to gain direct access to our collections. The results lists point towards the actual location as well as leading to the individual exhibition rooms of the virtual museum. Relevant links to the artist’s biography, the museum and the year the work was created appear beneath the academic text, helping you to continue your research.

The news area of the platform shows how we are expanding the platform to provide up-to-date information and entertaining content. Clicking on news will take you to details of all current exhibitions and events at the partner museums, while the journal also contains posts on the art scene in NRW to keep you informed and amused. Here you will also find a blog feature, where you can add your own comments and posts.

On the more page is the my museum area, where you can store your own collection of modern art. Here you can manage and print all the works you collect from the virtual museum of modernism nrw via the heart button. This level also contains all the important basic information about the platform (legal and site information, a contact form and text credits), texts on the museum institutions, the artists, towns and cities. We can also help you plan your own visit to our museums via links to the Deutsche Bahn website, a hotel finder and Google maps.

Combining academic content, news and customer service information, the nrw museums platform provides both a digital communication and information tool, and an introduction to the vibrant arts and museums scene in NRW.

We hope that you will enjoy and be inspired by your visit!

Foto: Tobias Roch, Hagen Bildrechte: VG Bild Kunst, Bonn 2014 Bildrechte: gemeinfrei, Foto: Peter Hinschläger Bildrechte: Calder Foundation New York / Foto Stiftung Lehmbruck Museum

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