Frankfurt: Exhibits change often at Applied Arts Museum

A visitor to Frankfurt's Museum Angewandte Kunst, or Applied Arts Museum, checks out a display of soup bowls. They are part of a temporary exhibit of soup bowls and utensils through the ages from the museum's depot.


By MICHAEL ABRAMS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 11, 2014

The arts encompass a variety of forms: painting, sculpture, music, literature, architecture — and the applied arts.

What are applied arts? Think everything from the design of your smartphone and Chippendale chairs, to flatware and jewelry; basically, anything designed to be used.

To find out exactly what applied arts are, we recently visited the Museum Angewandte Kunst, or Applied Arts Museum, in Frankfurt, Germany. Housed in a glass-and-concrete building that is, in itself, a work of art, the museum reopened with a new concept last April after a renovation.

Before the makeover, the museum was full of permanent exhibits from its vast collection, with temporary exhibits thrown in. Now, the museum features ever-changing temporary exhibits, some from its collection and others from outside sources.

The new concept has its ups and downs. You can visit the museum more often for the various exhibits, but if you missed one, oops, too bad.

The exhibits are spread out over three floors. The ground floor exhibit, “Less but Better — Design in Frankfurt 1925 to 1985,” features items designed in Frankfurt. Of note is a wall-mounted stereo set and everyday household items — shaver, radio, coffee machine, juicer — made by Braun, a local company. The exhibit runs, unfortunately, only until Feb.22.

If you think globalization is something new, check out “1607: From the Early Days of Globalization,” on the second floor. This exhibit features 16th- and 17th-century items from around the world, transported from continent to continent by ship. It features, among other things, Chinese porcelain, a tankard from Bohemia, an owl-shaped vessel from Silesia, a suitcase from Germany and a dagger from India. The exhibit closes April 27.

The exhibit on the top floor highlights items from the museum’s depot. Called “Eating and Drinking — About Soup,” it is about just that. On display are soup bowls and utensils from across the globe and through the millennium. You can see an 18th-century turkey-shaped tureen from Germany, 20th-century art deco bowls from Austria and earthenware bowls from about 1800 B.C. from China, all on exhibit until May 11.

Attached to the museum is the 19th-century Villa Metzler. Nine of its rooms feature furniture from different periods.

Among upcoming exhibits at the museum are the 3rd Nordic Fashion Biennale (March 22-June 22), Tokyo Arts Directors Club Award 2013 (April 10-Aug. 17), and Elementary Parts: From the Collections (opens May 10).


Museum Angewandte Kunst (Applied Arts Museum), Frankfurt


The Museum Angewandte Kunst is in Frankfurt’s Sachsenhausen district on the south bank of the Main River at Schaumainkai 17.

The best place to park is at Parkhaus Alt-Sachsenhausen at Walter-Kolb-Strasse 16. The museum is about a two-block walk.


Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday; closed on Mondays.


Admission is 9 euros (about $12.40) for adults, 4. 50 euros for children. Kids 6 and under are free. Admission is free on the last Saturday of the month. Parking at the Alt-Sachsenhausen garage is 1 euro per hour, probably the cheapest in Frankfurt.


There is a third-floor bistro that offers sandwiches, cakes and drinks all day and hot food, such as pasta, for lunch at reasonable prices. Next door, on the museum grounds is Restaurant Emma Metzler, one of Frankfurt’s top culinary addresses (expensive).


The German-only website: www.museumangewandtekunst.de

Porcelain objects from China are part of the exhibit "1607 From the Early Days of Globalization," at Frankfurt's Museum Angewandte Kunst, or Applied Arts Museum.

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