Gerhard Richter Wants to Give the City of Münster a New Site-Specific Artwork

He was inspired to create a multipart piece for a deconsecrated church after visiting the site with Kasper König.

Gerhard Richter attends the inauguration of his series of four paintings called "Birkenau" at the Reichstag on September 4, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When Gerhard Richter offers to make you a work of art, you accept.

Richter, the most expensive living German artist, has volunteered to donate a site-specific work to the city of Münster in Westphalia. Richter told the German press agency DPA on Wednesday that he envisions the work as a multipart piece centered on Foucault’s pendulum, the tool used by the physicist Léon Foucault to prove the rotation of the earth.

Richter would create the work in response to the architecture of the site he has in mind, the Dominikanerkirche (Dominican Church) in the city’s old center.

The 85-year-old artist told the press he became interested in the building after visiting the decennial exhibition Skulptur Projekte Münster with his friend Kasper König, the show’s artistic director. (The citywide public art exhibition closes on October 1.)

The city council is expected to announce Richter’s gift in the coming days. The church has been slated for deconsecration since 2014, although the city council has not yet determined the future use of the site. The deconsecration ceremony is slated to take place in mid-November.

The news of Richter’s gift comes on the heels of two other major donations by the artist to important locations in Germany. In June, Richter announced he would give his series “Birkenau,” which deals with the Holocaust, to the German Reichstag. (He unveiled the new hanging in Berlin on September 4.)

In late August, the artist gave a photographic version of his famous painting Aunt Marianne (1987) to a memorial in Saxony dedicated to the victims of forced euthanasia under the Nazi regime. The painting, which sold in 2006 to a Taiwanese businessman for nearly $4 million, shows the artist as a baby held by his aunt, Marianne Schönfelder, who died in a Nazi mental institution after she was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Unlike the two previous donations, however, the work for Münster will be a new site-specific piece.


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