Admire the striking exterior of the Brandhorst Museum, constructed from 36,000 multicolored ceramic rods, before scoping out the modern art within. Opened in May 2009, the museum’s centerpiece is its floor dedicated to abstract painter Cy Twombly. The twelve red, yellow and turquoise canvases of Twombly’s dramatic “Lepanto” cycle—viewed beneath ceilings that filter in natural light—are worth the price of admission alone ($8.80; $1.25 on Sunday).
Wander between colorful special exhibitions and dark Gothic rooms at Villa Stuck, the one-time mansion of German painter Franz von Stuck. The historic spot offers a wide range of work, from California artist Mel Ramos’s sexy statue of a naked woman emerging from a Chiquita banana peel to Von Stuck’s own macabre murals of angelic boys ($11.30).
Contrast the past and present at the Haus der Kunst, an imposing art museum that was the first monumental building of the Third Reich. Until 1944, only painters and sculptors that represented Hitler’s vision of German art could be shown here, but HdK now presents exhibitions like the Islamic-themed “The Future of Tradition - Tradition of the Future”, opening September 17, 2010 ($6.30).
Allot an afternoon for each of the three Pinakotheken museums – Old, New and Modern – which are three minutes away from one another. The Guggenheim-shaped Pinakothek der Moderne has the largest contemporary art collection in Germany, including a number of bold Ernst Kirchners and feverish Max Beckmanns, while the jaw-dropping Alte Pinakothek houses over 800 European masterworks ($8.80-$12.50; $1.25 on Sunday).