Founded in 1829, the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf belongs to the first generation of German Kunstvereins. With over 3000 members it is also one of the largest. As an autonomous venue for the production, presentation and communication of contemporary art, it occupies a firm place in the cultural life of Düsseldorf and its environs. At the same time, however, its exhibition program is oriented to an international audience.
The respective aesthetic and societal state of present-day art is reflected in the Kunstverein’s monographic and thematic exhibitions. Of decisive significance for the Kunstverein’s program is the tracing of current relevant theoretical as well as practice-oriented themes and to present them for discussion in exhibitions and educational events. An important aspect of the Kunstverein’s work is to introduce still young and lesser known artists as well as previously underrepresented positions, and in doing so, lay the foundation both in terms of method and content for an ongoing occupation with their artistic projects.
The exhibition spaces and administration of the Kunstverein has been housed since 1967 on the second floor of for the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, designed by Konrad Beckmann on Grabbeplatz in the heart of the “Altstadt.” The Kunstverein organizes exhibitions, lectures and discussions there, all of which are open to the public, and which likewise incorporate political and social issues over and above artistic questions. An extensive educational program encompassing guided tours and art trips are aimed in particular at the members of the Kunstverein. A circle of “Young Members” was established in 2013 that puts on its own series of events featuring studio visits and lectures.