Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter Pens Open Letter Decrying Closure of German Museum

The artist Gerhard Richter has written an open letter addressed to the mayor of the City of Leverkusen, located between Cologne and Düsseldorf, decrying the city’s announced plans to close the Museum Morsbroich and sell its collection to not only save on municipal costs but also to generate temporary revenue for the city. Richter, Rosemarie Trockel, Sigmar Polke, and Georg Baselitz as well as Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Louise Nevelson, Andy Warhol, and Robert Motherwell have all held exhibitions at the museum. The institution was also named museum of the year in North-Rhine Westphalia on numerous occasions.

Richter sent his letter last Friday to the mayor, Uwe Richrath, after hearing reports of a possible sale written up by the business consultants KPMG, which suggested shutting down the museum as part of a municipality cost-cutting measure. The report, which was published last week on February 22, says that a closure would save around €778,450, or about $844,000, annually. Richter’s letter in response states: “Museum Morsbroich is an institution of high repute whose exemplary work is taken notice of and prized far beyond the borders of the state. A public art collection is not a financial investment that can be plundered depending on the cash situation. It is a piece of art history and represents the cultural memory of its trustees.”

City council officials will decide the future of the museum on June 27, 2016.