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Lucy McKenzie: Prime Suspect

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A formidable painter known for her deployment of illusionistic trompe l’oeil effects and architecturally-scaled installations, Lucy McKenzie (b. Glasgow, 1977) quickly established herself as one of the most exciting artists of her generation. Developed in close collaboration with the artist herself, and featuring over 100 works dating from 1997 to the present, the exhibition will bring together examples from all of the artist’s significant bodies of work and for the first time examine the full scope of her oeuvre.

Exhibition info




ca. 90 minutes

Curated by

Jacob Proctor

About the exhibition

Lucy McKenzie excavates and appropriates images, objects, and motifs from the histories of art, architecture, and design; literature, music, and film; fashion, politics, and sport. She transforms these source materials using the outmoded techniques of nineteenth-century decorative painting, creating surprising new constellations that illuminate an alternative history of painting that emphasizes the vernacular, the domestic, and the collaborative. The so-called “applied arts” emerge as key points in a narrative that diverges from the established chronologies of the avant-garde and modern art.


Although renowned as a painter, McKenzie’s oeuvre also includes drawings, texts, sculptural objects, and videos. Often both collaborative and interdisciplinary, her practice has often extended beyond the gallery space to include the founding of a record label, a bar, and a successful line of ready-to-wear fashion, among other activities. Developed in close collaboration with the artist herself, this exhibition will provide an opportunity to examine the full scope of her oeuvre for the first time anywhere.


With over 100 works dating from 1997 to the present, the exhibition will bring together examples from all of the artist’s significant bodies of work, including her early paintings of athletes and scenes from Cold War-era Olympic games and 1980s pop music; her subsequent engagement with the traditions of Scottish and Eastern European muralism; Belgian illustration and typography; large-scale paintings based on historic architectural drawings; the collaborative fashion label and research project Atelier E.B; recent trompe l’oeil works blurring the lines between painting, sculpture, and furniture; and her ongoing series of Quodlibet paintings; as well as new works commissioned especially for the exhibition.

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The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive and abundantly illustrated catalogue, providing the first systematic representation and scholarly analysis of Lucy McKenzie’s oeuvre. Alongside an essay by exhibition curator Jacob Proctor, the catalogue will include contributions by noted international artists, critics, and historians of art and design. It will appear in two editions (German, English) and will become the standard reference work for the ongoing international and interdisciplinary engagement with McKenzie’s work.