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La vie en rose. Brueghel, Monet, Twombly


Nicole Eisenman. What Happened

Permanent exhibition

From Andy Warhol to Kara Walker. Scenes from the Collection

Permanent exhibition

Cy Twombly at Museum Brandhorst


Nicole Eisenman. What Happened

Grünes Männchen mit einer Art Schildkrötenpanzer, das einen Brief liest.

“Nicole Eisenman. What Happened” at Museum Brandhorst surveys for the first time the entire spectrum of the artist’s three decades of work in painting and sculpture, bringing together approximately 100 works dating from 1992 to the present. Relevant from an art historical and social, political and deeply human perspective, it is an oeuvre that manages in an anarchic way to be both an homage to and a critique of its own subject.

Exhibition info




ca. 90 minutes

Curated by

Dr. Monika Bayer-Wermuth, Dr. Mark Godfrey

About the exhibition

Nicole Eisenman (*1965) has been one of the protagonists of the New York art scene since the 1990s and is today one of the most influential contemporary artists. From the beginning, her work has been characterized by a juxtaposition of different materials, formats and techniques from paintings and works on paper to large-scale murals and installations. Characteristically, Eisenman draws from a variety of sources, including works from the Renaissance, underground comics, and socialist murals of the 1930s to name but a few. Many of her works invoke the experiences of lesbian communities in New York. However, rather than being documentary, they are highly imaginative and comic.


In her large-scale figurative paintings since the 2000s, Eisenman references her living environment, depicting the everyday in ways that are both humorous and compassionate. They are often group portraits, yet they tell not only of unity and connectedness, but also of loneliness and alienation within society. Since the mid-2010s, the artist has produced a series of monumental paintings in which she references the tense political atmosphere in the United States following the 2016 presidential election. Some works criticize those voters who fell for Donald Trump’s populist promises. Others feature politically engaged communities working together to confront a social culture that is on a dark path (“The Darkward Trail”, 2018). In recent years, sculptural works have also become more prominent in Eisenman’s practice. After initially working with plaster at the beginning of the 2010s, these days there is no material that the artist does not use in her sculptures. Their materiality references queer themes that continually preoccupy Eisenman, along with her unwavering humanist and universalist stance.


An exhibition by Museum Brandhorst in cooperation with the Whitechapel Gallery London. Curated by Monika Bayer-Wermuth and Mark Godfrey.

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MVHS Course | How do I talk about contemporary art?

Guided tour

One hour with… Monika Bayer-Wermuth, Chief Curator

Guided tour

Lonely together. Nicole Eisenman’s group pictures


Artworks on view

Malerei, die den Oberkörper eines Mannes mit runder Nase zeigt, der in seiner großen Hand ein Handy vor sein Gesicht hält. Im Display spiegelt sich sein Auge.
Nicole Eisenman Selfie, 2014 Basement floor
Rückenansicht einer Person, die eine andere Person im Computerbildschirm betrachtet
Nicole Eisenman Long Distance, 2015 Basement floor
Malerei von Nicole Eisenman in Grüntönen, die eine Figur zeigt, die einen Brief liest
Nicole Eisenman From Success to Obscurity, 2004 Basement floor
Malerei, die eine Frau mit nacktem Oberkörper zeigt. In ihren Armen liegt eine Frau mit gelber Haut, die zu den Betrachtenden blickt. Im Hintergrund ist ein Beamer zu sehen.
Nicole Eisenman Morning Studio, 2016 Basement floor
Malerei von Nicole Eisenman, die zwei Figuren mit einer Katze in einem Biergarten zeigen
Nicole Eisenman Beer Garden with Ulrike and Celeste, 2009 Basement floor
Mehrere Menschen sitzen in einem Biergarten, im Vordergrund ein Band im Achselshirt, der den Blick auf die Betrachtenden gerichtet hat.
Nicole Eisenman Beer Garden with A.K., 2009 Basement floor
Skulptur eines blauen Kopfes, der nach rechts geneigt ist.
Nicole Eisenman Sleeping Frat Guy, 2013 Basement floor
Malerei, auf der eine Person in einem zerschlissenen Segelboot in Form eines Tierschädel zu sehen ist.
Nicole Eisenman Heading Down River on the USS J-Bone of an Ass, 2017 Basement floor
Malerei, die eine Person beim Fernsehen auf einem Sofa zeigt
Nicole Eisenman Reality Show, 2022 Basement floor
Malerei, die Meerjungfrauen zeigt, die leidend an Angelhaken von Fischern hängen.
Nicole Eisenman Mermaid Catch, 1996 Basement floor
Zeichnung, die mehrere nackte weibliche Körper zeigt, die aufeinanderliegen.
Nicole Eisenman Twister, 1995 Basement floor
Malerei, auf der Schwimmbahnen zu sehen sind, in denen mehrere Menschen schwimmen, die nur mit Badehaube und Schwimmbrille bekleidet sind.
Nicole Eisenman Swimmers in the Lap Lane, 1995 Basement floor
Malerei, auf der ein Mann von der Seite zu sehen ist, der auf eine Leinwand starrt und einen Pinsel in seinen großen, mit Farbe beschmierten Händen hält.
Nicole Eisenman Were-Artist, 2007 Basement floor

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