Where I Want to Be: Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is looking lovely this time of year, despite the Danube rising over its banks and causing minor flooding in the city. My 4th of July plans don’t really have room for a trip to Budapest, but if they did, I’d go to the Ludwig Museum. The Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art will be open until midnight on July 3 and 4. A night at the museum is always fun, and a night at the museum in Budapest during a warm summer sounds especially pleasant.

On these late nights, the Ludwig Museum will be showing films by Anton Corbijn to complement the photography exhibition of his work that focuses on rock and roll idols, documenting them, and in a later series trying to become them, rather like Cindy Sherman’s transformations.
I have been- ahem– slightly focused on Hungarian art of late, and it just so happens the Ludwig Museum is displaying the largest amount of its permanent collection since its inception in 1991. How the collection came to be is an interesting story in itself: collector Peter Ludwig was a German tycoon with a passion for collecting art. In an obituary, The Independent described him as “either the most selfless and discriminating art collector of the late 20th century or a self- aggrandising amasser of objects which he regarded as bargaining counters in a relentless pursuit of honours and distinction in his native Germany and abroad.”

Hommage à Dezső Korniss by Nadler, left, and Faces from the Square by Feher, right

Either way, Peter Ludwig created one of the largest collections in private hands, and turned over much of it to found museums in Cologne and Budapest, among other things. Because of his extraordinary donation, 200 excellent works of the 20th C. out of 300 in the Ludwig Museum’s show are from Ludwig’s original collection. The Warhols, Lichtensteins and Oldenbergs are complemented by works by Hungarian artists such as Keserü, Nádler and Feher.

Doesn’t it just look like fun? A night at the museum, a little rock and roll, a solid permanent collection of Hungarian and International art, and the story of an eccentric collector…

3 thoughts on “Where I Want to Be: Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary

  1. Linnea,
    If you do still have travel plans open, at least through July 12, you might want to consider a trip to the Chautauqua Institution, which until that date will be running a production of Tom Stoppard’s ARCADIA.

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