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The Städelschule was established by a foundation set up by the Frankfurt merchant Johann Friedrich Städel in 1817. With his bequest Städel made it possible to set up the ‘Städelsches Kunstinstitut’, for the purpose of introducing students to his prodigous art collection and to establish a school for talented young students; the public also gained access to his collection. Städel's institute was concerned with an assessment of traditional and contemporary art as well as the development of entirely new practices. Over the years two institutions developed: the Städelmuseum"Städel" and the Städelschule.
The Städelschule is an international academy; this applies to both teachers and students: 40% of the student body, and many of the professors, comes from abroad. The exhibition space Portikus has also added to the school's international reputation. In 1987, the contemporary exhibition space Portikus was established, as part of the Städelschule, by the school's director Kaspar König. Artists from around the world exhibit there by invitation, with great benefit to the students and outside visitors. The art scene in Frankfurt am Main has been enriched by its more than one hundred exhibitions; over the years, Portikus has developed into a leading center for experimental art in Germany. In 2008, the Städelschule, in collaboration with Portikus, produced a volume about the academy and the gallery called "Kunst Lehren—Teaching Art," with texts by critics, historians, and curators, including Pamela Lee, Okwui Enwezor, Niklas Maak, and Jan Verwoert, and published by the noted publisher Walther König.
Together the Städelschule and Portikus constitute a leading international center for experimental art. Proponents of leading developments in art and architecture are regularly in residence or lecture at the school. Music is also often represented. In 1980, for example, the famous band Throbbing Gristle, founders of industrial music, performed at the Städelschule.
Many well-known artists have taught at the school. The painter Max Beckmann became a professor at the school in 1925, but when the Nazis came to power in 1933, they dismissed him from his position and listed him as a "degenerate" artist, including him in the Degenerate art exhibition of 1937.
Director: Prof. Dr. Philippe Pirotte Curator: Sophie von Olfers
Address: Alte Brücke 2 / Maininsel, D-60594 Frankfurt am Main Portikus
Portikus, on an island abutting the Alte Brücke, or Old Bridge, in Frankfurt am Main, was founded as an exhibition hall for contemporary art by the noted German curator Kaspar König when he was director (rector) of the Städelschule. Its name derives from the surviving portico of the public library (Alte Stadtbibliothek) of 1825 that was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. In 1987, the vestige of this classical building once again fulfilled its architectural function as a façade when the Frankfurt-based architects Marie-Theres Deutsch and Klaus Dreißigacker built a simple white cube to function as the Portikus gallery. In 2003, however, after 16 years and more than 100 exhibitions, Portikus had to vacate its space for the reconstruction of the former public library. Portikus moved into the ground floor of the historical building known as the Leinwandhaus, in an exhibition space designed by artist and school professor Tobias Rehberger. In 2006, Portikus moved to a new space, designed by Frankfurt architect Christoph Mäckler (who was also responsible from the reconstruction of the former library building). The new building is located on a small island in the river Main and is accessible only from the Old Bridge that is the historic and symbolic center of the city.