The 1920s were a decade of both progression and backlash. A catastrophic world war followed by a pandemic with remarkable parallels to the current corona crisis awakened people’s thirst for life. At no time in the 20th century was the desire for change more intense.

Theodore Lux Feininger, Xanti Schawinsky, Untitled, around 1927, Private collection, © The Estate of Theodore Lux Feininger, The Xanti Schawinsky Estate
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Shirana Shahbazi / Wolfensberger lithographic press, Composition with Mountain, 2014, Kunsthaus Zürich, © Shirana Shahbazi
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Félix Vallotton, Woman with Powder, 1921, Private collection
Elli Marcus, Valeska Gert: Ballet parody in tulle dress, around 1930, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek, © bpk / Kunstbibliothek, SMB / Elli Marcus
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Ernest Neuschul, Takka-Takka dances, 1926, Private collection © The Estate of Ernest Neuschul
László Moholy-Nagy, LIS, 1922, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1981

From Josephine Baker to Thomas Ruff


CHF 23.–/18.– (concessions and groups)
Free admission for members and children and young people under the age of 17. Tip : Senior (AHV) discounts every Wednesday

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We look forward to welcoming you to the Kunsthaus. For organizational reasons, prior registration is required., +41 44 253 84 84

Urban visions were created and cities grew at breakneck speed. Conventional role models in society and marriage were questioned and upended; disadvantaged and oppressed minorities made their voices heard in politics and culture. Improved conditions for workers went hand in hand with a growing leisure industry. The spirit of innovation fed through directly into art, with experimentation in all disciplines. Remarkably, none of its products have lost any of their relevance.

Unlike many exhibitions devoted to the 1920s, this presentation does not examine movements such as Bauhaus, Dada, New Objectivity or the design and architecture icons of modernism in isolation, but instead places them in dialogue, shedding light on the stylistic heterogeneity typical of those transformative years.

Performances, talks and much more

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive discourse programme. From dialogical guided tours with Cabaret Voltaire to dance performances and guerrilla actions.

Accompanying programm PDF

Re:Frame 20s

Students from the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) offer their own topical visual responses to the works in the exhibition. The results of this online teaching session can be viewed at: .

Focusing on Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Zurich, the exhibition incorporates all the prevalent media of the time, from painting, sculpture and drawing to photography, film and collage. It also offers a platform to less-known figures, notably women. Contemporary artists Kader Attia, Marc Bauer, Andrea Büttner, Laura Gerlach, Raphael Hefti, Rashid Johnson, Fabian Marti, Alexandra Navratil, Trevor Paglen, Nicolas Party, Thomas Ruff, Shirana Shahbazi, Veronika Spierenburg, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Rzn Torbey and Rita Vitorelli, who explicitly engage with the formal language and themes of the 1920s, bridge the gap to the present day. Marc Bauer, Veronika Spierenburg and Rita Vitorelli have produced new works specially for the exhibition.

With contributions from Josef Albers, Hans Arp, Kader Attia, Johannes Baargeld, Josephine Baker, Marc Bauer, Erwin Blumenfeld, Constantin Brancusi, André Breton, Marcel Breuer, Suse Byk, Andrea Büttner, Coco Chanel, Adolf Dietrich, Dodo, Theo van Doesburg, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Theodore Lux Feininger, Hans Finsler, Laura J Gerlach und Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, Valeska Gert, Barthel Gilles, George Grosz, Raphael Hefti, Heinrich Hoerle, René Herbst, Hannah Höch, Karl Hubbuch, Pierre Jeanneret, Rashid Johnson, Wassily Kandinsky, Elisabeth Karlinsky, Paul Klee, Rudolf von Laban und Suzanne Perrottet, Laura J Gerlach, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Jeanne Mammen, Elli Marcus, Fabian Marti, László Moholy-Nagy, Lucia Moholy,

Public guided tours

Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. (in German)

Private guided tour

Group size: max. 16
Languages: German, English, French, Italian, Dutch
Cost: admission to the exhibition + CHF 190.– (German) / CHF 220.– (other languages), duration: 1 hour

Requests should normally be submitted at least a week before your desired date.

Piet Mondrian, Alexandra Navratil, Trevor Paglen, Gret Palucca, Nicolas Party, Charlotte Perriand, Paul Poiret, Man Ray, Hans Richter, Gerrit T. Rietveld, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Thomas Ruff, Christian Schad, Xanti Schawinsky, Wilhelm Schnarrenberger, Kurt Schwitters, Shirana Shahbazi, Veronika Spierenburg, Warwara Stepanowa, Edward Steichen, Niklaus Stoecklin, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Rzn Torbey, My Ullmann, Félix Vallotton, Madeleine Vionnet, Rita Vitorelli (supported by: Bundesministerium Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport, Österreich), Gustav Wunderwald.

The exhibition is a cooperation between Kunsthaus Zürich and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and will be presented there in Spring/Summer 2021.

A co-production with the Festspiele Zürich

Curator: Cathérine Hug


Image above: Shirana Shahbazi, [Diver-02-2011], Kunsthaus Zürich, Photocollection, Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde, Gruppe Junge Kunst, 2015

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