Once in a Blue Moon

60 Years of Kunsthaus Hamburg

Installation views Once in a Blue Moon, Kunsthaus Hamburg 2023, with works by GRAU, Mariella Mosler and Nicolaas Schmidt
Photos 1, 4 and 5: Hayo Heye
Photos 2 and 3: Antje Sauer

Once in a Blue Moon
60 Years of Kunsthaus Hamburg

7 October – 4 November 2023
Temporary opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday, 4 – 10 pm
Friday, 3 November: closed
Free admission

Become part of the music programme: Sign up for a slot
From 8 October to 1 November, the exhibition hall of the Kunsthaus will regularly be transformed into an open stage for anyone who wants to play – be it a concert, DJ set or playlist. A DJ setup incl. CDJs and record players as well as a microphone will be available, instruments can be brought along. 2-hour slots must be reserved in advance and will be confirmed by email.

Once in a Blue Moon – this English proverb lends us the title for a rare event: we are celebrating 60 years of Kunsthaus Hamburg. A time for self-reflection – time to set new impulses with a view to the past. Originally founded on the initiative of regional artists, it will remain the central task of the Kunsthaus to offer the latter an inviting, open and globally networking platform. This programmatic focus will be supplemented in a multi-layered interweaving with national and international positions. The anniversary programme picks up on our self-conception as a participatory exhibition space, artistic production site and cultural-political discussion platform. So, from 7 October, we are transforming the exhibition hall into a multi-auditory and interactive social space from Tuesdays to Sundays between 4 and 10 pm.

Four immersive sound, light and colour installations on view in the exhibition hall form a visual and thematic brace: Mariella Mosler’s minimalistic intervention into the space entitled Soft Grid #1 (2023) was conceived specifically for the project. It extends the spatial axes of the Kunsthaus into the urban environment. Symbolising a communicative network structure, its ceremonial, silver tinsel garlands point far beyond the architecture and subtly set it in motion. Very directly, Florian Deeg’s sound work extends communication into the outside space: “Hello” resounds in different accentuations on the façade of the Kunsthaus. Deliberately irritating, the universal greeting addresses the numerous pedestrians passing the Kunsthaus. The sculpture Bonfire (2021) by GRAU sets the space in motion through an immersive light performance. Around the fire – the primordial form of human invention – rituals, stories and communities have developed. GRAU’s atmospheric large-scale sculpture is conceived to stimulate our senses and emotions, to illuminate and restore the relationships with ourselves and one another. The video work 36KFRGB (2013) by Nicolaas Schmidt also symbolically ties in with the values the Kunsthaus Hamburg stands for. RGB colours flood the hall in an immense variety of combinations. The 256 gradations of red, green and blue yield millions of colours in the 42.5-hour loop.

The central element of the project is sound – also inspired by a certain Blue Moon. The eponymous evergreen song by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart has seen numerous reinterpretations, including those by Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan. In this regard, it exemplifies a creative discourse – ideas are adopted, complemented and altered by a wide variety of artists. Following this kind of creative process, we are facilitating four weeks of musical participation, exchange and sharing for everyone. An on-site DJ setup and microphone are freely accessible during the entire period, and using the hall as a rehearsal or concert stage is equally welcome. The 2-hour slots, which can be booked online, are complemented by a diverse musical programme. Different musical genres – ranging from electronically experimental contributions and classical DJ sets to guitar or rap concerts and participatory formats – are brought together here.

The final event will be a symposium on the relevance of the visual arts in Hamburg, organized in cooperation with the Professional Association of Visual Artists (BBK) and Ateliers für die Kunst (AfdK). In the framework of three panels accompanied by short keynote speeches, we will discuss with cultural practitioners and decision-makers the importance of art institutions and culturally integrated urban development for a vibrant society and cultural scene. In order to facilitate a continuous dialogue, an event of this kind will from now on take place annually at the Kunsthaus.


Saturday, 7 October, 6 – 11 pm
7 pm: Introduction by Anna Nowak (Kunsthaus Hamburg), DG. Reiß (Artist and former chairperson of BBK Hamburg), Inga Wellmann (Ministry of Culture and Media Hamburg) & start open decks
8 pm: Live sampling by Camila Agudelo Mejía
9 pm: Campfire concert by Lena Geue
From 9:30 pm: Open decks
Music programme curated by: Konstantin Bessonov, Mark Matthes & Simon Roessler

Staff outing BEEK
Saturday, 14 October, 4 – 10 pm
Collective improvisation

Excursus on the History & Present of the Kunsthaus
Tuesday, 17 October, 6 pm

Curated Sound I 
Saturday, 21 October, 7 pm – 2 am
7 pm: DJ set by Urania (POSSY)
8 pm: Concert by Passepartout Duo (live)
9 pm: Concert by Laure Boer (live)
10 pm: DJ set by Agrodolce b2b Taxi M. (POSSY)
11 pm: Late-night concert by Der feine Schliv (POSSY) and Slezga (live)
12 am: DJ set by Agrodolce b2b Taxi M. (POSSY)
Curated by: Konstantin Bessonov, Mark Matthes & Simon Roessler

Excursus on the History & Present of the Kunsthaus
Tuesday, 24 October, 6 pm

Meet the team
Tuesday, 24 October, 6 – 8 pm

Curated Sound II
Saturday, 28 October, 4 – 10 pm
4 pm: DJ set by rh-rn (Transmute)
6 pm: DJ set by Hye-Eun Kim (CHB19)
7: 30 pm: Live set by nthng (Transatlantic, Delsin)
8:30 pm: DJ set by Recorded Future (Fluid Festival, Transmute)
Curated by: Transmute

Curated Sound III
Tuesday, 31 October, 12 – 20 pm
4 pm: DJ set by Schuu
6 pm: Concert by Mykola Lebed (live)
8 pm: DJ set by Udda
Curated by: The Gathering Place

Saturday, 4 November, 10 am – 8 pm
11:30 am: Panel I – On the Significance of Visual Arts in Hamburg
1 pm: Interactive audio sampling by David Wallraf
2 pm: Panel II – Culture-integrative Urban Development
4 pm: Panel III – Self-positioning of Kunsthaus Hamburg
6 pm: Interactive audio sampling by David Wallraf

All other days: open music programme from 4 – 10 pm

Kindly supported by: