2 Min Lesezeit
Ferdinand Kramer © Ferdinand Kramer Archiv
© Museum Angewandte Kunst
Kanne, Ferdinand Kramer, Design; Emil Graf, Frankfurt am Main, Herstellung

As building director of the Goethe University, Ferdinand Kramer (1898 to 1985) and his team realised a general plan as well as a total of 23 university buildings including interiors between 1952 and 1964. The designs not only mark a radical and democratic new beginning for academic Frankfurt after the Second World War, they also continue the approach that Ferdinand Kramer had realised for his hometown from 1925 in the context of the municipal housing programme of the New Frankfurt in a team led by the city architect Ernst May. In 1937, Kramer was banned from working; a year later he followed his wife Beate to the USA. At Max Horkheimer’s request, Kramer returned to Frankfurt in 1952, where he worked until his death on 4 November 1985.

Ferdinand Kramer would have turned 125 this year. To mark the occasion, Frankfurt’s Museum Angewandte Kunst is dedicating an exhibition to him entitled “Loving Kramer – Objects. Architecture. Film. Art. Conversation” from 4 to 19 November, as well as several events that are intended as a homage to the architect and designer who was as beloved as he was controversial. At the same time, the museum says, it will ask “about the relevance of his captivatingly simple as well as functional design for the future of a democratic and social society”. The exhibition consists of objects from the museum collection – supplemented by re-editions of the design label E15, which are based on Kramer’s designs. Also on view are two video works by Frankfurt artist Martina Wolf, which were created at the Kramer Building on the former biology campus of Goethe University, and the film “Ferdi gegen Frankfurt/M – Aus dem Leben des Architekten Ferdinand Kramer” by Digne Meller Marcovicz, produced by Hessischer Rundfunk in 1983.

The extensive programme of events, including guided tours of the exhibition and several architectural tours of selected Kramer buildings, begins on 4 November with a workshop, a film presentation and a panel discussion featuring Helen Barr, research associate at the Institute of Art History at Goethe University, Jochem Jourdan, architect and landscape planner, Grit Weber, curator and deputy director at the Museum Angewandte Kunst. On 18 November, the “isenburg quartett” will play works by Hans Gál, Morton Feldman, Nikos Skalkottas and Quincy Porter.

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