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Urban Canvas: Stephanie Utz and the Vision of MUCA

Stephanie Utz, the passionate co-founder of the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA), offers a glimpse into the world of urban and street art, revealing the inspirations and philosophies that drive the museum. Located in the heart of Munich, MUCA is Germany's first museum dedicated to urban art, a project born from the long-standing love and passion for art Stephanie shares with her husband, Christian Utz. In this feature, Stephanie provides insight into the museum's pioneering journey and its endeavours to offer a diverse and evolving spectrum of contemporary art to the public.

MUCA Stephanie Utz and Christian Utz

Stephanie Utz and Christian Utz

Photo credits: MUCA / wunderland media

Origins and Evolution of MUCA

MUCA, a privately run organization, was conceived 25 years ago from the shared dream of Stephanie and her husband to establish a museum. It officially opened its door in 2016. Stephanie remarked, "It all started with the love and passion of my husband Christian and myself. We are passionate art lovers and collectors since a long time." The museum stands as a testament to the couple’s commitment to sharing not just their private collection, but also to providing a platform for various artists to exhibit and share their work with the world.

Breaking Boundaries

Stephanie highlighted the museum's focus on renowned artists while maintaining a broad variety. She mentions renowned artists such as Barry McGee and Swoon, emphasizing the importance of showcasing a mix of styles and periods in urban art. For Stephanie and MUCA, the aim is to break down perceptions and labels often associated with urban and street art, urging a recognition of the hybrid forms and evolution present within this artistic landscape. “We should think wider in a wider range and understand that everything is linked in each other,” she elaborated, emphasizing the interlinked dialogue between different art forms and the continual progress in the field.

Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA) in Munich

Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA) in Munich

Photo credits: MUCA / wunderland media

Preserving Authenticity

Stephanie is ardently against the extraction of street art from its original context, referencing instances where pieces by artists like Banksy have been removed from walls and displayed in galleries. “If a street artist intentionally creates work in a specific location or venue, they have carefully considered the placement of this artwork. Removing the artwork from its original context causes it to lose its entire concept.” Stephanie passionately states that MUCA stands firm in its position to not partake in such practices, prioritising the preservation of an artwork's contextual integrity over market-driven games.

Artistic Perceptions and Philosophies

Artists from varied backgrounds and regions may imbue their work with influences from their upbringing and experiences, but Stephanie observes a shared philosophy and passion among them. The differences in reception and understanding of street and urban art stem more from the societal and governmental contexts of different regions. Stephanie's experiences reflect a universal openness and positive community impact from the placement of street, urban, and contemporary art, regardless of cultural constraints or differing historical influences.

Photo credits: MUCA / wunderland media

Icons of Urban Art in Japan

MUCA has extended its reach to Japan with the "Icons of Urban Art" exhibition, a collaboration with museums in Oita, Kyoto, and Tokyo. The show represents a diverse group of artists and is part of MUCA’s ongoing efforts to introduce its unique collection to a wider audience. Stephanie expressed her gratitude and excitement about the warm reception in Japan and she looks forward to the upcoming venues in Kyoto and Tokyo. “We felt warmly welcome and I can only put a lot of credit also to all the partners back in Japan who made this exhibition possible,” she stated.

Stephanie Utz’s deep insights unveil a fervent journey in the realms of urban and contemporary art, with MUCA spearheading dialogues and exploration in this diverse art form. The museum’s breakthrough collaborations, notably the upcoming venture in Kyoto, underscore its commitment to broadening artistic perceptions and fostering global artistic exchanges.

MUCA's "Icons of Urban Art" exhibition in Japan

Photo credits: MUCA / wunderland media


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