Lives and Works in Berlin

Lives and Works in Berlin: The Sommerpause Art Guide

Nothing spells houseguest season like late-August in Berlin. With school about to resume and the major art metropolises shut down for summer, the town becomes besieged by the event hungry. But with most galleries closed, museum blockbusters wrapped-up, and the usual array of talks and screenings, the question looms: what do you recommend for guests? For those art tourist hosts shrugging their shoulders, and for visitors, who may or may not have art savvy hosts, here is a cursory round-up to keep you occupied until September.


Closing this Saturday is the Glasgow School of Art’s MFA International Exhibition Definition Article at Kunstraum Kreuzberg and from last year’s Glasgow graduating class is Kate V Robertson with her show, Pieces, a sculptural dialogue with art history’s generic leveraging of meaning on view at FEINKOST through September 5.

Darri Lorenzen & Lan Hungh, "3D Renderings of Hangers" (2010). Courtesy of the artists.

Chiming into the art historical debates with a carton of readymade hangers found en-route to the exhibition’s inaugural meeting, and a lot of research, is Lan Hungh and Darri Lorenzen‘s final product, RPLCMNT, on view at Savvy Contemporary until September 11.

Also not to be missed are Yinka Shonibare MBE’s masterful Victorian dandies at Friedrichswerder Church and ArtForum’s Berlin picks: Mona Hatoum’s Käthe Kollwitz Prize exhibition at the Akademie der Künste and Liam Gillick’s 1848!!! at Esther Shipper.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, "Colonel Tarleton and Mrs. Oswald Shooting" (2007). Copyright Haupt & Binder, 2010.


Starting next week at SPLACE, the Berlin TV Tower’s former GDR exhibition space, is an untitled exhibition of works by Ulrike Kuschel, Thomas Bayrle, Dani Jakob, Sunah Choi, and a Mickey Rourke double header screening, Mickey Rourke II, at Temporäre Kunsthalle, followed by Montags Bar. The Kunsthalle will hold one last Montags Bar on August 30th, hosted by John Bock. On Wednesday, General Public will finish up their Screening in General #15 to # IX series with three films by Sophie Hamacher, and on Thursday, Gentili Apri will launch Translation as a Structuring Principal: If A Then B, a new publication edited by Pablo Larios and designed by John McCusker. Accompanying the publication is the not to be missed self-titled exhibition featuring works by Anne de Vries, Lindsay Lawson, Damon Zucconi, and a surprise animals-turned-medium performance by Hayley Silverman. Ushering in the weekend is Jeremy Shaw‘s Friday night laser channeled solo-show at Samsa.

"Translation as a Structuring Principle: If A Then B," detail (2010). Copyright John McCusker, 2010.

And on Saturday, August 28 from 6 pm to 2 am, nearly 100 of Berlin’s museums and cultural centers will open their doors and fuel up their shuttle buses for The Long Night of Museums. Sadly omitted from of the Long Night’s 15 euro package is Bruce Nauman’s first Berlin retrospective Dream Passage at Hamburger Bahnhof. But two exhibitions off of the Museumsinsel of note are Moderne Zeiten: The Collection, 1900-1945 at the Neue Nationalgalerie and Vodou: Art and Cult from Haiti at the Ethnologisches Museum.

Bruce Nauman, "American Violence," 1981-1982, Christian Flick Collection in Hamburger Bahnhof. Copyright VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn (2010). Photo: Roman März, Berlin.

Modern Zeiten is a historical survey of the museum’s collection from turn of the century acquisitions to the collection’s reunification in 1990. Pairing together famous Bauhaus and Dada works from László Moholy-Nagy and George Grosz with lesser known abstract tricksters like Oskar Nerlinger, the exhibition avoids the cheesy oversimplification of its neighboring monuments to impart a bonafide sense of Berlin art’s turbulent early 20th-century history. Hung on the lower floor of this Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building, it’s easy to re-envision a 1970s opening at this West Berlin hotspot, before being brought back to the present by blown-up photocopies of Expressionist masterpieces lost to the 1937 exhibition, Entartete Kunst (Degenerate art).

Oskar Nerlinger, "Berlin's City Railway" (1930). Photo: Alex Freedman, 2010.

Celebrating survival a few tram stops away is Vodou: Art and Cult from Haiti. Belabored by a wanting scenography, this exhibition of polychromatic Haitian folk art at first seems skippable. But don’t be mislead by bad lighting, the multifaceted pairings of cloth, mirrors, shells, horns, teeth, metals, beads, woodwork, and religious icons are hypnotizing. Plus a portion of the exhibition’s proceeds will fund a new cultural center to house these works, along with 2,000 others that made it through last January’s quake.

Flags. Copyright Sammlung Marianne Lehmann, FPVPOCH, Photo: Johnathan Watts, MEG

For further listings, be sure to checkout Index and b.pigs.