BARNARD COLLEGE VISUAL ARTS
SENIOR BERLIN TRIP MARCH 18-24, 2013
THE ITINERARY MONDAY 3/18 Pergamon Museum
TUESDAY 3/19 Visit with Kathrin Becker, curator at The Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) Tour of Olafur Eliasson’s studio by artist Geoffery Garrison Studio Olafur Eliasson Artist studio visit with William Cordova /American Academy in Berlin Fellow
WEDNESDAY 3/20 Gallery Visit, Meet Henriette Huldisch, Associate Curator, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Artist studio visit with Jennifer Bornstein / DAAD (2011)
THURSDAY 3/21 Collection Scharf-Gerstenberg “Surreal Worlds” Berggruen Museum Schloss (Palace) Charlottenburg Artist talk and video screening with Massimiliano De Serio (artist, Turin), moderated by Kathrin Becker (Head of n.b.k. Video-Forum) and Silke Wittig (n.b.k. VideoForum). In cooperation with Artists Film International (AFI), initiated by Whitechapel Gallery, London. Group Dinner with Valerie Smith and additional guests
FRIDAY 3/22 Akademie der Künste Artist studio visit with Rosa Barba Egyptian Museum tour with Art Historian Cristian Craciun
SATURDAY 3/23 Choice Day
Prearranged appointments at Neue Nationalgalerie, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum, Jüdische Museum Berlin, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art, The Haus der Kulturen der Welt Planet Modular Art Supply Warehouse Berliner Philharmonie ￼￼ 2
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES Pergamon Museum
The Hamburger Bahnhof
The Pergamon Museum was built between 1910 and 1930 under the supervision of Ludwig Hoffmann, working according to designs by Alfred Messel. From 1901 to 1909, a smaller building had occupied the same spot. This building originally accommodated the important excavation finds of the Berlin Museums, such as the frieze of the Pergamon Altar which was recovered between 1878 and 1886. However, insufficient foundations soon led to damages in the building structure and the building had to be demolished even before the outbreak of the First World War. The new, larger Pergamon Museum was conceived as a “Dreiflügelanlage”. Today, it accommodates three separate museums: the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities), occupying the architectural halls and the sculpture wing, the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East) and the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art). The monumental reconstruction of archaeological building ensembles – such as the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus and the Ishtar Gate including the Processional Way of Babylon and the Mshatta Façade – has made the Pergamon museum world-famous.
The Hamburger Bahnhof was built in 1874 as one of Berlin’s rail heads, but already in 1906 it was found too small for a station and was converted into a museum of traffic and building. Located in “no man’s land” between East and West Berlin, the Hamburger Bahnhof remained unused after the Second World War. Successive restoration began only after the GDR handed the building over to the City of Berlin in 1984. In 1987, the Hamburger Bahnhof was assigned to the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage). The 1989 competition for the conversion of the building was won by the architect Josef Paul Kleihues, a museum specialist who designed an ideal concept for the multi-functional usage of the new museum. The large entrance hall serves as a central space for orientation and leads to all other parts of the building. From there, one can reach the two-storey western wing of the cour d’honneur, the ground floor of which serves as a permanent exhibition space dedicated to the work of Joseph Beuys. The eastern wing contains a restaurant and events forum. The great hall and the modern galleries are used for special exhibitions. Since September 2004, the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection is on permanent loan to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) and shown in the neighbouring Rieck halls. The collector Friedrich Christian Flick handed over his first-class masterpieces to the National Museums in Berlin on loan for the duration of seven years.
The Neuer Berliner Kunstverein The Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) is a site of contemporary art and discourse production. It was founded in 1969 with the goal of presenting contemporary fine art to a broader public, and to inviting that public to actively participate in cultural processes. In 1970, n.b.k. founded one of Germany’s first “artotheks,” from which art enthusiasts can borrow from over 4,000 works of international art from the twentieth and twenty-first century free of charge. Artothek mobile creates exhibitions for public institutions, schools, and businesses. With the new design of the usage zones, n.b.k. will be presenting the Artothek collection with changing thematic emphases and in various forms of presentation. With the Video-Forum, n.b.k. possesses a collection of over 1,500 international art videos that has constantly been expanding since its founding in 1971. Since the summer of 2008, the holdings of the Video- Forum have been viewable in a separate space. Presentations and screenings relevant to the collection explore current and historical developments in video art. Both collections—Artothek and Video-Forum—are open to the general public, and offer space for experimental art and cultural education.
Collection Scharf-Gerstenberg “Surreal Worlds” Nearly all members of the group of Surrealists are represented by selected works in the collection. There are larger groups of works, in particular, by René Magritte, Max Ernst and Hans Bellmer, but also by Wols and Paul Klee. The central pictorial strategies of Surrealism, such as combinatorics, metamorphosis and pure psychic automatism are illustrated by numerous virtuoso examples. Surrealism has its place in a significant line of tradition in occidental art. The earliest works in the collection include Piranesi’s illustrations of fantastical dungeon architecture as well as the nightmarish ghostly figures in Goya’s etchings. French Symbolism of the late 19th century is represented by paintings of Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau, as is its German counterpart in the form of graphic cycles of Max Klinger. The spectrum of art on exhibit is augmented by a film programme which includes both the classic surrealist films of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí as well as films by contemporary artists who draw upon Surrealism or use its formal instruments in their work.
continued in cooperation with the Academy. It places Berlin, in particular, as an art centre within the context of a development that begins in 1989.
Museum Berggruen The Museum Berggruen is situated in the Western Stüler Building, opposite Charlottenburg Palace. Oil paintings, sculptures and various works on paper are on show on three floors under the title “Picasso and his Time”. More than 100 works by Picasso form the heart of the collection. The many facets of his life’swork are represented: beginning with a drawing from his student days in 1897 and ending with works he painted in 1972, one year before he died. The blue and pink period are represented as well as cubism and classicism. Since the 1920s Picasso practised different variations in style at the same time. The collection also focuses on Paul Klee who is represented with more than 60 pictures. These small, delicate compositions reflect the poetic world of the artist from 1917 to 1940. In addition there are more than 20 works by Henri Matisse, including more than half a dozen of his famous paper-cuts. Sculptures by Alberto Giacometti as well as examples of African art also enrich the heart of the collection. Since the museum was opened to the public in 1996, various works have been continuously acquired. One of the most significant ones is a work by Picasso, “Houses on a Hill (Horta de Ebro)” painted in 1909, which belonged to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In December 2000 the contract about the acquirement of the collection by the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage) was signed.
Egyptian Museum The Egyptian Museum owns one of the world’s most important collections of Ancient Egyptian Art. Through its pieces of art, mostly taken from the time of King Akhenaton (around 1340 BC) from Tell el Amarna, the museum has reached world standing and renown. Famous works such as the bust of Queen Nefertiti, the portrait of Queen Tiy and the famous ‘Berlin Green Head’ belong to the collection. The impressive collection of the Egyptian Museum includes masterworks belonging to different epochs of ancient Egypt: statues reliefs as well as monumental pieces of Egyptian architecture document the different time periods of ancient Egypt from 4000 BC up to the Roman Period.In addition to the bust of Queen Nefertiti, whose original colour is preserved without restoration since the Amarna period, other pieces such as the sculptured portraits of the royal family and members of the royal court are also unique. The most significant work of the late period is the so called Berlin “Green Head” named after its greenish stone (ca. 500 BC)
Akademie der Künste
Schloss (Palace) Charlottenburg
The geopolitical change that took place in 1989 ushered in an era of worldwide biennales, whose geography bid farewell to Western Art, with its old contradiction between the centre and the periphery. The exhibition project Nothing to Declare? now documents these global developments. The heart of this exhibition is a panorama room as a media installation, which illustrates the passage of time and the geographical expansion of the global practice of art using a wide range of data. In so doing, a development becomes recognizable, which is no longer to be interpreted only as pure art history, but rather requiring multiple forms of re-narration – geopolitical, social, economic and cultural. The creation of a new critical practice in the arts also corresponds to these structural changes. Western Modernism’s universal claim to validity has become untenable. This is illustrated in an exemplary manner by the contributions of contemporary art selected.
Schloss Charlottenburg was built in 1699 by Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg and first Prussian King as a summer palace for his wife, Sophie Charlotte. The stunning, regal baroque estate is the largest palace in Berlin.Built by Elector Friederich III in 1699 as a summer palace for his wife Sophie Charlotte, this regal estate, the largest palace in Berlin, is framed by a baroque-style garden. Inside, a collection of 18th century French paintings is the largest of its kind outside France. Visitors can see the Old Palace, with its baroque rooms, royal apartments, Chinese and Japanese porcelain collections and silverware chambers, as well as the New Wing, with its rococo splendor and fine furniture, added by Friederich the Great. Neue Nationalgalerie The Neue Nationalgalerie was opened in 1968 as the counterpart to the Nationalgalerie located on the Museumsinsel Berlin (Museums Island Berlin) in the eastern part of the city. As part of the Reunification, a collection of 20th century art is now located in the spectacular building by Mies van der Rohe.
The research project Global Art and the Museum (GAM) at the ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Centre for Art and Media) in Karlsruhe has dedicated itself to this theme since 2006. An initial interim review was presented in the exhibition The Global Contemporary at the ZKM. This project is now 6
velopments in Germany and abroad by means of exhibitions, workshops and resident artists’ studios, as well as by collaborating with artists or other institutions and by commissioning works. In 1996 KW launched the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, taking place for the eighth time in 2014.
Alte Nationalgalerie The Alte Nationalgalerie, home of 19th century art, forms one of the five columns of the National Gallery. The remaining four are the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) with art of the 20th century, the Museum Berggruen with works of early 20th century modernism, the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin with contemporary art, and Friedrichswerdersche Kirche (Friedrichswerder Church) with 19th century sculptures. The Alte Nationalgalerie is regarded as a comprehensive collection of art of the era between the French Revolution and the First World War, between Classicism and Secessions. The harmonious relationship between the museum building and its collection is unique: designed under the auspices of Heinrich Strack according to plans by August Stüler, the gallery was built in the years 1867 to 1876: the collection it houses today, one of the most beautiful of its kind, originates from the same century. Hence, a tour through the museum offers a profound insight into the art of the 19th century.
Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art The collection of Berlinische Galerie differs in a fundamental way from those of other museums in the capital. This is not a collection with royal roots, but one founded by citizens of the city in 1975 and that since then has grown with great enthusiasm. In addition, the collection is unusual due to its specialization on art created in Berlin since 1870. This makes Berlinische Galerie unique as a museum, something exceptional. The specialization on the art of a single region should not be understood as a limitation, but should be considered a way of proving the collection with a unique focus. From a current point of view, the decision to base the collection on this guiding principle now seems almost prophetic, for it was impossible at the time of the museum’s founding to imagine that Berlin would develop from an isolated, highly subsidized city fragment into an international center of art. While the focus was first placed on acquisitions from the realm of painting, sculpture, prints, and drawings, with the photography collection, the architecture collection, and the artist archives additional areas of the collection have been added that exemplify the dynamic principle of reflecting on aesthetic practices. The special development of the history of art in Berlin is closely tied to recent political history. The various parts of the collection enable an exciting conversation among the disciplines, and various media interact with one another in the collection’s presentation.
Bode Museum The Baroque Bode Museum, the fourth museum to be built as part of Berlin’s Museum Island on the Spree was completed in 1904. It was designed by court architect Ernst von Ihne under Kaiser Wilhelm II. Intended as a museum for European Renaissance art, it was named after its first director Wilhelm von Bode (18451929) in 1956. Reopening to the public in October 2006, the museum brought together the sculpture and Byzantine art collection. Jüdische Museum Berlin The Jewish Museum Berlin opened in September 2001. Two years earlier, the empty new building by architect Daniel Libeskind was an unexpected visitor attraction. In this section, we present the building complex in image and text: The Old Building – the baroque Collegienhaus, the postmodern Libeskind Building and the new Glass Courtyard erected in 2007. The circumstances of the museum’s foundation, the collections it is based on, and the people who have directed its development can be found here as well as personalities of public life who are dedicated to intercultural understanding and have been honored with the Jewish Museum’s Prize for Understanding and Tolerance.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is a place for international contemporary arts and a forum for current developments and discourse. Located in the capital city of Berlin, it presents artistic productions from around the world, with a special focus on non-European cultures and societies. Visual arts, music, literature, performing arts, film, academic discussions and digital media are all linked in an interdisciplinary programme that is unique in Europe. In a time when local and national issues are inextricably tied to international developments, the Haus enables the voices of the world to be heard in their great diversity and gives them a productive place in the inner-societal dialogue. In cooperation with artists and experts, it offers visitors opportunities to grapple with the conflicts, challenges and questions of our time: What kind of a future do we want to live in? How can we shape our world more intelligently, but also more poetically? n￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
KW Institute for Contemporary Art KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin is a place for the production and presentation of discourse oriented contemporary art. KW has no collection of its own but instead views itself as a laboratory for communicating and advancing contemporary cultural de8
ARTISTS, CURATORS, & ART HISTORIANS
C LO C KW I SE FRO M TO P LEFT:
HENRIETTE HULDISCH , R O S A BAR BA, WI LLI AM CO R D OVA, JENNIFER BO R N STEI N , CH R I STI AN CR ACI U N
Studio Olafur Eliasson From a small team in 1995, when Eliasson first moved to Berlin, Studio Olafur Eliasson has slowly grown to its current structure in response to the possibility of generating a wide range of projects. The studio now consists of a team of about 70 people, from craftsmen and specialised technicians, to architects, artists, archivists and art historians, cooks, and administrators. They work with Eliasson to experiment, develop, produce, and install artworks, projects, and exhibitions, as well as archiving, communicating, and contextualising his work. Additional to the artworks realised in-house, Eliasson and his studio contract structural engineers and other specialists, and collaborate with curators, cultural practitioners, and scientists. Located in the same building as the studio, the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments), founded by Olafur Eliasson in 2009, investigates new approaches to arts education on a university level. The research project is affiliated with the visual arts department of the Berlin University of the Arts and runs for five years until spring 2014. Olafur Eliasson was born in 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark of Icelandic parentage. He attended the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen from 1989 to 1995. He has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide and his work is represented in public and private collections including the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Deste Foundation, Athens and Tate. Recently he has had major solo exhibitions at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and ZKM (Center for Art and Media), Karlsruhe and represented Denmark in the 2003 Venice Biennale. He currently lives and works in Berlin. Many of Eliasson’s works explore the relationship between the spectator and object. In Your Sun Machine 1997 viewers entered a room which was empty apart from a large circular hole punctured in the roof. Each morning, sunlight streamed into the space through this aperture, at first creating an elliptical, then a circular outline on the walls and floor. The beam of light shifted across the room as the day progressed. The movement of the ‘sun’ across the room was apparently the central focus of the work, but in observing this, the viewer was reminded of his or her own position as an object, located on earth, spinning through space around the real sun. Geoffrey Garrison will lead the Studio tour. Geoffrey Garrison was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1978, and grew up in Houston, Texas. He studied art at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, in New York City, graduating with a BFA in 2001. Having spent a year at Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, he returned to Europe in 2002—this time to Berlin, where he began working in performances by the choreographer Xavier Le Roy. From 2004 to 2005, he was a Fine Arts Researcher at the Jan van Eyck
Academie in Maastricht, the Netherlands, where he produced the twenty-minute video The Cut (2005) and the screenplay Freud’s Doppelganger (2012). Both deal with the 1962 John Huston film Freud the Secret Passion, a biopic of Sigmund Freud that was written by Jean- Paul Sartre and starred Montgomery Clift in the title role. An Infinite Night (2008) was created during Garrison’s fellowship at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen in Innsbruck, Austria, in the winter of 2007 to 2008. The Cut and An Infinite Night were exhibited at the 11th and 12th Videonales at Kunstmuseum Bonn, in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Recent works include A Picture Gallery (2012), which was shot and exhibited in a set built at MMX Open Art Venue in Berlin in November 2010. Geoffrey Garrison is interested in how fictions shape our understanding of the world. Based on a belief in the inadequacy of representation, his works focus on dead ends, erasures, free associations, and the lacunae in fictional and historical narratives. In addition to visual arts, Garrison periodically writes and performs music. He has been known to pen an essay or two, or translate from German or Dutch to English. Geoffrey Garrison lives in Berlin with his wife and son. Kathrin Becker Kathrin Becker is a Berlin based curator and writer who currently works as the head of the Video-Forum of the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.). Having studied art history and Slavic languages in Bochum, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, she made her first experiences as a curator in the field of cultural exchange between Russia and the West. From the late 1990s, Becker developed an international curatorial profile and worked in the field of the interference of popular and high cultures, global visual languages, and institutional practice as a method of cultural foreign policies between Western, East European and Middle Eastern societies. William Cordova William Cordova is an interdisciplinary cultural practitioner living in Miami/New York City. His work is installation based and includes performance, sculpture, film, photography, and drawing. Cordova focuses on architecture, landscapes, and history as a way to reconstruct, reconsider, and reconnect past events to reveal their relevancy in today’s social climate. Creating ephemeral monuments through film, photography, and assemblage Cordova seeks to expand the overall experience of the visual arts as a platform for discussing our common experiences, needs, and struggles. William Cordova graduated with a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996 and went on to earn an MFA from Yale University in 2004. From 1988-1994, he studied Medicine and Psychology at Miami Dade Community College, Miami, FL. Cordova has held residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum
of Fine Arts Houston, Headlands Art Center, Artpace, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, among others. He has exhibited in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. His work is in the public collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum in New York, Harvard University, the Yale Art Gallery, Museo de Arte de Lima in Peru, Ellipse Foundation, Cascais in Portugal, Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, and La Casa de las Americas in Havana, among others.
taught at Yale University, among others. In 2010/11, Jennifer Bornstein was a guest of the Berliner Künstlerprogramms. Valerie Smith From 1981-89, Ms. Smith served as curator for the ground-breaking alternative gallery, Artists Space in New York City. From 1991-93, she was the Director of Sonsbeek 93 in Arnhem, Holland, an international triennial exhibition of 103 site-specific installations by such artists as Miroslaw Balka (Poland), Juan Munoz (Spain), Mike Kelley and Ann Hamilton (U.S.A.). She has been Senior Curator for the Queens Museum since 1999 where she won an award for the exhibition Joan Jonas, Five Works (2004) from the International Association of Art Critics. She holds a B.A. degree from Barnard College and a M.A. from the Graduate Center of CUNY, in Art History.
Henriette Huldisch Henriette Huldisch is an associate curator at the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, in Berlin, where she is preparing a major show of Anthony McCall’s work scheduled to open in spring 2012. She also recently curated “Live to Tape: The Mike Steiner Collection at Hamburger Bahnhof” and, with Eugen Blume, “Joseph Beuys: 8 Days in Japan and the Utopia of Eurasia”. Since 2010, Huldisch has served as Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse, Manchester, where she consults on artistic programming and strategy. From 2004-2008, she was assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York. Among her publications is the 2008 Biennial Exhibition catalogue (coauthored with Shamim M. Momin) and a forthcoming monograph on Ellen Harvey (Gregory R. Miller & Co, 2012). Huldisch’s essays and reviews have appeared in Code Share (CAC Vilnius, 2011), Artforum, Collecting the New: Museums and Contemporary Art (Princeton UP, 2005), and elsewhere. In the fall of 2009 she was a guest professor at the Malmö Art Academy, in Sweden.
Rosa Barba Rosa Barba (b. 1972, Agrigento, Italy) currently lives and works in Berlin. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Kunsthaus Zürich (2012); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2012); Fondazione Galleria Civica – Center of Research on Contemporary Art, Trento, Italy (2011); MART, Rovereto, Italy (2011); Tate Modern, London (2010); Villa Romana, Florence (2008); and Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden (2008). In 2013, her work will appear in solo exhibitions at Cornerhouse, Manchester; Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK; Bergen Kunsthall, Norway; and MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Léon, Spain. In 2010, she curated the exhibition, A Curated Conference: On the Future of Collective Strength within an Archive at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. In 2008, Dia Art Foundation in New York commissioned Barba’s first web-based project, Vertiginous Mapping. Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2009); Kunsthalle, Basel (2008); Torino Triennale, Turin (2008); and Sculpture Center, New York (2008); among many others. Barba is the recipient of several prizes, including the Nam June Paik Award (2010) and a DAAD Grant (2003), both in Germany. She studied at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and has attended several residency programs including IASPIS, Stockholm (2007-08), and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2003-04).
Jennifer Bornstein Jennifer Bornstein is known for her early conceptual performance-based videos, 16 mm films, and photographs. Typical of the early works is the video “Collectors’ Favorites” (1994), in which the artist appears on a famous radio show as a passionate collector of disposable fast-food containers, or the photographic series “Public Libraries and Basketball Courts” (1996-98) in which the artist posed with young pre-adolescent boys from her neighborhood and imitated their facial expressions, gestures, and posture. Jennifer Bornstein (born in 1970 in Seattle, Washington) lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin. Bornstein has had numerous exhibitions at international institutions such as the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, (2011), the Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (2009), the CCA Wattis, San Francisco (2008), and she participated in the 2nd Moscow Biennale (2007). She has had solo shows at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2008) and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005). Bornstein participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program and, since 2003, has
Cristian Craciun Cristian Craciun completed his Magister Artium in Egyptology at the Free University of Berlin in 2012. He studied at Columbia and NYU during his studies in addition to participating in an archeological dig in Amheida, Dachla Oasis, Egypt in 2009. n
efore leaving for Berlin, I felt a bit stuck in my own artistic practice and thought the conversation within our Senior Projects class had become pretty stale. Seeing how uniquely accessible and different the art scene was in Berlin was incredibly eye opening and inspiring. When we met with Jennifer Bornstein, she spoke about how Berlin is a place that appreciates and privileges artists. As I am graduating, it was important for me to see and speak with people firsthand who have been able to make a career out of my chosen course of study. Most notably, the dialogue the trip naturally incited amongst my peers regarding our own work was far more informative and exciting than any seminar. Berlin provided a far removed environment that allowed for curiosity and for these intellectual conversations to flourish. Upon leaving I felt very excited to continue my work; ultimately, this trip functioned as a micro-seminar that had a major impact. The best way for me to learn is through experience, and by going to Berlin and meeting with such a diverse group of artists working in an environment so different from New York provided a completely one-of-a-kind unique experience. n CHAR LOTTE FASSLER
Below are clips of my journal entries from and regarding Berlin. “Today is the day. After months of planning and looking forward to this trip, the day has arrived to go to Berlin!!!” “As I settled in at the airport, I could see by the looks on everyone’s faces that they were so eager to embark on the trip! The plane ride was daunting. I had managed to flip through all of my magazines, listen to my hot playlist a few times, and even read the airplane safety manual three times.” “Day one was a great day, but the highlight of my trip was the last one. It was clear that we all managed to create a bond that would last from this day forward. Who would have thought that a group of girls from such different backgrounds with such conflicting opinions at times could no longer think of a day where they would not be in touch...at least for some, anyway. I learned so much about each of the girls through our trips to galleries and artists’ studios, and bonding over art and our individual connections.” “What I enjoyed the most though, of all the museums and artist studio visits was my entry into appreciating Egyptology. The rich culture had an enchanting way of drawing my interest and curiosity, even more so than the handsome tour guide did, that is to say. In most of my art classes, we had only really discussed the construction and aesthetic perspective of Egyptian art, but our tour guide had provided so much more information beyond the beauty of the works. This was my first time learning about Egyptian religion, beliefs, and day-to-day life. I did not even know this topic was of interest to me until then and there.” “(...I think it’s time for a trip to the Egyptian art wing at the MET.)” “These present moments will soon become memories, and I am forced to give up this breathtaking experience. Berlin, you have been so good to me, even though I have been so bad at everything--the language, trying new food, and getting around the city, I feel as though you have conquered a little piece of me. This will be one of my fondest moments at Barnard College.” “The language barrier was one of the most distressing experiences of my life in some unsettling way. Although I was yearning to get home for this matter, I have to oddly admit that I subtly enjoyed the difficulty of pronouncing German words and found humor in each of our struggles to do so.” n
Forever yours (Berlin), JACQ UELI NE R O D R I GUEZ
have never called myself an artist. Before Berlin, I had always been hesitant in my use of this term, considering it a label loaded with significance, history, responsibility, and even stigma. I hesitated when people would ask what I do, what my interests were, and what I love. Consequently, this hesitation manifested itself throughout my Visual Arts experience at Barnard: first, in my failing to enroll in studio courses in my first two years of school, and then in the uncharacteristic procrastination I exhibited in declaring my major – I had remained undeclared, floating in a nebulous space between Psychology, “pure” Art History, and the Visual Arts concentration, until confronted with the threat of being unable to return to Barnard in the spring of my junior year at which time I finally (though still hesitantly) declared myself a Visual Arts Concentrator. Even after I had officially affixed this label to myself (at least in an academic sense), I was never quite comfortable with it. And although my work matured and grew both literally and figuratively, my tiny voice of discomfort remained, unabated and immune to the confidence and support I had achieved over my past few years at Barnard. In fact, this parasite of doubt and insecurity fed on the ever-increasing amount of effort and pressure I had prescribed myself as remedy. Instead of shriveling up and retreating back to wherever these sorts of dark, internal questions are born, it lingered – casting its shadow across my work, my future, and my thoughts and conversations regarding the two. It is against this backdrop that I considered, prepared for, and took part in the Visual Arts concentrators’ trip to Berlin. When friends outside the arts asked why I was foregoing the typical college spring break to a warm climate like Mexico or the Caribbean, I offered the modest explanation that this trip was just “something that I needed to do”. While this explanation seemed vague and uninteresting compared to the promises offered by their trips – namely, a tan and a few good stories about wild nights amongst like-minded undergrads – I had said exactly what I meant. I needed to do something on this trip: I was finally going to slay this beast that haunted me. Or at least I was hopeful. In Berlin, the once amorphous and daunting title of “Artist” took shape. But to my surprise, it took shape in countless forms: there were artistsas-scholars, artists-as-organizers, artists-as-directors, artists-as-architects, artists-as-woodworkers, artists-as-collaborators, artists-as-employees, artists-as-administrators, artists-as-nomads, artists-as-intellectuals, artists-ascurators, artists-as-makers... the list goes on and on. However, the greatest surprise about these artists was that it was clear that they too had tiny yet loud beasts. But in affixing these appendages to their titles of “artist”, the artists we met silenced their beasts, or at least brought them to a low growl. 16
Through either establishing or becoming a part of a larger system – an artist’s community, a publication, a residency, or even just a city – they found something to tame whatever inner turmoil breeds this thing that cannot be named, something to reassert the artist as being confidently in control of his or her lives and work, something to hush the hesitance that haunts us. Even so, something else about the role of the artist bubbled to the surface in Berlin: this contagion of insecurity was not just unique to the artists we met and myself, but my peers had also caught the bug. However, symptoms varied amongst us – some, like myself, had difficulty identifying as “artist”; some simply abandoned the term and their commitment to their work altogether; some grasped the identity wholeheartedly, but took up arms with other perhaps more worrisome issues facing the young artist. Whatever the symptom, everyone had something prodding them from the inside – something entirely different from typical senior worries, something unique to the artist. So day-by-day we talked. We discussed the day’s events, who we met, what these conversations meant to our work, what we could do to improve ourselves and our program, and, most importantly, what was troubling us most. And then, a breakthrough: we could talk no more. We had begun to rehash things that had already been resolved; the moment of catharsis had already occurred at some point in some Berlin bar one night and now we were left with nothing but possibility and hope. We knew what we needed to do, and were ready to do it. We had created our own appendage to our titles of artist. We were artists-as-Barnard-students-as-community-of-artists. We vowed to hold one another accountable and to push our work forward. We recognized the need to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to be amongst one another, creating and exhibiting works that, for the first time, will carry so much weight. The work to be shown in our final exhibition will speak to our chosen commitment as students, majors, and artists. And in showing our works – some for the last time, some for the first time of many times to come – we will declare not just our majors, but who we are. By going to Berlin and by committing myself to really taking the time to consider what a future in the arts might mean beyond Barnard, I have grown into my role of artist. Having witnessed firsthand the opportunities this role provides – opportunities both for things as fun and exciting as travel and meeting new people, and for things as essential as being a part of a community and self-fulfillment – I have come back from Berlin with a comfort and contentment with my choice that I may not have had otherwise. At long last, I now leave this school as Jane McDonough: Miami Beach native, 22-year-old woman, Barnard College alumna, and artist. n JANE MCD O NO UGH
verything I expected about our trip to Berlin came to fruition; yet, there were many positive surprises along the way that I could never have imagined. Every step of our journey to Berlin was as exciting as I had built up in my head. Yes, the weather was cold; however, our anticipation and enthusiasm made us appreciate the beauty of the city and its art rather than complain about the falling snow. Every step of the way was another discovery, whether turning a corner in a museum or walking a few steps out of the subway and onto the city streets. While each studio visit and museum was wonderful in its own way, the Berggruen Museum had the greatest effect on me. I had seen works of Picasso, Klee, and Matisse before, of course, but these works were different. They were smaller and more intimateâ€”many of them were even studies for larger works. I felt that I had a better understanding of these artists by seeing the sketches from which their larger paintings were realized. It was a museum unlike any other that I have seen, especially in New York. In addition to this, I found the Schloss Charlottenburg to be quite fascinating. I was struck by the similarities to the Palace of Versailles in France, as well as by the porcelain room, filled from floor to ceiling with Chinese porcelain that had been collected to show off the wealth of the princess. With every new room we passed through, I was struck with awe at the paintings, tapestries, silver, gilding, and more that covered every inch of the palace. Though of course the art was the purpose and highlight of our trip, there was some free time during which we could choose where to spend. One afternoon, a few other girls and I went to see the Holocaust Memorial and Museum. I felt that I could not visit Germany without remembering the horrible tragedy that my ancestors had suffered. While nervous about how I would feel in such a place, I realized how important it was that I visited the memorial. There were letters from Jews during the war, as well as a timeline of events and a name reading with the stories of some of the victims. Upon leaving, I found myself with a much deeper connection and understanding about this tragic event, which I could not have experienced anywhere else. I was unsure of what to expect from the memorial, as I did not know much about it before I visited it. As I approached it, I noticed that there is nothing surrounding it. One can walk straight off the sidewalk into the memorial, and if you didnâ€™t see the sign or know that it was there, you wouldnâ€™t know about the museum below, or what the purpose of these strange structures are. Because this was my only exposure to anything relating to memory of the Holocaust in Berlin, I was slightly upset by the somewhat hidden quality of the memorial. While I can understand that there may be some residual guilt over the tragedy that happened during the war, I believe that there should 18
be a more obvious sign of acknowledgment that it was there in Berlin that this terrible tragedy began. Additionally, I found that the memory of the Holocaust seemed to be isolated in the memorial alone, if you knew where to find the museum. In the rest of the city, I felt that life had gone on and these events forgotten. I have mixed feelings about this, as I believe it is important to move on from loss and continue on with life, yet with the prevalence of Holocaust deniers in todayâ€™s world, I feel that a more obvious memorial should be present. It does not do to dwell on the past, but we cannot forget that which previous generations have endured. As a Jewish woman, I feel it is my duty to live my life in a religious way, to carry on the traditions of my ancestors and to prove that although the Holocaust did happen, we have persevered and live on. For this reason, observing the Sabbath in Berlin was a particularly evocative experience for me as well. n JO R DANA GI LMAN
s an art student, living in New York City can get to your head. With the MET, the MoMA, the Whitney, Chelsea and Lower East Side Galleries all on the one island, it’s hard to keep an open mind to the fact that any other city has anything close to offer. Before the trip I had heard that Berlin was becoming a competitive art center, but I didn’t know what that meant and hadn’t formed any expectations about how the city was going to change my feelings and opinions towards art. I found myself experiencing art more closely and honestly than I ever had before through personal time with well-established contemporary artists, and through an exploration of myself through the city. In my case, this was the first trip I had ever taken to a foreign place that was 100% dedicated to exploring art history and contemporary art practice. In other cities where I’ve played tourist, my itinerary had been distracted by shopping, spending time with family or friends, and lots of eating out. Each day in Berlin, however, the group was exposed to some new aspect of art that shifted our perspectives for the better. Our trip was curated in such a way that none of us could have had the same experience had our professors not personally known the artists whose studios we visited and the curators whose museums we toured. The individuals we met were not only inspiring because of the artwork they produce or the careers they have, but also because many of them were women who face and have overcome some of the challenges that motivate feminism today. Seeing how Rosa Barba, for example, successfully uses books to complement and validate her installations was incredibly thought provoking and inspiring. In addition to exposure to artists and artwork, I found that the street art in Berlin presented an exciting image of German youth culture through graphic design. I collected many of the posters by ripping the ones I liked off of the walls and took them back to New York to use in my own art projects. I also brought back with me actual art supplies from the mecca of materials: Planet Modular. This store defines what it means to have materials inspire form. Another favorite souvenir of mine is the handful of European magazines I gathered. Many of these publications feel more like art books in their weight, paper quality, and imaginative content. They will serve as sources of inspiration for my graphic design and publishing work. Maybe it was because it was the first day the sun was out, but the last day of the trip was when it all came together for me – when I was able to explore the city on my own after the five days of group activities. As someone very interested and invested in fashion, I first decided to go to the Helmut Newton museum – a foundation dedicated to preserving the work of the famous photographer who was born in Berlin. Later that day I went to the Alte Nationalgalerie on Museum Island to experience some of my favorite 19th century paintings by the German painter Caspar David Friedrich. 20
These works can only be seen in Berlin and it was a special experience to view them alone, as solitude is one of the themes in his work. Another optional activity I chose to pursue was the visit to the Schloss Charlottenburg, which was the palace of Princess Sophie Charlotte in the late 17th century. One of the reasons why I wanted to visit the Schloss was to scout the location for Harper’s Bazaar, the magazine at which I currently intern. Many of the magazine’s photoshoots involve elaborate, foreign locations, and I was lucky to have access to the Schloss while in Berlin. One of the ways in which my time in Berlin taught me how to keep my mind open to different cultures was through learning how to navigate Berlin’s public transport system on my own. When I successfully made my first trip by myself, I felt empowered – as though I could be in any city and find my way despite the language barrier. This gave me a confidence that I think will ultimately manifest in my artwork and my ability to discuss various art forms. This new mindset is also due to amount of time dedicated to getting to know my classmates who are also fellow artists. I believe that these strengthened relationships will serve us well once we graduate and are practicing independent from the Barnard studio. In the near future, this closeness will improve our weekly critiques and ability to understand each other’s work. Additionally, the time spent in conversation with well-established art professionals was also invaluable practice for future opportunities to meet artists, critics, and curators. The Berlin trip became an essential part of my Art History and Visual Arts education at Barnard by synthesizing what I’ve learned over the past few years, and by providing me with a fresh palette to create my future artistic endeavors. n MEGAN MAQUERA
y trip to Berlin began a little differently. Arriving from Paris, another classmate and I were driven around Berlin, unaware that the driver was most likely taking a detour to the hotel. En route, however, we drove past the East Side Gallery, the first sign that I was in a place that was totally different from New York. Of course, New York has its own sights to see for street art and graffiti, but none of it embodies a story quite like the Wall. Seeing the Wall in person, even if only for a brief moment and from a distance, brought to life history lesson after history lesson. This is not to say that the East Side Gallery was representative of our trip to Berlin—in fact, I had not thought of it again until now—but its history (or at least that of West vs. East Berlin) did come up time and again in our conversations with artists on this trip. To me, this sight was emblematic of the wholly different perspective that Berlin would offer. It has taken a while to process our trip because Berlin did in fact present so many new perspectives: new perspectives from artists on how to approach one’s practice; new perspectives on the international art world (that I often forget about when everyone positions New York as the center, and frequently, as the only place that matters); and new perspectives from my peers about their and my work. To address the last part first, I was reminded of something earlier this week that I knew to be true for a while now: that as artists, we learn from our peers. Being in Berlin gave my peers and I the time and space for intellectual dialogue and an exchange of art-related ideas, all of which we now bought home to apply to our thesis projects. It opened up a space for honest conversation that allowed us to reveal our insecurities and frustrations regarding our projects, and to openly reflect on each other’s work in ways that our critiques can sometimes be too high-stress to foster. An image that will continue to stay with me is that of a few classmates and I, sitting in a cafe/bar one evening with our sketchbooks and pens all out, furiously scribbling down ideas we have for our projects, things we wish we could change, and reflections inspired by the artists’ studios we had seen that day. That is to say, our conversations did not exist in a vacuum. The discussions that connected us more closely as intellectual peers were sparked by the places and people we visited in Berlin. Visiting artists’ studios was almost like peering into their minds, allowing us to follow their work and thought processes, how they resolve concepts and the forms that they choose to work in. What was also interesting about artists such as William Cordova and Jennifer Bornstein is that they are both Americans living in Berlin, which actually inspired some of us to consider the possibility of living and working outside of the US. Seeing that Jennifer Bornstein took photographs, taught herself Yiddish for a radio/video project, and made a series 22
of lists of words she collected over the years allowed me to feel comfortable with the idea of moving between mediums in my own practice, and that doing so was not necessarily inconsistent. The artists we visited demystified the processes and realities of living as practicing artists, and served as examples of what we learned almost immediately, which is that Berlin is a great city for working artists because of its support for them through programs and residencies. At n.b.k., Kathrin Becker gave us not only a history of the organization itself, but also showed that the organization’s mission is not unusual when compared to Berlin’s relationship to art and artists. What resonated with me and exemplified the organization’s support for artists and for bringing art to the wider public is n.b.k.’s Artothek program, a program that I have not previously heard of in the US: Artothek involves n.b.k.’s purchase of art works from artists for a “library” that members and non-members can “borrow” from. Their prolific publications were also striking, and what was more outstanding was that n.b.k. was not alone in supporting and distributing art publications—visiting other bookstores in Berlin, such as Do You Read Me?! revealed a thriving art book/magazine/publishing scene. It was invigorating to see what were art models are popular outside of New York; on a personal level, seeing the success of an art organization like NBK and the popularity of art publications helped me redefine areas I am potentially interested in pursuing after graduation. n NI CCI YI N
erlin is an enthralling and vibrant city. It has been rebuilding and reinventing itself every day since the fall of the Wall two decades ago. In Berlin, I experienced the energy of a city of the past that is becoming a metropolis of the future. There is much to do and see. And the most interesting part for me is Berlin’s art scene –museums, artist studios, and other cultural sites like the n.b.k (Neuer Berliner Kunstverein), which is unique to Berlin and reflects the city and country’s social democratic solution to arts. And, of course, the Pergamon, dedicated to the wonders of the ancient world, displaying gates, altars, statues of Greece, Rome, and Babylon, is something an Art History major would have always wanted to see with her own eyes. When you see the incredible vibrant blue of the Gates of Ishtar, you can’t help admiring ancient people’s imagination. The Egyptian Museum has a superb ancient Egyptian collection, perhaps one that rivals that of the Met in New York. Here you have the Bust of Queen Nefertiti, which is probably one of the most iconic object of Egyptian art that has been repeatedly shown to me. We’ve all seen the pictures of her; however, trust me, the real sculpture is breathtaking and simply has the aura that reproduced images does not carry. The highlight of my trip took place in the Egyptian Museum. Our group was led by a Romanian Egyptologist tour guide. A student has asked him about the controversy of keeping Egyptian artifacts in Europe rather than returning it. I was shocked at his response that the artifacts were better off in European museums than in Egypt, and personally offended at his Eurocentric approach to non-European artifacts. It was empowering for me to be able to voice my critique based on the critical language that I have acquired at Barnard. Besides art, another way to look at culture is through real-life activities. Now let’s go shopping! Ka De We is the largest department store on the European continent. The food floor is like a Disney World of digestibles. I selected for myself a collection of exotic mustards and jams. Grand streets like the Kurfurstendam offer several miles of shops; pricey perhaps, but definitely worth window-shopping. Areas like Savignyplatz are filled with affordable, interesting shops. n YI NG ZHU
o those who have made prior visits to Europe, this trip to Berlin might have been more of an eye-opening introduction to a whole new art scene rather than a life-changing experience, but for me, this trip has helped me realize the strong Barnard woman that I have become over the years. Before I go any further, I want to say that I am truly grateful and glad that I have spent my last spring break as a college senior with my classmates and professors, and I have absolutely no regrets about not spending time at a beach in Cancun, Mexico, like most of my friends did. There are many reasons why this trip was special to me. As an art major who will be working full-time in finance starting July 2013, I have always felt slightly out of place. When I am in Wall Street, people wonder why I ever majored in art. When I interact with artists, they try to encourage me to give up my job to become an artist. I completely understand both sides’ perspectives, but I never knew how to come up with the perfect response to make them never bother me with those questions again. After this trip, I realized that I do not owe anyone an explanation for why my major is in art and my career is in finance and that I have the authority to smile and walk away. I do not know how to speak German nor have I ever been to Europe before, but everything worked out for me; I walked on the icy ground all week with my Converse sneakers, explored the city with a map, and even made conscious attempts to inhale more of the city’s air so that I could infuse myself with Berlin. I also tried to say “danke” as much as I could to compensate for my lack of German vocabulary. My favorite part of this trip was visiting artists’ studios. I have met some very interesting people and was highly impressed by their passion to pursue their practice in art. I was most moved by my visit to William Cordova’s studio. He kindly agreed to share with the group some information about his life story and how he is an artist who would never compromise. He also advised aspiring artists to devote their time to creating art if that is truly what they want to do. It was at that moment when I felt a tint of guilt in my heart. For the very first time, I did feel confused. It led me to question who I was and what I want to do with my life. I asked myself the same annoying questions that people have asked me in the past, but then I realized that everyone’s journey is truly different. Some people could begin their career as artists but shift to another occupation while others might do just the opposite. Perhaps my peers would most like to hear that the trip has made me want to become an artist, but the truth is that my time in Berlin has made me realize that I would and should never declare myself as an artist and be pressured to create art to simply live up to that title; I should do only what I want to do and at this moment, what I enjoy doing is being a part of a global organization that manages the efficiency of more than 100 teams for my financial firm, while making art in my garage on the weekends. The “A” in my name stands for Art, and I love it. Art will always be a part of me. n ANNA LI ANG
was very grateful for the opportunity to go on the Visual Arts Berlin Trip. For me the highlight of the trip was realizing what it means to be a contemporary artist. This trip enabled me to see the contemporary artist as not just someone who creates art, but as someone who has an essential role in his or her society to be engaged with contemporary issues, and serve as a critic. In Berlin the necessity of the artist was presented to me in a way that I hadn’t encountered in New York. The artists we visited, William Cordova, Jennifer Bornstein, and Rosa Barba, talked to us about their work in an intimate way, and through hearing their experiences and learning about the way Berlin as a city supports artists, as well as visiting different organizations, I was able to see the artist in a completely different way. When we visited Cordova’s studio, he talked to us about his process of becoming an artist and the life he lives as an artist. He showed us the work he is doing now and talked to us about his past work. The combination of all the subjects he touched upon as well as the opportunity to be in the artist’s studio was a concrete example for me of an artist producing work today. In New York, I didn’t really see the artist and their social component as necessarily combined, because I usually hear of art in the context of galleries, commercial contexts, or personal expression. In Berlin, I was able to see the artist as working not simply from personal expression but as someone who is expressing critical ideas to their society. The artists we visited talked about other avenues of how art can function in society and I came away from the trip with a shifted idea of contemporary art. I am very grateful for this opportunity and have come away from the trip knowing that I will use that lens in my approach to the contemporary arts in New York. n LEER ON HOORY
ne of the most valuable things about the trip to Berlin with the Visual Arts department was the time to have lengthy conversations with my classmates about our reactions to things we had just seen, as well as the discovery and vocalization of so many shared hopes and concerns. Night after night, heated emotional talks gave way to serious planning for the future of our art practice. A major concern: what will happen to us and our art-making after we graduate? I learned the word “anxietal” and came out on the other side, aligned with a group of women who had decided to demand respect but not be beholden to anyone else to give it to us. Although art may not be a viable profession monetarily speaking, as long as there is some structure of support, May 2nd does not have to be the end of the world for us as artists. Each day was filled to the brim with amazing things to look at and learn about. So many of Leslie Hewitt’s amazing peers graciously opened their studios to us. I was struck first and foremost by the space and breathing room that is so lacking in New York. Berlin is chock-full of artists and creative people that form an inspiring environment. When we visited Rosa Barba in her space at Ufer Studios, the community seemed so utopic, I was about ready to pack up and move in. Kathrin Becker gave us a tour of the n.b.k.; I was particularly amazed by the Artothek, a free art lending library of 4,000 works set up in 1970. I was also impressed by their publications, beautifully designed by Walther Konig. There is something so important about the physicality of an art book, and this thought was confirmed again and again in bookshops everywhere in Berlin. The Scandinavian-inspired emphasis on design was visible throughout the city. We were overjoyed to find an exhibition of beautiful books in Gestalten, where the continued life of the print publication is not in doubt. Henriette Huldisch, a curator at the Hamburger Bahnhof, as well as the co-curator of the 2008 Whitney Biennial, walked us through the massive Martin Kippenberger show and brought up some interesting questions about political art. What is the effect of putting an “agitprop” piece in a gallery, i.e. who is the audience? The ways that a political piece becomes viewed as aesthetic can be a dangerous one for its so-called mission. From Henriette’s experience at the Whitney, she told us that it can be far more effective for political content to be tethered to material and formal issues. There is always some political framework, and in the case of the Hamburger Bahnhof, a very controversial one. Much of the collection comes from the Flick family, who was deeply implicated in the Nazi regime, amassing wealth through production of arms munitions that utilized forced 30
labor. I began to wonder about the stance of the curator and whether or not the task involves taking up the position of the artist or of various private interests that influence an institution. She couldn’t really say how one can prepare for critique, alluding to the difficulty of the undertaking of not just pointing out problems but also responding to them. At a later point, Professor Hewitt emphasized the importance of embedding critique within the form, a concise bit of advice that will stick with me. We had another encounter with the dilemmas of politically oriented art, this time at a screening at the n.b.k. Italian brothers Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio had collaborated on a rather disturbing film called “Stanze” about Somalian refugees. The gallery that I am working for in New York in particularly focused on political work and I feel ambivalent about some of the artists’ tactics, and therefore also ambivalent about my role. In the dark room at n.b.k., intellectuals sipped beers and watched staged testimonies of Somalians in a beautifully dilapidated villa in Turin. I was filled with conflicting feelings: pity coupled with an anger at being forced to pity, and therefore solidified in a hierarchy of the looker over the looked-at. The position of the curator in this situation is an extremely complicated one. The emphasis on a point of view that looks beyond Europe was prevalent throughout the art shows that we saw in Berlin. Although uncomfortably staged at n.b.k., Berlin is increasingly an international city for artists from around the world. The strong presence of a Turkish population was comforting to me because I spent six months of 2012 in Istanbul. I came across many Turkish contemporary artists, and in fact there may be more Turks working in Europe than in Turkey. The sudden multiplication of points of view is a hopeful one in my opinion, dramatized by the “Nothing to Declare?” exhibition at the Akademie der K ünste. Aimed to startle and overwhelm visitors with mountains of text and dizzying projections, the show demonstrated the ways that the world of art has changed dramatically in the past few decades. The rising prominence of Turkey and the Middle East, for example, is a shift that destabilizes the Eurocentric ideologies of cultural production. It was a unique experience to witness the effects of this globalization of art in Germany, which has a longer tradition of national heritage than does the U.S. The new world traveler seems able to absorb far more than ever before, even within one city in one week. n VANESSA THI LL
hen in New York, I find that I am unable to see the interconnectivity of artistic potential and realization. This is presumably because New York is at the “center” of the art world, with its fairs, museums, writers, emerging and established artists. Such a geocentric approach to the art world is naive, yet so easy to fall into when it has been the only place where I’ve studied art. During the trip, I had the opportunity to sit in on a workshop at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt which was hosting the Former West project, a series of workshops and lectures which interrogate the shifts in the contemporary art world through a transnational and transdisciplinary approach. The workshop that Nicci and I went to was called “Mapping Relations of Funding and Knowledge,” led by F üsun T üretken and Burak Arikan. We were exposed to the idea of maps as a common language for revealing power, and at the same time, a tool for seeing how one takes the structures of hierarchy for granted. In a near application of this concept, the Akademie der Künste had an exhibit called “Nothing to Declare?” where publications, biennials and institutions were used to map the emergence of new art markets. What was exciting to me was the use of publications in this exhibit. The covers were familiar as I was somehow conned into an Artforum subscription at the Armory Show last year, and it seems to be impossible to avoid a stack of Christie’s catalogs at the Strand. The exhibit took items in my periphery and placed them on a map in the way Füsun and Burak did in their workshop. What was revealed to me, in terms more real than ever before, was how academia is interconnected with the commercial world.
I once explained to someone how noticing race and gender in social dynamics was like learning that gravity existed; it is noticing systems and how they permeate our everyday lives. Going to Berlin was a teaching moment that I was lacking in my studies at Barnard. Systems were visible in Berlin in ways that would have been inaccessible to those enmeshed in academia and the rush of New York. It was not uncommon to talk about New York as a commercial hub in contemporary art history classes, but as a system it was hazy and abstract because it was placed at the tip of my nose. Although I have traveled a bit since starting my art history education, I was not acquainted with the working art community of any of these places. I went gallery hopping and saw the cities’ museums, but I knew I was only seeing the symptoms of a more 32
complicated network of art practice. And I suspect that even if I could get to the point of understanding the art life of a city, I would not be able to see how it was connected to the “art world” I knew in New York. In Berlin, each person we met became a new node of understanding. We met with curators and heard their critical defense of not only the institution they were affiliated with, but of their practice in general. These discussions happened after meeting with an artist who was highly skeptical about the commerciality of art institutions. And there were artists who were very patient in helping us understand their process, of not only the creation of their works, but also of how they came to be where they are. I would not have known the role that residencies play in building an artist’s career if I did not see how it brought artists to and from different parts of the world. The trip to Berlin was a lesson in the structures that support art, and I found myself being gently guided to understand the push and pulls of a creative and critical community. n EUNI CE YOONI KI M
DANKE! (Thank you!)
FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT, Charlotte Fassler, Jane McDonough, Jacqueline Rodriguez, Jordana Gilman, Megan Maquera, Nicci Yin, Ying Zhou, Anna Liang, Vanessa Thill, Yooni Eunice Kim, Leeron Hoory, & Sarah Lipman Edited by Nicci Yin and Designed by Megan Maquera With thanks to Joan Snitzer, Leslie Hewitt, John Miller and Julia Westerbeke