German Mickey Mouse Caused My Ego Death

Corey Brown
April 24, 2022

When I stepped inside this art gallery and brutalist church in Kreuzberg, my full body went into shock. Truly I got cramps from the excitement. The König Galerie was the first gallery I had intentionally searched out to familiarize myself with the contemporary art scene in Berlin. There are so many different art museums in the city that it took me 3 months to realize I hadn't seen anything contemporary. This is a shame considering that entry is free for many of these spaces, including the König Galerie. I saw an exhibit by the artist Stephan Balkenhol, who makes many kitschy and often surreal wood sculptures. Many are also self-portraits, like one in Hamburg, presenting him with huuuuuge legs, like those of Salvador Dali’s elephants. Six self-portraits present at this exhibit stared blankly back at the viewer. Each sculpture of identical composition increased in size, the last being larger-than-life. From above hung another rendition of the artist's face as Mickey Mouse, which stared down at its audience as if god or the sun. Maybe there's something deep about it, but I'd say this sort of creative work only becomes 'difficult' when you can't take its absurdity for what it is. I find it so refreshing to experience this artist's playground. I hope to add that type of whimsy and creativity into my own work.

What other art institutions have I been to in Berlin? Most I have seen for my class titled Art & Society. Trips throughout the city have included the Old National Gallery, the New National Gallery, and the Berlinische Galerie. I also saw fantastic art museums during my travels to Marseilles and Dresden. Dresden, in particular, had a museum of the old masters called the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, which was absolutely wild to see so many revered artists all in the same building. Paintings by Van Eyck, Titian, Raphael, and Botticelli lined the walls, and many more that I had never heard of. After seeing Titian's six paintings done for Phillip II of Spain in Boston last fall, it was fascinating to see more intimate works by this master painter. He's one of those artists that affected his field so much that now his paintings seem almost blasé at first look. But I love how his loose brushstrokes still allow the canvas to shine through and how effortless the compositions appear. Many of these museum visits were covered through my classes. Still, I am often pleasantly surprised by how affordable the culture around Berlin and Europe has been. Museum tickets, in general, seem to cost 10 euros or less, with reduced pricing available for students. In Berlin, free entry is available on the first Sunday of every month for many popular locations as well. Movie tickets are usually around 7-12 euros each. This is much different than back home. I know the Museum of Fine Art in Boston has an entry fee of $27 for general admission and $34 including special exhibits, so being able to experience art, film, and other cultural high points so affordably has been a nice change of pace. Cheaper tickets make appreciating art possible for every tax bracket, not just the upper class. That's not even mentioning all the galleries I have yet to visit that generally are free of charge. It's nice to be in an environment that values the creative works produced by its people.

Corey Brown

<p>Guten Tag! Ich heiße Corey! I come from a small town named Groveland, Massachusetts about an hour north of Boston and now study at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. I have a double major in Film and German with a minor in Studio Art and am studying abroad in Berlin Spring 2022. In my free time I tap dance (for the past 15 years), finger paint with oils on canvas, and direct an improv comedy podcast. In Berlin I'm super excited to live in a city for the first time and experience the hustle bustle on a daily basis.</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Brandeis University
Groveland, MA
Film Studies
German Language
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