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The Mecca of Modern Art

April 18, 2017

Song Stuck in My Head: All We Got (feat. Kanye West, Chicago Children’s Choir) by Chance the Rapper


Because of how awkwardly spaced out my classes are, I am often left with a significant chunk of time in the morning or evening to kill, which has allowed me to explore more on my own. The nice thing about living in the capital city is that there are plenty of activities to fill my time and are indoors because it has not started to be spring here in Berlin.

During my first couple weeks in Berlin I’ve realized how influential this city is in the art world and how much the art world influences this city. Everywhere you look there are Bauhaus style apartments placed right next to older buildings that survived the Second World War. Many walls are decorated with some kind of graffiti, murals or stickers. Since art seems to be an important aspect of the city, I’ve wanted to understand why and what kind of art there is.

On these mornings and afternoons that I have had off, I have been able to visit the Alte Galerie (Old Gallery), the Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum der Gegenwart (Museum of the Present) and the Berlinische Galerie. Even thought I tend to favor older art pieces and styles, I have actually enjoyed the modern art museums the most. I was surprised by the variety that the Hamburger Bahnhoft and Berlinische Galerie had in art, going beyond the stereotypical plain white canvas, which is what I think of when I hear modern art.

While the Hamburger Bahnhof did have a very strange exhibit that was dedicated to large blocks of cow fat and the other museum had one that consisted of cracked eggshells and garbage, overall it was fascinating. The galleries were able to capture the idyllic mindset of the artists before both wars, experimenting with bold colors and shapes. I found the most striking exhibitions to be the ones focusing on “Dada”, the period between the first and Second World War and the use of photography after the Second World War.

Observing and reading about the art that was in these exhibits, it helped me get a better understanding of the mentality of the artists during such pivotal parts of history, such as world wars or the fall of the wall. In school we are often taught the facts and the overall significance of the event without fully grasping the social and cultural implications they may have. I am thankful to be in a city that gives me access to vast amounts of art, however strange they may be. All art tells a story, and I love seeing in order to better understand the city that I am living in. Now I have to head out and visit the next museum on my list.

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