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What's on at Europe's Museums

Hip-hop in Munich, Belgian Neanderthals and the origins of abstract art in Paris beckon the museum-goer in this week's guide to European exhibitions.


DJs, rappers and graffiti artists hit the European museum circuit in an examination of hip-hop in Munich.

One Planet Under a Groove

Museum Villa Stuck, Munich

The New York borough Bronx was the birthplace of hip-hop in the early 1970s. Through DJs, rappers, break-dancers and graffiti artists this form of urban culture has become an international phenomenon and a billion-dollar industry that transcends race, class and economic boundaries. The Bronx Museum in New York was the first to examine the transnational impact of hip-hop on contemporary art and its landmark exhibition is now on view in Munich, the only European showing on its tour. The show presents around 60 works created over the past two decades by 30 artists based in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The exhibition "One Planet Under a Groove" runs until Jan. 11, 2004. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

The Start of Abstract Art

Musée D'Orsay, Paris

Das Arsenal in Venedig

JMW Turner, Venice: An Imaginary View of the Arsenale, ca. 1840

Abstract art didn't just burst onto the scene at once, but instead developed over a long period. The exhibition "At the Origins of Abstraction" examines the birth of abstract art from 1800 to 1914. It aims to show how much the new form owes to new ways of seeing and the relationship between the seeing and the other senses. The museum features 150 works from artists including Turner, Casper David Friedrich, Monet, Van Gogh and Kandinsky. The exhibition is made up of two parts, the "Solar Eye" that looks at the boundaries of the visible, and the "Musical Eye" that examines the visual translation of sound.

"At the Origins of Abstraction" opens on Nov. 5 and runs until Feb. 22, 2004. Opening hours are daily, except Mondays, from 10 a.m. though 6 p.m.. On Thursday it remains open until 9:45 p.m.

Reach Out and Touch Them

Gallo-Roman Museum, Tongeren, Belgium

The time of the Neanderthals is so close you can feel it in Tongeren, Belgium. The Gallo-Roman Museum is showing an exhibition about the humanoids, which includes more than two dozen life-sized Neanderthals complete with wooly mammoths and cave bears going about their daily activities. Not only will no one bark at you for touching, but the museum even invites visitors to do so. The show also pursues the question of the Neanderthals' language and whether spirituality was part of their lives. The exhibition is based on archeological excavations near Tongeren where Neanderthals lived 100,000 years ago.

"Neanderthals in Europe" runs until Sept. 19, 2004. It is open Monday 12 p.m.- 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. through 6 p.m.

Gathered in Rome

Palazzo Venezia, Rome

Lot und seine Töchter von Tintoretto

Tintoretto, "Lot and and his Daughters"

Group portraits from 16th-20th century masters bedeck the walls of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome for an exhibition that illustrates the social, political, aesthetic and allegorical aspects of the genre over the course of centuries. Works from Van Dyck, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Hogarth and De Chirico and photographers like Man Ray and Robert Capa capture people at balls, dinners, meeting friends. The pieces were borrowed from renowned museums like the St. Petersburg Hermitage, the National Gallery in London and the Uffizi in Florence.

"People - Group Portraits from Van Dyck to De Chirico" runs until Feb. 15, 2004. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. through 7 p.m.

Coveted Images

International House of Photography in the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg

The newly-established International House of Photography has opened its doors with a show of around 400 pictures from one of the most important and sought-after photo collections in Europe. Hamburg photographer F.C. Gundlach stopped taking pictures in the late 1960s, but that didn't dampen his enthusiasm for the medium. He has amassed 12,000 works, of which around 400 works from the last 50 years are on show in the new venue. The focus is on photos of people, with works from 54 photographers including Diane Arbus, Rineke Dijkstra, Lee Friedlander, Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka and Wolfgang Tillmans.

"A Clear Vision" runs until Jan. 25, 2004. The exhibition is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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