Dresden dedicates a museum to the Plattenbau; the V&A asks visitors to use their ears; Greece's antiquity museum reopens; Manet's marine paintings appear in Amsterdam, and Berlin looks at Third Reich justice.
Learn how the GDR built its pre-fabricated blocks in Dresden
GDR Architecture Revealed
Plattenbau Museum, Dresden
If you've ever wondered what it was like to live in one of the pre-fabricated concrete slabs that served as apartments in the former East Germany, then a visit to Dresden is in order. The eastern German city has just opened the country's first museum devoted to these ident-a-kit cement monstrosities, known as "Plattenbauten." Two million such apartments were hastily erected in the GDR to fill a dire lack of housing following the destruction of World War Two. Visitors to the outdoor museum can now see for themselves how the East German building initiative "IG Platte" put together the Plattenbauten by examining various fragments of the building-block system, as well as a bi-sected finished apartment. The museum is timely, as in many eastern cities, empty, neglected Plattenbauten have been torn down. In some circles, though, renovated apartments have become sought-after accommodation thanks to a wave of nostalgia for communist kitsch.
The Plattenbau Museum is an outdoor museum in the Johannstadt district of Dresden.
Keep Quiet and Listen
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
"Shhh…" is an exhibition at London's V&A Museum that demands
"Shhh ..." is on at the V&A in London
more of your senses. Armed with headphones, visitors embark on a sonic journey through the galleries listening to the audio responses various artists and musicians have had to the objects and spaces in the museum. The tour includes audio-installations from artists such as David Byrne, former front-man of the group "Talking Heads," and Elizabeth Fraser from the "Cocteau Twins." Also contributing their talents: Installation artists Jane and Louise Wilson and Jeremy Deller; musicians Leila Arab and Roots Manuva; and film composer Simon Fisher Turner.
"Shhh…" runs until Aug. 1, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., except Wednesdays, when it's open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Manet's Marine Fascination
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Edouard Manet, one of the fathers of Impressionism, was interested in a range of subjects such as history, literature, still-life, and portraiture. But he also had a fondness for the sea, and regularly spent his vacations on the French coast. Harbors, beaches, and their related activities were a big source of inspiration for his seascapes. From the 40 or so marine paintings Manet completed, 30 are currently on view in Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum. And once you're finished with the Manets, you can take in other monumental works from artists such as Whistler, Jongkind, Morisot, Renoir and Monet.
"Edouard Manet, Impressions of the Sea" runs until Sept.26, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Olympics of Antiquity
National Archaeological Museum, Athens
After 20 months of restoration work, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens has re-opened its doors, just in time for the Olympic Games. The museum houses the world's most important collection of Greek discoveries from the antiquity era in its rooms, 32 of which are now open to the public. A further eight rooms, including the famous collection of ceramics, remain closed. As compensation, there's a special exhibition on the Olympic Games of Antiquity opening on July 15. There are 237 objects on display, including a bust of Sophocles. Many of the items are on loan from foreign museums.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Court of Terror
Topography of Terror, Berlin
The Berlin documentation center "The Topography of Terror" is offering new insights into the "Volksgerichtshof" or People's Court that was the political tribunal of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. The new exhibition documents the close cooperation this special court for political crimes had with the Gestapo, Hitler's secret police. Under Roland Freisler, who was named president of the People's Court in 1942, the court became part of the Nazi system of terror, condemning thousands of people to death for opposition to the Third Reich. The exhibition pays special attention to how he and the judges of the People's Court were treated after the war in East and West Germany. The text accompanying the exhibition asserts that none of the judges ever received proper punishment before a national German court.
"The People's Court -- Hitler's Political Tribunal" runs until Sept. 30, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.