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Culture

What's on at Europe's Museums

Unpainted paintings in Rotterdam; artists from the new EU in Vienna; Japanese treasures in Berlin and medieval Jewry in Speyer are all featured this week in European exhibitions.

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Sculptor Sandra Munzel's work is on show in Bremen


Who's Afraid of Beauty?

The work of four young sculptors is on display at the Gerhard Marcks House in the northern German city of Bremen. The pieces by Dutch artists Liet Heringa and Maarten Van Kalsbeek, who have collaborated since 1998, and Sandra Munzel and Michael Nitsche, both from Germany, all deal with beauty. In an attempt to affect the viewer physically and psychically, the sculptures fluctuate between attraction and repulsion, fascination and complexity.

"No Fear of Beauty" is on show at the Gerhard Marcks House until Feb. 20. The exhibition is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Unpainted Pictures

Emil Nolde (1867-1956) created his series of " ungemalte Bilder" -- 'unpainted pictures' -- between 1938 and 1945, when the Nazis had forbidden the German expressionist painter to practice his art. One hundred of the watercolors, showing northern German landscapes, individuals figures and groups of dancers, are being exhibited at the Chabot Museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Nolde stopped using oil paints during the period for fear that the smell would betray him during searches of his house.

Ungemalte Bilder - Watercolors from the Nolde-Stiftung Collection is on show until Jan. 31. The Museum is open to visitors Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The New EU

Ausstellungstipps, Wien, The New Ten

Trevor Borg's "By the way," mixed media on board, 2001, at the Vienna Künstlerhaus

Contemporary art from 20 artists from the new European Union members states is on show in the Vienna Künstlerhaus under the title "The New Ten." Instead of choosing artists representative of their countries, the curators chose "outstanding" artists, Künstlerhaus head Manfred Nehrer said of the exhibition. The selection ranges from Slovenia's Viktor Bernik to the Latvian group Famous Five and the Czech Republic's Ivan Kafka. The irony "with which we survived history" is the common thread running through many of 50 works, according to Latvian curator Raminta Jurenaite.

"The New Ten" opens Nov. 28 and runs until January 16. Vienna Künstlerhaus is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., on Thursday until 9 p.m.

Japan's treasures

Japan Ausstellung Zeit der Morgenröte in Berlin

Golden ceremonial shoes from a Japanese king's grave

The most comprehensive survey of Japanese archeology ever is on display at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau, according to organizers. "Time of the Dawn" encompasses the period from the Japanese island chain's earliest settlement, at least 40,000 years ago, to the introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century and the Asuka and Nara period in the 7th and 8th centuries. Years of work went into ensuring that the roughly 1,500 objects, most of which have never been shown outside of Japan, were collected in the German capital for the exhibition.

"Time of the Dawn" runs until Jan. 31. The exhibition can be viewed Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Medieval German Jewry

Ausstellung Judentum in Speyer

A stone menora from the 7th century on show in Speyer.

In honor of the 900th anniversary of the Speyer synagogue, one of the oldest and most important Jewish buildings in Europe (though now a ruin), the Historic Museum of the Palatinate is showing an exhibition on European Jews during medieval times. Under the patronage of German President Horst Köhler and Spanish King Juan Carlos, the show examines the two centers of European Jewry -- the Sephardim of the Iberian Peninsula and the Ashkenazim of Central Europe -- from the 11th to 16th centuries. The exhibition aims to illustrate the ways the two Jewish traditions' contributed to the spiritual, religious and economic development of medieval Europe. Around 300 valuable objects, including architectural fragments from synagogues and ritual baths, Hebrew manuscripts and religious articles.

"Europe's Jews in the Middle Ages" is on show until March 20. The exhibition is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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