Berlin gets artsy this summer | Scene in Berlin | DW | 29.06.2012
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Scene in Berlin

Berlin gets artsy this summer

With Midsummer's Day behind us, summer is in full swing and, with it, a collection of events for art lovers in the German capital. DW's Louise Osborne took a closer look.

More often than not, summer in Berlin is hardly summery. So I've found that one great way to escape the unseasonal elements is to seek refuge in one of the capital's many art museums. There, it's not only warm and dry, but in many cases offers a rare opportunity to view works by internationally famous artists. And with the Euro 2012 nearly over and the Olympics still several weeks off, there is no excuse for not adding a cultural interlude to an otherwise sporty season.

I set out to explore some of Berlin's artsy hotspots and found a few jems.

Diane Arbus

One of the most exciting photography shows of the summer is the Diane Arbus exhibition taking place at the Martin-Gropius-Bau.

Even if you haven't heard of Diane Arbus, you are sure to have seen some of her pictures. Some of the most famous include a photograph of a boy in New York's central station looking strained, toy grenade in hand; the identical twins standing side-by-side, one smiling while the other looks grim; and, perhaps most well-known of all, the photograph of a transvestite curling his hair while holding a cigarette in his manicured hand.

The American photographer was born in 1923 and took her own life 48 years later. She portrayed dwarves, giants and circus performers - those other might have labeled as freaks - and created images that endeavored to show something than just the surface deep.

The retrospective presents 200 of her photographs, including some that have never before been exhibited, exploring the origins and aspirations in her work. The exhibition runs until September 23.

Journey to Jerusalem

A multimedia exhibition called Journey to Jerusalem presents paintings, video, photography and installations from 10 artists exploring the role of religion, tradition and taboos in society. The pieces deal particularly with the three main monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam and the individual experiences of the artists.

The show at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien contains thought-provoking images, including Rabi George's photograph of a fully-veiled woman breastfeeding a child, Pavel Feinstein's painting of a semi-naked Jewish man holding a knife and standing beside a goat, as well as Nezaket Ekici's work which sees light shining through Arabic words carved into a building construction.

The exhibition is set to run at the gallery until August 19.

Alfredo Jaar

A retrospective exhibition looking at Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar's works produced in and for Berlin is showing at the Berlinische Galerie and the Alte Nationalgalerie, in conjunction with the Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK). The exhibition, "The way it is. An aesthetics of resistance," includes work from "A New World," a series of large-format photographs taken at the Brandenburg Gate shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as a series of installations.

The artist's spectacular images, which are being presented in the city for the first time, are supplemented by the work he carried out in Africa, focusing on the genocide in Rwanda and the fate of South African photo journalist and Pulitzer prize-winner Kevin Carter.

Pieces will be shown in both galleries alongside an exhibit of the artist's earlier and less-known work, which will be presented in the rooms of the NGBK. The exhibition runs until August 19.

Photograph by Diane Arbus

The Diane Arbus retrospective presents 200 of her photos

Anthony McCall

If you have visited the Hamburger Bahnhof gallery recently, you may already have seen the unique exhibition focusing on light projections. But if you haven't, then Anthony McCall's light installations are definitely worth a look and they are more interactive than you might think. When I took a walk around the darkened room, visitors were lining up to touch what the artist describes as the "veils of light," reaching into the projections which create not only a two-dimensional line-image on the wall but also a three-dimensional space that one can walk through.

The installations from the British artist constitute the largest exhibition of his work to date and will be on display at the gallery until August 12.

Author: Louise Osborne
Editor: Kate Bowen

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