Grandeur even the bombs couldn’t shake.
I visited 5 museums today.Only at the Pergamon, could I not tell you what the outside looked like. The Altes exterior, and the interior part with the dome, are all show, the grandness of the idea of what you are seeing.
The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart (Museum for Contemporary Art) owes its existence to it building, and not its exhibition. For a real Museum for Contemporary Art go to Chicago, and I don’t mean PS1 in New York, nor the one in Glasgow. Today bad videos suffice for bad art, in amateur hour stuff that wouldn’t get a hit on Youtube.
Architecture becomes the driving philosophy for what is in the exhibition. I am thinking Wright at the Googooheim, Maier in Atlanta and probably any museum related to Frank Gehry. Architects sometimes impose their “vision” on their architecture. Wright comes up with a philosophy follows function, which leads to one of the most pretentious buildings in New York! Richard Meier fills in where the collection peters out. A booze company sobers up in Havana, so the Mies van der Rohe design, turns into the art museum I saw today in Berlin, the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery).
David Libeskind does not make that mistake. It isn’t ego driven at all, it is a fascinating look at architecture coloring your vision of the exhibition, but your vision is left open to an exhibition which allows YOU to pick and choose what you want to see and the order. It is the kind of exhibit you may want to see more than once, since there is so much to see, and so many mixed feeling you will have depending upon your viewpoint.
I was happy to see at all of these historical exhibitions young people. And young people trying to understand and being respectful. Here reading personal histories of the murdered reminds me of the Wailing Wall.
Your mind becomes colored by the proceedings. As I moved to leave, I noticed a young worker going into what seemed like a locker room for employees. On the floor sat black shoes and some other paraphernalia. It reminded me people being told to leave clothes as they moved into the trains, or showers. It was only a workers’ room, but the mind sets up context. Just as the Polizei and their car, set up an air, that the past in still in the present. As I am crossing the street leaving, a young, heavyset blond blue-eyed boy casts a stare at the building which makes me think, hopefully wrongly, is it in the past?
The Jewish history, is indeed one fraught with inequity and sheer meanness, against a people who perceived their God a little different than some continents did. There have been arguments over numbers the past few years. Who cares if the number is 6 million or 6, over one becomes too much. I was in Spain earlier this year, this vindictiveness that permeated there permeated much of Europe. The most heartbreaking, if in the context of that museum (if there is a less heart-breaking), are the baptized Jews. The Jews who wished to belong and converted, only to be treated as outre (as the French would say) to both cultures. As if they breathed different air, or felt the wind any differently.
The ending of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, it is bracketed by the now “good” doctor trying to get inside the twisted mind. Perhaps Libeskind was trying to use his building to make us understand how the world can sometimes have a twisted vision of what is otherwise a perfectly normal mind.
Tags: Altes Museum, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, David Libeskind, Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart (Museum for Contemporary Art), Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum Berlin) reminded me of this. I knew the architecture would drive the philosophy of the exhibition., Mies van der Rohe, Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery), Pergamon, Richard Meier