Museum Favorites

The students were assigned to see 7 museums in 4 days and they each picked a favorite piece from the museums at Museum Island and the Kulterforum.


“Since Thursday, I have been venturing through Berlin with my classmates faced with the daunting task of tackling seven museums by Sunday. ‘Who can handle seven museums in four days?’ you ask – Art Center students, that’s who.” -Kristen Stain


(By Kristen Stain) – C/O Gallery – The Chief Who Sold Africa to the Colonists – I thoroughly enjoyed the art I saw – and found a favorite at C/O Berlin. I was fortunate enough to catch the last day of the exhibition Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive, bringing vintage photography from as early as the 1870’s to the early twentieth century.

 “The Chief Who Sold Africa to the Colonists” by Samuel Fosso was my favorite photo. This photograph has a humor and familiarity to it. It is part of a series of colorful self portraits from 1997. In reading more about Fosso and the series, it was interesting to discover he was trying to convey cultural emergence through self expression. Many African states at the time had an energetic youth and pop culture. But his intention was crystalline: “I wanted to show how good I look. That’s what it was about.” My fascination with his work continued, leading me to find his later series of self-portraits titled “African Spirits” where he dresses as some of the most recognizable African and African American figures. After discovering his art, I know that he is a character that I will continue to research. This museum assigned has afforded me the opportunity to find and identify with an artist I may have otherwise never found.


(By Noel Ekker) – Alte Nationalgalerie – Im Wintergarten – I was immediately blown away by Manet’s “Im Wintergarten” on display at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.  The massive painting so intimately shows you how Manet laid down his oil paints with the least mark making possible, each stroke serving a distinct and effective purpose.  Compositionally, color wise, and brush technique wise it is gorgeous, but its storytelling is also outstanding; Manet examines evolving gender roles of the late 19th century, where women were becoming independent, not subservient.  The male is doing all that he can to court a woman with a distant gaze, her destiny completely in her hands, and this potential one being highly uninteresting.  It’s a great painting.


(By Grace Haynes) – Altes Nationalgalerie – Kreolin – I found my favorite piece after exploring all 7 museums in 4 days, and documenting each piece that I felt resonated with me. Georg Tappert’s piece “Kreolin” was a standout in the room. The piece itself is large in size and stands very proudly in the corner of the room. Tappert dedicated this large canvas to a curvaceous and busty woman standing with her hands in the air as she looks to the side. This is one of my favorite pieces because I am drawn to art works where the woman is the center of attention and the main focus of the piece. There are a few aspects of the painting that perplex me such as the white legs of the brown skinned lady. Europeans portrayal of Black and Brown skinned people has always interested me and the fact that this painter chose a darker skinned woman as his main subject and chooses to paint her legs white whether it is because of her stockings or for any other reason; it gives the painting more perplexity and depth. The Impressionistic style of the painting gives the piece a very abrupt and blunt feel. You can tell that the woman in the painting is comfortable with herself and appears to not want to be intruded on whatever task she was doing. I will always have a soft spot for unconventional paintings of women.


(By Caitlin Joo) – Pergamon Museum – Detail of Ishtar Gate Group – The approximate date of it is 604-562 BCE, the era of Babylon. This was a facade of the Throne Room Lion Walk Way entrance, size of 56m long. The bricks are colored and glazed, and decorated with the patterns of lions and flowers. The details on the lion are still recognizable, and it’s facial expressions still stay alive. The white and yellow flowers are quite similar to the modern daisy. The small stripe patterns on the bricks are very modern, and the color palette of the overall facade is also well blended.

Personally I like this facade as I can easily identify this pattern of illustration around me even now, which is fascinating. I was surprised by how precisely all the lions and flowers have been drawn and built on the brick wall. I noted that the minimal use of color definitely made the facade pop out. My favorite part of this was the perfectly blended and use of the warm and cold color palette.


(By Serena Jorif) – Altes Nationalgalerie – Die Granitschale im Berliner Lustgarten – The piece that stood out the most was from a group of paintings by Johann Erdmann Hummel, a 18th-19th century German painter. It was fun picking out scenes from different areas in Berlin. Die Granitschale im Berliner Lustgarten, 1821 (The Granite Bowl at the Lustgarten in Berlin) is taken from right outside of the Altes Museum and the Berliner Dom Cathedral.

There are several little moments within each painting that tell a story. People in 19th century clothing in Berlin, children playing, women taking a stroll through the garden and police standing guard over the Granite bowl. Just outside of the museums, a similar scene takes place almost 200 years later. Guards are still yelling at children to stay clear of the granite bowl. It’s amazing to think of what has happened between now and then.


(By Elim Pan) – Pergamon Museum – Market Gate of Miletus – The Roman gate constructed in the 2nd Century is a two story tall facade combined many Greek and Roman architectural elements. The arched gate and the Stage facade is what makes the overall silhouette of this magnificent structure.

Being able to walk through and out of it and then standing beneath it brought vivid imagery of how a Roman might’ve lived back in the day. Not only does this architecture bring lively imagery, the gate itself is alive. With the amount of detail in the carved marbles and stones, you can tell the amount of labor it requires. With the corners, joints and ornate nature of the sculptures attached to it, it brings to life not only the gate but also the soul of the people who worked on the gate. I stood under there for over an hour and I couldn’t move. It was an overwhelming sight to experience.


(By Mia Eum) – Kunstgewerbemuseum – No. 14 Chair – The Chair 002 by Jaroslav Jurica is designed to be a modern redesign of the No. 14 chair by Michael Thonet.  Designed in 2012, Jurica designed this refreshing take on the classic chair for TON to celebrate 150 years of bentwood manufacturing at their factory in Bystřice pod Hostýnem. Although, there were many breathtaking pieces seen throughout the three museum filled days, this exhibit of industrial design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum was seen last and made me appreciate the simplicity of modern technology and aesthetics after seeing all the ornate historical works. My favorite aspect of this piece is it’s almost bare structure with two bent tubes that both become the back and legs of the chair, while only one other piece is added to be the seat.  To pare down a classic yet utilitarian piece, such as the No. 14 “Bistro Chair”, to something even more minimalistic while keeping the charm of the original was something that fascinated me.  As I thought about why I was drawn to it, aside from my aesthetics, I realized it reminded me of all the patio chairs at cafes and restaurants seen endlessly throughout Berlin so far due to it’s “Bistro Chair” inspiration. At the end of the day, I judged pragmatically by wondering what piece I would love to own without being obnoxiously flashy in my curated home interior as a designer. It’s subtle yet refined minimalism while hinting at its warm classic heritage is something I personally admire.


(By Eick Ikeda) – Pergamon Museum – God’s words – I’m suppose to choose one particular piece but I decided to choose a font? Hieroglyphics, “God’s words”. The ancient Egyptian combination of logographic and alphabets shook my imagination as a 6th grader. I’ve always loved penmanship and drawing (that shouldn’t be a surprise by now) for as long as I remembered growing up and it was both them at once. It was the beginning of my infatuation with Graffiti and Typography. For years I’ve seen it on photos, movies, video games, documentaries and even recreated by others, but seeing it, in front of my two eyes, written on papyrus, thousands of years old, blew my mind.


(By Suyu Ren) – Pergamon Museum – Gold and Teal Vase – The color contrast of gold and teal makes the vase extreme vivid and vibrant. It catches your eyes from a distance. This color combination is very signature as in Islamic art. The shape of the vase is full, curvy and strong. At the same time the shapes on the surface are very random and organic. This contrast of form language also make this piece interesting to look closer.


(By Joshua Woo) – Pergamon Museum – Neanderthal Skeletons – On March 7, 1908, Otto Hauser discovered the skeleton of a Neanderthal. The German anthropologist, Hermann Klaatsch identified the recovered skeleton as an approximately sixteen-year-old male, However, more recent investigations of the teeth indicate that the skull was an eleven year old Neanderthal boy. The arrangements of the bones show for the first time that Neanderthals used to bury their dead. Across the room was a video of a walkthrough of the village Neanderthals lived in. Unfortunately, I could not get a video of it. It was interesting how they used to live and how primitive their methods were. I find it interesting how far we have come as a human race and yet some things have not changed through time.


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