Berlin Berlinale 2018

February 21, 2018

Me, Tom Luddy and  Katy Kavanaugh

I never make it to the Berlin Berlinale. I'm so overwhelmed by the program and since my friend Jennifer left the city, nobody else of my friends bothers to wait in line for tickets. I do always get indirectly involved with the Berlinale. Sometimes by hanging out in the Walther König bookstore of the Hamburger Bahnhof when doing my guided tours. Most movie stars are into contemporary art nowadays; A few years ago I saw the impressive looking Jeff Bridges buying a children book there. No luck this year though, Hamburger Bahnhof has literally no show on. 

But I always meet up with Tom Luddy, film producer and co-founder of the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. We met in San Francisco through a common friend and since then it's a tradition that we meet for the Berlinale when Tom is in town. This time we meet for an early 8:30 breakfast at the Marriott Hotel together with Katy Kavanaugh, a former Berliner and a programmer of children's film festivals. It's always exciting to talk with Tom. He's best friends with everyone who's interesting in the art and film world. So we talk Sophie Calle, Laurie Anderson, Susan Sontag, Chris Marker and I get a feel of the glamour that to me a film festival is all about. Tom always recommends me to go to the Retrospective - it's his favourite program and sometimes tickets are still available. This year, he tells me, it's a 1920s retrospective with newly discovered pearls of Weimar cinema, with great musicians playing the set for the silent movies. 

After meeting Tom, I like to spend a few hours at Caras Coffee at Potsdamer Platz, where 'm writing this now. It's a great spot with big windows to look at Berlinale people running around with their badge. They look so passionate and dedicated. The Berlinale has a really nice bag this year - rather a backpack, and much better looking than the plastic tote bags of the Berlin Biennale. The Berlinale shuttle busses are driving by on their way to Zoo Palast, a line of police cars accompanies what must be a VIP, and a neighbour yells out "That's amazing!"
I never make it to the Berlin Berlinale. I'm so overwhelmed by the program and since my friend Jennifer left the city, nobody else of my friends bothers to wait in line for tickets. I do always get indirectly involved with the Berlinale. Sometimes by hanging out in the Walther König bookstore of the Hamburger Bahnhof when doing my guided tours. Most movie stars are into contemporary art nowadays; A few years ago I saw the impressive looking …
Me, Tom Luddy and  Katy Kavanaugh

I never make it to the Berlin Berlinale. I'm so overwhelmed by the program and since my friend Jennifer left the city, nobody else of my friends bothers to wait in line for tickets. I do always get indirectly involved with the Berlinale. Sometimes by hanging out in the Walther König bookstore of the Hamburger Bahnhof when doing my guided tours. Most movie stars are into contemporary art nowadays; A few years ago I saw the impressive looking Jeff Bridges buying a children book there. No luck this year though, Hamburger Bahnhof has literally no show on. 

But I always meet up with Tom Luddy, film producer and co-founder of the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. We met in San Francisco through a common friend and since then it's a tradition that we meet for the Berlinale when Tom is in town. This time we meet for an early 8:30 breakfast at the Marriott Hotel together with Katy Kavanaugh, a former Berliner and a programmer of children's film festivals. It's always exciting to talk with Tom. He's best friends with everyone who's interesting in the art and film world. So we talk Sophie Calle, Laurie Anderson, Susan Sontag, Chris Marker and I get a feel of the glamour that to me a film festival is all about. Tom always recommends me to go to the Retrospective - it's his favourite program and sometimes tickets are still available. This year, he tells me, it's a 1920s retrospective with newly discovered pearls of Weimar cinema, with great musicians playing the set for the silent movies. 

After meeting Tom, I like to spend a few hours at Caras Coffee at Potsdamer Platz, where 'm writing this now. It's a great spot with big windows to look at Berlinale people running around with their badge. They look so passionate and dedicated. The Berlinale has a really nice bag this year - rather a backpack, and much better looking than the plastic tote bags of the Berlin Biennale. The Berlinale shuttle busses are driving by on their way to Zoo Palast, a line of police cars accompanies what must be a VIP, and a neighbour yells out "That's amazing!"

Table Talk

February 14, 2018



The openings of Schinkel Pavilion are always nerve-racking. They're more like a party for twenty-year olds and if you're around forty, you just have to avoid going. My table companion told me that he went to the latest opening of Jordon Wolfson. Since he's a forty +, it was a miserable experience. Not only the art scene, but also the art itself got on his nerves. The problem is, so he told me, that people look at it only once and then it has this kind of effect galleries are going for nowadays. But if you watch it a few times, as he managed to do, then the effect is gone: "Das Effekt verbraucht sich."  

Julia Stoschek goes with what is trending in the art world. It's a fact that she will never discover anything. You show Nancy Holt at the museum, so I said to my neighbour while munching spring roles dipped in peanut sauce, and two months later Julia Stoschek has bought the videos and is also showing Nancy Holt. I know this from own experience. It's not a bad thing. It's just a bit of a pity when you have so much money that you only play it safe. I'm excited to see Arthur Jafa's show though, so I concluded my lamentation. It's just a bit off-putting that it's curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist. 

I just came upon the 2017 McDonalds add that promotes its coffee at McCafé. I was in Kreuzberg at the hipster coffee place with friends and discussing why Berlin didn't manage to have a good coffee culture like Helsinki, Tirana, Pristina, etc. At least one has to admit that hipsters brought good coffee to Berlin. We had to laugh when looking at the McCafé add. Hipster coffee culture has gone so far that McDonalds can now promote its coffee as traditional. 




The openings of Schinkel Pavilion are always nerve-racking. They're more like a party for twenty-year olds and if you're around forty, you just have to avoid going. My table companion told me that he went to the latest opening of Jordon Wolfson. Since he's a forty +, it was a miserable experience. Not only the art scene, but also the art itself got on his nerves. The problem is, so he told me, that people look at it only once and the…


The openings of Schinkel Pavilion are always nerve-racking. They're more like a party for twenty-year olds and if you're around forty, you just have to avoid going. My table companion told me that he went to the latest opening of Jordon Wolfson. Since he's a forty +, it was a miserable experience. Not only the art scene, but also the art itself got on his nerves. The problem is, so he told me, that people look at it only once and then it has this kind of effect galleries are going for nowadays. But if you watch it a few times, as he managed to do, then the effect is gone: "Das Effekt verbraucht sich."  

Julia Stoschek goes with what is trending in the art world. It's a fact that she will never discover anything. You show Nancy Holt at the museum, so I said to my neighbour while munching spring roles dipped in peanut sauce, and two months later Julia Stoschek has bought the videos and is also showing Nancy Holt. I know this from own experience. It's not a bad thing. It's just a bit of a pity when you have so much money that you only play it safe. I'm excited to see Arthur Jafa's show though, so I concluded my lamentation. It's just a bit off-putting that it's curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist. 

I just came upon the 2017 McDonalds add that promotes its coffee at McCafé. I was in Kreuzberg at the hipster coffee place with friends and discussing why Berlin didn't manage to have a good coffee culture like Helsinki, Tirana, Pristina, etc. At least one has to admit that hipsters brought good coffee to Berlin. We had to laugh when looking at the McCafé add. Hipster coffee culture has gone so far that McDonalds can now promote its coffee as traditional. 




Gallery Hopping

February 3, 2018



6pm: The exhibition of CTM - Festival for Adventurous Art and Music opens at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien. Upon entering Bethanien I always get sidetracked by the smell of waffles. This time I resist the temptation. For once, the CTM exhibition is not cluttered, which is a change for the better. There is red carpet and black walls. I don't understand the art and have no access to it.  I don't get the aesthetics. But my friend i. does, and she says she will come back to see the show without me speeding through it. I consider going up to Momentum but i. tells me it's the worst art place in town. I believe her. 

7pm: Left Performance Histories at nGbK is a good exhibition. It's showing performances from Eastern Europe from the 1970s onwards. It's elegantly curated and managed to dig up great material. The emphasis is a lot on the 70s and 80s, less on the contemporary. It features also many women performers. The only minor point is that after a while everything starts to turn into the same: naked women, vagina, dressing up. My favourite is the work by Mladen Stilinovic, Dictionary of Pain, (Letter A), 2011, with pages from the Oxford Dictionary. I like its minimalism. Of course, I might be biased because I just changed the title of this blog to AAAAA. 

8pm: Esther Schipper shows Brazilian minimalist artists. Although I'm a minimalist this work is too minimalist for me. I've never thought so much about Esther Schipper as a blue chip gallery but the new white cube spaces are just screaming it.

8:30pm: At Kunstsaele there's a show curated by Philipp Bollmann from the collection of Wemhöner. It's titled Satisfy Me, and although the art in itself is not as such sexist, it's a sexist show, clearly based on the collection of some rich guy. All the women I meet are turning their eyes in disbelief. Were the curator and collector living in some separate universe for the last months?  

9pm: At Exile there's a hint of the interesting in Martin Kohaut's show but then the video breaks down. The textile shrines in the other space are strange - if it's a good kind of strange I don't know. Pinky gin tonic is served and empty boxes of pizza are on the table. I'm wondering if Exile is trending up. 

We finish the night with a rum at Lena Braun's Bar Babiche on Potsdamer Straße. I'm debating to go to the Transmediale exhibition during the weekend. My friend P. tells me he thinks I won't like it because "it's mostly cubicles filled with the same sort of video/installation/social practice accoutrement that we see all the time." He recommends me to go to one of the panel discussions like the "the weaponization of language" at 2:30pm on Saturday. 

6pm: The exhibition of CTM - Festival for Adventurous Art and Music opens at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien. Upon entering Bethanien I always get sidetracked by the smell of waffles. This time I resist the temptation. For once, the CTM exhibition is not cluttered, which is a change for the better. There is red carpet and black walls. I don't understand the art and have no access to it.  I don't get the aesthetics. But my friend i. does, a…


6pm: The exhibition of CTM - Festival for Adventurous Art and Music opens at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien. Upon entering Bethanien I always get sidetracked by the smell of waffles. This time I resist the temptation. For once, the CTM exhibition is not cluttered, which is a change for the better. There is red carpet and black walls. I don't understand the art and have no access to it.  I don't get the aesthetics. But my friend i. does, and she says she will come back to see the show without me speeding through it. I consider going up to Momentum but i. tells me it's the worst art place in town. I believe her. 

7pm: Left Performance Histories at nGbK is a good exhibition. It's showing performances from Eastern Europe from the 1970s onwards. It's elegantly curated and managed to dig up great material. The emphasis is a lot on the 70s and 80s, less on the contemporary. It features also many women performers. The only minor point is that after a while everything starts to turn into the same: naked women, vagina, dressing up. My favourite is the work by Mladen Stilinovic, Dictionary of Pain, (Letter A), 2011, with pages from the Oxford Dictionary. I like its minimalism. Of course, I might be biased because I just changed the title of this blog to AAAAA. 

8pm: Esther Schipper shows Brazilian minimalist artists. Although I'm a minimalist this work is too minimalist for me. I've never thought so much about Esther Schipper as a blue chip gallery but the new white cube spaces are just screaming it.

8:30pm: At Kunstsaele there's a show curated by Philipp Bollmann from the collection of Wemhöner. It's titled Satisfy Me, and although the art in itself is not as such sexist, it's a sexist show, clearly based on the collection of some rich guy. All the women I meet are turning their eyes in disbelief. Were the curator and collector living in some separate universe for the last months?  

9pm: At Exile there's a hint of the interesting in Martin Kohaut's show but then the video breaks down. The textile shrines in the other space are strange - if it's a good kind of strange I don't know. Pinky gin tonic is served and empty boxes of pizza are on the table. I'm wondering if Exile is trending up. 

We finish the night with a rum at Lena Braun's Bar Babiche on Potsdamer Straße. I'm debating to go to the Transmediale exhibition during the weekend. My friend P. tells me he thinks I won't like it because "it's mostly cubicles filled with the same sort of video/installation/social practice accoutrement that we see all the time." He recommends me to go to one of the panel discussions like the "the weaponization of language" at 2:30pm on Saturday. 

Some Topics of Conversation

January 30, 2018

New autograph card by Tabea Blumenschein

My friend P. writes me to say that an accident happened at the opening of König Gallery.  One of the giant, steel I-beam sculptures by Jose Dávila was knocked over while he was there. P. says it made the loudest noise. Then he heard someone say that "all art is dangerous" and someone else refer to the near fatal accident as "a performance." 

At Peres Projects I talk with Javier Peres. I like him. He can talk about the old masters in front of graffiti sprayed canvases depicting tulips without blinking an eye. 

"Do you want to go outside to smoke?" the gallerist asks me. "I don't smoke," I say. I'm a bit "dur de comprenure" so she has to wink and then I finally get it. Outside she sighs, "How come these two mediocre, boring men are directors of museums?" Later I talk to my friend W. about this. He says that first we have to have two boring men and two boring women in power. Then, after equality, we can start talking about quality. 

"I can't sing." the dancer tells me. She says that people are always surprised about this. She is supposed to know how to use her body to produce a good sound. 

I'm at the New Year party of the queer magazine Siegessäule. It's in the new Bar Babiche of Lena Braun at the Potsdamer Straße. There's loud music and a man is talking in my ear. He's the music critic of the magazine. "What is the last record you bought?" he asks me. I wonder if that is his pick-up line. It kind of puts me in a bad position because I've never bought a record in my life. "What is the last art work you bought?" I counter. 

My friend P. writes me to say that an accident happened at the opening of König Gallery.   One of the giant, steel I-beam sculptures by Jose Dávila was knocked over while he was there. P. says it made the loudest noise. Then he heard someone say that "all art is dangerous" and someone else refer to the near fatal accident as "a performance."  At Peres Projects I talk with Javier Peres. I like him. He can talk about the old mast…
New autograph card by Tabea Blumenschein

My friend P. writes me to say that an accident happened at the opening of König Gallery.  One of the giant, steel I-beam sculptures by Jose Dávila was knocked over while he was there. P. says it made the loudest noise. Then he heard someone say that "all art is dangerous" and someone else refer to the near fatal accident as "a performance." 

At Peres Projects I talk with Javier Peres. I like him. He can talk about the old masters in front of graffiti sprayed canvases depicting tulips without blinking an eye. 

"Do you want to go outside to smoke?" the gallerist asks me. "I don't smoke," I say. I'm a bit "dur de comprenure" so she has to wink and then I finally get it. Outside she sighs, "How come these two mediocre, boring men are directors of museums?" Later I talk to my friend W. about this. He says that first we have to have two boring men and two boring women in power. Then, after equality, we can start talking about quality. 

"I can't sing." the dancer tells me. She says that people are always surprised about this. She is supposed to know how to use her body to produce a good sound. 

I'm at the New Year party of the queer magazine Siegessäule. It's in the new Bar Babiche of Lena Braun at the Potsdamer Straße. There's loud music and a man is talking in my ear. He's the music critic of the magazine. "What is the last record you bought?" he asks me. I wonder if that is his pick-up line. It kind of puts me in a bad position because I've never bought a record in my life. "What is the last art work you bought?" I counter.