The Kunstmuseum Basel, the world’s oldest municipal art collection, which houses over 4,000 paintings and sculptures, as well as 300,000 drawings and prints from seven decades is about to become richer in space. The main building (opened 1936) and the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart (opened 1980 and is sited in close vicinity on the banks of the Rhine) are to be complemented by the new building. The 2.740 square metre extension has been designed by renowned Basel-based architects Christ & Gantenbein and is primarily dedicated to the museum’s special exhibition programme. The extension is connected to the main building across the street by an underground passageway, and through many of its elements, it cites the rich architectural language of the main building. This is manifested in the monumental stairway with a central circular skylight, the sgraffito in the open areas of the foyer and the staircases. References to the historical building are also present in the colour qualities of the brick facade as well as the highly refined details in the materials used. Despite homage to the old building, the new extension is a standalone building with its own contemporary architectural identity. The polygonal ground plan comprises a series of well-proportioned rectangular exhibition halls. Particularly impressive are the expansive hallways (around five metres in height) that make up the basement level of the building. The new building blends harmoniously into the heterogeneous structure of Basel’s St. Alban quarter and radiates, quite literally, through the LED frieze woven into the facade, out onto the city. To coincide with the opening of the new building, the inaugural exhibition Sculpture on the Move 1946-2016 will take place. The extensive survey, curated by Bernhard Mendes Bürgi., will map the dynamic evolution of the sculptural form – from its antiquated beginnings to its contemporary context, with works by Alberto Giacometti, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra, Katharina Fritsch, Félix González-Torres and Oscar Tuazon on display.
With this year’s Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim, the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) has honoured three outstanding Swiss cultural practitioners: the curator Adelina von Fürstenberg, conceptual artist Christian Philipp Müller and architect and author Martin Steinmann. For the second time, The Prix Meret Oppenheim will run in parallel to Art Basel, together with the Swiss Art Awards 2016 exhibition. At this time, an exhibition with portraits of the winners will be on show, and a Prix Meret Oppenheim 2016 publication will also launch, which comprises interviews between Samuel Schallenberg and Adelina von Fürstenberg, Philip Ursprung and Christian Philipp Müller, and Daniel Kurz and Martin Steinmann. The Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim was initiated in 2001 to honour artistic and architectural creativity. The awards distinguish artists, architects, curators and researchers, whose methods and approaches have exerted a lasting influence on our perception and have stimulated cultural dialogue in Switzerland and beyond.
Passengers on the Düsseldorf Metro will be able to journey through the city in an entirely new way come 20 February – the Wehrhahn link, a new underground line, will open its doors after 15 years of planning and construction. The task was carried out by netzwerkarchitekten from Darmstadt and the artist Heike Klussmann. Since 2001, they have worked with architects and artists along with city authorities to realise and devise an overall design concept for the six stops on the new route. The idea was to use the line as a site where art and architecture are inseparably bound – intersecting, inspiring and complementing one another and leaving a strong collective stamp on the space. Remarkably, there will be no advertising in any of the stations across the entire line. The artists commissioned for the series are Ralf Brög (Heinrich-Heine-Allee), Ursula Damm (Schadowstraße), Manuel Franke (Graf-Adolf-Platz), Enne Haehnle (Station Kirchplatz), Thomas Stricker (Benrather Straße), and Heike Klussmann (Pempelforter Straße). Instagram: @wehrhahnlinie
Since the 1960s the Dreischeibenhaus has defined Dusseldorf’s skyline with its height of 94 meters. It is among the most significant examples of post-war modernist International style and a symbol of the so-called Wirtschaftswunder in West-Germany. Located in Düsseldorf’s city center, the sleek steel and glass building forms an ensemble with the Schauspielhaus and the Kö-Bogen. It´s unusual silhouette is shaped by three slim construction blocks, featuring curtain wall façades made of aluminum and glass, and narrow sides cladded with stainless steel. The building has now been completely refurbished by HPP Hentrich-Petschnigg & Partner with the intention to preserve and highlight its original character from the 60s, which is particularly visible in the iconic lobby with a dark green marble floor, high steel walls, colorful risers, Barcelona-styled chair furniture and even a glass phone box. Beside measures to maintain the old charm, new features were also added to the building, including terraces on the rooftop and the new restaurant Phoenix on the ground floor, hosted by the building owner Patrick Schwarz-Schütte and designed by Etienne Descloux and Irina Kromayer.
The Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) has been chosen to curate the German Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016 presenting the exhibition “Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country”.
The current refugee situation is part of a massive worldwide flow of migrants. It leads people from the countryside into cities. What are the challenges facing cities with incoming refugees and migrants? Where in Germany are the preferred “arrival cities” located? How do newcomers become socially integrated citizens? And how can architecture and urban design contribute to this process? Taking as a starting point the hypotheses put forward by the Canadian journalist Doug Saunders in his best selling non-fiction book ‘Arrival City’, the DAM team – comprising Peter Cachola Schmal, general commissioner and director of the DAM, Oliver Elser, curator at DAM and the project coordinator Anna Scheuermann, with Saunders as advisor, examines these questions in the exhibition “Making Heimat” in the German Pavilion. How, in the future, can Germany’s “arrival cities”, such as Offenbach am Main respond and hypothetically shape the conditions that create a good ‘Arrival City’? The 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia runs from May 28 – November 27, 2016.
Following the two major exhibitions “Return of Landscape” in 2010 and “Culture:City” in 2013, Berlin’s Akademie der Künste is now working on their next project coming up in spring 2016 titled, “Demo:Polis”. This exhibition is dedicated not only to the future of public space but the right to this real, physical space. While the Internet simulated a virtual public sphere, its promise was disappointed by Wikileaks and Edward Snowdon’s revelations. In contrast to this, people are again voicing their views with relative anonymity by demonstrating in real public spaces. Today, social media and real public space are the new framework for self-determination. Neo-liberalism has made the real public sphere a target for commercial interests: from advertising, sponsored events and the sale of publicly owned property, almost every public privilege and property have been sold. As cities grow denser, building projects encroach more and more on public space, an issue in which citizens demand to have a greater say in. As an ambitious endeavor on a highly complex issue, always close to failure – just like the constant fight over the right to setting the rules for the meaning and use of public space – “Demo:Polis” will include an exhibition, a catalogue and a series of conferences and parliaments, bringing together multiple approaches and working principles.
The autumn of 2015 marks the second collaborative project between four of Berlin’s leading art institutions: Berlinische Galerie, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin will present a total of four thematically related and coinciding exhibitions. Titled STADT/BILD (Image of a City), the project approaches the notion of “the city” as thematic cluster from various perspectives. Architects Brandlhuber+ Hertweck, Mayfried will devise a spatial intervention in the Berlinische Galerie. The Dialogic City: Berlin wird Berlin sets out to question the museum as an institution, its acquisition policy, conditions of exhibiting, and different constraints. Xenopolis at Deutsche Bank KunstHalle will focus on the city as a living organism that does not belong to anyone in particular. Working under the hypothesis that there is no such thing as one coherent city, curator Simon Njami explores the multiplicity of cities. At the heart of the exhibition Welcome to the Jungle at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, a “jungle” serves as a desired imaginary space, symbolizing the subconscious, potentially dangerous counterpart of the controlled urban environment. The jungle marks a maximum distance from everyday life, as the name of the best-known discotheque in the history of West Berlin illustrates. With Fluids. A Happening by Allan Kaprow, 1967 / 2015 the Nationalgalerie presents a comprehensive reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s Happenings from 1967 in the public sphere. Originally constructed out of ice blocks, Fluids explored the questions of authorship, participation and communality, temporality, and choreography. Berlin-based artists are invited to react to this process-based work. Their versions of Fluids will appear in different locations around Berlin on successive days during the Berlin Art Week.
How to rethink space and matter? – a question posed by the Bureau des arts plastiques et de l’architecture and the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ in the context of their collaborative project “In Extenso – Erweitert”. Three invited French curators – Karima Boudou, Céline Poulin and Agnès Violeau – teamed up within the program “Jeunes Commissaires” to approach the answer within a performative and narrative exhibition titled A SPACE IS A SPACE IS A SPACE in Berlin. To probe notions of social context, public space and performance as possible discursive platforms, the curators worked with artists, architects and writers – including Kader Attia, Rosa Barba, Jason Dodge, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Jimmie Durham, Markus Miessen, Joanne Pouzenc, Michael Riedel, Vanessa Safavi, Rosemarie Trockel and Clémence de la Tour du Pin. The exhibition, accompanied by a lecture and performance programme, includes the launch of a special edition of the art and literature magazine JBCQVF addressing concepts such as participatory democracy, anthropological space and “idleness” as described by Giorgo Agamben.
A SPACE IS A SPACE IS A SPACE
Opening: 10. September 2015, 7 pm
Deutsches Architekturzentrum DAZ
Köpenicker Str. 48/49, Berlin
The Schinkel Pavillon – which opened in 2007 – is one of Berlin’s most important exhibition spaces for contemporary art. It is currently in urgent need of support for its preservation, expansion, and long-term planning. To this end, 54 internationally renowned artists have donated artworks for the benefit auction, ‘By Artists for Artists’, among them are John Baldessari, Paul McCarthy, George Condo, Fischli/Weiss, Isa Genzken, Andreas Gursky, Philippe Parreno, Cindy Sherman, and Rosemarie Trockel. The auction and preview will take place at Villa Grisebach, followed by a second round in October at Christie’s in London. The funds raised by the auction will generate the financial basis for Schinkel Pavillon that will allow it to maintain the high quality of its programme and carry out its exhibition calendar for the upcoming years. In addition, the exhibition space will expand to include another floor. Through extensive and much needed restoration, the Schinkel-Klause, made famous under Erich Honecker, will be returned to life as a meeting place and an interface for performance, installation, artist’s talks, lectures, and art education. Information about the auction, including a complete list of works, is available at www.schinkelpavillon.de
Villa Grisebach, Berlin
Auction 19 September 2015, 5 p.m. / Preview 7–18 September
Auction 17 October 2015, 1 p.m.
With “Melancholy and Architecture: On Aldo Rossi” by Diogo Seixas Lopes we learn about obligations to express, “that there is nothing to express”. An interview with the author, who met Rossi by means of a misdemeanour…
Italian architect Aldo Rossi (1931–97) is, without question, one of the most influential architects of the second half of the 20th century. In your book titled “Melancholy and Architecture: On Aldo Rossi” – recently published by Park Books and celebrated by the critics – you look at the significant contribution the architect has made to architectural discourse, offering a new perspective on the long cultural history of melancholy. How did you meet Aldo Rossi?
Diogo: My first memory of Aldo Rossi is stealing a pocket monograph of his work published by Gustavo Gili, in the early 1990s. It was a childish stunt, in a bookstore that was setting up shop at the architecture school in Lisbon. I did not know much about architecture, but at least I recognised the name of the architect. Maybe I was drawn by the image of the cover, which I think was the Teatro del Mondo. If I were to believe in certain kinds of biographic explanations, and that is not the case, I met Rossi by means of a misdemeanour.
While the influence of melancholy on literature and the visual arts has been extensively studied, its presence in architecture has been largely overlooked. Why did you choose to shed light on this specific dark side of architecture?
Diogo: Aldo Rossi frequently mentioned a text by Raymond Roussel, explaining how he had written some of his books. Roussel describes a very methodical process, while his works are anything but clear-cut. A lot of the choices I made, or for that matter anyone else in a similar situation, were of technical nature. Choices of structure and content, choices of form really. True, I was also drawn by a personal proclivity for certain states of mind. And then, the idea to portray Rossi as a dark star of architecture. But, as it is often said, the work should speak for itself.
Exploring Rossi’s entire career, you trace out the oscillation between enthusiasm and disenchantment that marks Rossi’s work, and closer explore of one of Rossi’s landmark creations, the Cemetery of San Cataldo in Modena. An emotion built in stone?
Diogo: Your question seems to derive from the famous dictum by Goethe, about architecture being frozen music. I never liked that expression much, it seems too formal and – frankly – too German. Sure, you cannot or – in my point of view – should not discuss the work of Rossi without taking into account a deeply emotional aspect associated to it. That is also what makes his case so interesting, the disruptive side of his personality. But then there is the rest. There are the buildings, the projects, the texts, the drawings and so forth.
Melancholy and Architecture – on Barbas Lopes. As a practicing architect yourself, is there a presence of melancholy in your work? – As the “Teatro Thalia” comes to mind.
Diogo: Originally, I wrote this as a doctoral dissertation at ETH Zurich. It was roughly done at the same time of the project and construction of Teatro Thalia, in Lisbon. Barbas Lopes is a partnership with my wife – Patrícia Barbas – and an architectural office dealing with the basic facts and figures of the trade . There is no underlying theme, just the specific conditions of each work. But contaminations do happen, and we are firm believers in them. In the case of Thalia, by some strange coincidence, they happened to be about ruins and memories retrieved from oblivion.
Melancholy and Architecture: On Aldo Rossi
Diogo Seixas Lopes
Park Books (2015)