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You’ll want to be sure to save time in your Art Basel schedule to visit these top exhibitions in Berlin, on view at Hamburger Bahnhof and the Museums Frieder Burda.
Andreas Mühe: Mischipoche
Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin-Mitte
Born to a well-known actor and a renowned theater director, Andreas Mühe (b. 1979, Chemnitz) works, perhaps unsurprisingly, in relation to the dramatic arts. Produced through analog technology, his new series of photographic family portraits focuses on lifelike sculptures of deceased family members. The eerie results are blocked with stagecraft, perceptively composed like thespian protagonists. Underscoring the ambivalence of his medium, the exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof deals with the notion of the family portrait inscribed with charged German historiography.
Jack Whitten: Jack’s Jacks
Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin-Mitte
Conceived in close collaboration with the artist, “Jack’s Jacks” is the first European solo exhibition of work by Jack Whitten. Whitten’s memorial paintings comprise the show’s core; these are paintings dedicated to friends, relatives, and public figures and conceived as vessels of personhood. Whitten strove, in his own words, “to take a subject, and build it into the paint medium, that extends the meaning of abstraction,” and this devotion to his mentors, colleagues, and contemporaries—many of whom appear as subjects—speaks to the artist’s cultural, emotional, material, and political world, re-created in jazz-like, elegiac strokes.
JR – Adrian Piper – Ray Johnson
Museum Frieder Burda | Salon Berlin Mitte
Through the work of JR, Adrian Piper, and Ray Johnson, Museum Frieder Burda has opened a crucial discourse on the nature of social participation in an increasingly global community. Ray Johnson (b. 1927, Detroit; d. 1995, New York) developed a practice in mail art to grapple with the nature of communication; Adrian Piper (b. 1948, New York) works in the space between the personal and political; and JR (b. 1983, Paris) uses collage to activate local participation. Across many mediums and three generations, these artists each approach their practice with humility, unpacking daily hierarchies to understand the implications of their work, their moment, and the artist-audience relationship.
Museum Frieder Burda | Baden Baden Mitte
“Ensemble”—together—activates the exceptional collections of both the Centre Pompidou and the Museum Frieder Burda. Pulling together approximately one hundred works, the exhibition highlights the resonance between the German and French perspective, explored through high-profile works by Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, and Anselm Kiefer. As French modernism collides with German Expressionism in a light-flooded space, ghosts of history will reemerge as well, presenting an opportunity to reflect upon French occupation, peace negotiations, and Franco-German friendship captured through culture.