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Art & Design

Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt delves into its own cultural history with an exhibition on "Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War."  (The Guardian, 12/4/17)

You know her notorious nephew, but Expressionist artist Cornelia Gurlitt appears to have been the real talent in the family.  (artnet, 11/13/17)

Jens Müller's Pioneers of German Graphic Design deserves a place of honor on your coffee table.  (The Verge, 11/12/17; Third Coast Review, 11/13/17)

ArtReview names Hito Steyerl the most influential person in contemporary art.  (The Guardian, 11/2/17; The New York Times, 12/15/17)

Four years after their rediscovery, works from the Gurlitt art trove are at last on display in Bern and Bonn—but questions of provenance remain.  (The New York Times, 11/1/17; artnet, 11/3/17; The New York Times, 11/19/17)

Election 2017

Oh, how I love German election posters!  (Deutsche Welle, 8/9/17; The Awl, 9/7/17; Buzzfeed, 9/20/17)

Don't worry about Betroffenheitskitsch, and take another look at the work of Käthe Kollwitz.  (artnet, 7/18/17)

Six caves in southwestern Germany, "home to some of the world's oldest art," have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.  (artnet, 7/11/17)

"A horde of zombies overtook Hamburg ahead of the G20 summit, for art's sake."  (Deutsche Welle, 7/5/17; artnet, 7/6/17)

"There is no difference between the beautiful sex and the strong sex,'" Bauhaus director Walter Gropius "once insisted in a somewhat self-defeating pronouncement."  (Open Culture, 6/29/17)

In Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919-1933, Tate Liverpool gives us the brilliant pairing of August Sander and Otto Dix, delivering "an evocation of a time and place that will stop you in your tracks."  (The Telegraph, 6/23/17; The Observer, 6/25/17; The Quietus, 7/2/17)

There's billowing smoke, horizontal piping, and an impressive Parthenon of banned books at Kassel's Documenta 14.  (Apollo, 6/19/17; The New York Times, 6/23/17; Deutsche Welle, 7/28/17)

Hello, Marlene Dietrich! "One of the most glamorous creatures ever to grace the silver screen is back in pictures at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C."  (CNN, 6/19/17; NPR, 6/19/17; The Washington Post, 8/5/17)

Markus Lüpertz gets a double retrospective, at Washington DC's Phillips Collection and Hirshhorn Museum, opening in May.  (Apollo, 5/20/17; The Washington Post, 5/25/17; The Washington Post, 6/2/17)

Meet Gerhard Steidl, printer extraordinare. His superlative craftsmanship has earned the regard of the world's best photographers and fashion houses.  (The New Yorker, 5/22/17)

Markus Lüpertz gets a double retrospective, at Washington DC's Phillips Collection and Hirshhorn Museum, opening in May.  (Apollo, 5/20/17)

In memoriam: A.R. Penck, "a leader in the German Neo-Expressionist movement of the 1970s and '80s, which brought a new sense of historical and political drama to figurative painting."  (ARTnews, 5/3/17; The Guardian, 5/5/17; The New York Times, 5/5/17)

Kassel's famed quinquennial has moved to Athens. "This Hellenized Documenta is sometimes forceful, often obscure, and in places exhaustingly proud of itself."  (The New York Times, 4/9/17; Hyperallergic, 4/10/17; Politico, 4/14/17)

Built as "an unmissable nomument to Communism's soaring future," the Berliner Fernsehturm "is still the tallest structure in Germany and the only European TV tower located in a metropolitan center."  (The New York Times, 4/6/17)

Congratulations to Wolf Erlbruch, winner of the Astrid Lindgren memorial award for children's literature.  (Deutsche Welle, 4/4/17; The Guardian, 4/4/17)

"Since 1991, with an interval between 1999 and 2006, photographer Herlinde Koelbl has met the German chancellor once every year, taken a portrait and interviewed her, often asking the exact same questions as the year before."  (The Washington Post, 3/29/17; The Guardian, 4/5/17)

Subway architect Rainer Rummler "could actually be one of the great unsung heroes of partitioned West Berlin." His stations from the early 1980s have just been named historical monuments.  (CityLab, 3/29/17)

Paul Scheerbart's "drawings, airy nothings composed of dotted ink, are as well-ventilated as his utopian novels."  (The New York Review of Books, 3/19/17)

The city of Trier agrees to accept a giant Karl Marx statue as a gift from China—but not without controversy.  (Deutsche Welle, 3/15/17; The Local, 3/15/17; NPR, 3/21/17; The New York Times, 5/21/17)

"The Elbphilharmonie is the concert hall that Hamburg needs. The Pierre Boulez Saal is what the world needs."  (The New York Times, 3/3/17;  Los Angeles Times, 3/5/17; The New Yorker, 5/22/17)

There's a lot of Vergangenheitsbewältigung going on in the top auction houses for contemporary art.  (The Guardian, 2/13/17)

In a new exhibition at the Tate Modern, Wolfgang Tillmans shows us the "dazzle and the muddle of our overloaded modern lives."  (The Economist, 2/9/17; The Guardian, 2/13/17; The Telegraph, 2/14/17)

Manaf Halbouni has erected a striking, 12-meter tall memorial to the residents of Aleppo in the heart of historic Dresden.  (Deutsche Welle, 2/7/17; The Guardian, 2/7/17)

How, and why, should Britain memorialize the Holocaust? Rowan Moore raises important questions about the proposed designs for a new memorial.  (The Observer, 2/5/17; 1843, 2/9/17)

What did Heidelberg's castle look like before it was destroyed by lightning, war, and fire? Take a look for yourself.  (International Business Times, 2/2/17)

In 1920s Berlin, "modernists favored flat roofs, while conservatives preferred them pitched." Jeff Reubens recalls the roof war that divided a suburban neighborhood.  (Atlas Obscura, 1/19/17)

Katharina Grosse's colorful canvases will brighten your day. They're on display at NYC's Gagosian Gallery through March 11.  (Architectural Digest, 1/8/17)

Looking for a visual aid to illustrate Germany's "obsessive preoccupation with its past," Thomas die Maizière turns to Gerhard Richter's Betty.  (artnet, 1/10/17)

How did the Protestant Reformation influence visual arts? 2017 offers numerous opportunities for you to see for yourself.  (Financial Times, 12/26/16)

Terror attack in Berlin
Michael Kimmelman and Thomas de Monchaus unpack the layers of meaning at Breitscheidplatz, heart of western Berlin's city center and site of the December 19 terror attack.  (The New York Times, 12/20/16; The New Yorker, 1/5/17)

Director Christian Schwochow has made a new film about the life of painter Paula Modersohn-Becker. (Deutsche Welle, 12/15/16)

Hanne Darboven's monumental installation "Kulturgeschichte 1880-1983" is on display now at the Dia Art Foundation. (The New York Times, 12/8/16)

"The €789m Elbphilharmonie is an astonishing building: unpredictable, unforgiving and not entirely beautiful, but also generous, open and profound in its relationship with the docks, the city and the sky."  (Financial Times, 12/2/16; Deutsche Welle, 1/9/17; The New York Times, 1/10/17; Los Angeles Times, 3/23/17)

"Making Heimat: Germany, Arrival Country" knocks down walls at the Venice Architecture Biennale. (Metropolis, 5/25/16; The New York Times, 5/26/16)

Since the Pergamon Altar on Berlin's Museum Island will be under renovation until 2019, here's the next best thing.  (Deutsche Welle, 5/25/15)

Consider the short but fruitful history of Black Mountain College, where Bildung met Erziehung in rural North Carolina.  (Los Angeles Review of Books, 5/16/16)

GDR design groupies, the Kulturbrauerei has an exhibition for you!  (Deutsche Welle, 4/12/16)

"Does my family own a painting looted by Nazis?" Despite researchers' best efforts, it's often impossible to say for sure.  (The New York Times, 4/5/16)

Looking for Berlin's best street? Hans Kollhof makes the case for Karl-Marx-Allee, "the only example of German urban planning and architecture that continues the great tradition of the 19th century."  (CityLab, 3/31/16)

On display at the Robert Mann Gallery in NYC: vintage photos by Elisabeth Hase. She "began to photograph as the New Vision took hold, the visual language of modernism that has never disappeared from sight as completely as she did."  (The New York Times, 3/31/16)

Here's another Taschen book to covet: Germany Around 1900, featuring 800 photochrom postcard images "drenched in a kind of enchanted Romanticism."  (Hyperallergic, 3/8/16)

Thanks to artist-activists Nora al-Badri and and Jan Nikolai Nelles, you too can create your own copy of the bust of Queen Nefertiti.  (The New York Times, 3/1/16; Hyperallergic, 3/9/16)

Anke Feuchtenberger "pushed German comics into a new realm, redefining the medium in cultural, political, and aesthetic terms."  (World Literature Today, 3/2016)

The Humboldt Forum and its skeptics
Moving Berlin's collections of non-western art from suburban Dahlem to the new Humboldt Forum "is not driven by the needs of the collection; instead it is being used for a different purpose: to create another Berlin spectacle."  (The New York Review of Books, 2/29/16)

The Italian Renaissance loomed large in 19th- and early 20th-century Germans' historical imagination (explains a new study by Martin Ruehl).  (The Art Newspaper, 2/25/16)

"An exhibition of Paula Modersohn-Becker’s art is almost by definition a bittersweet event. It’s thrilling to watch this pioneering German painter restlessly experiment with color and surface in the form of portraits, landscapes, still lifes and scenes of peasant women and children she made during her short time on earth."  (The New York Times, 2/25/16)

Germany's newest subway line, the Wehrhahn in Düsseldorf, transforms "commuter drudgery into art appreciation."  (The New York Times, 2/19/16)

"Art from the Holocaust," featuring 100 works from the collection of Yad Vashem, is now on display at the German Historical Museum in Berlin.  (The New York Times, 1/22/16; Deutsche Welle, 1/25/16)

Meet Maria Sibylla Merian, gifted artist and naturalist whose work expanded "the male-dominated scientific world of the late seventeenth century."  (The Atlantic, 1/19/16)

"Promoted in his time (1674-1739) as 'The Greatest German Living'," Matthias Buchinger was an astonishingly talented calligrapher as well as performer.  (The New York Times, 1/14/16)