Beautiful! “German photographer Jan Prengel looks beyond still life—instead capturing flowers and plant stems in motion, over an exposure time of 2–3 seconds.”  (Aesthetica, 1/19/23)

Sebastian Smee contemplates Two Men Contemplating the Moon, one of Caspar David Friedrich’s best-known masterpieces.  (The Washington Post, 1/4/23)

Emanuel Leutze painted his two versions of Washington Crossing the Delaware in Düsseldorf, shortly after the failed revolutions of 1848. “His intention was not to ignite the patriotic passions of Americans, but to inspire his fellow Germans to be as patriotic as he knew Americans were.”  (The Washington Post, 12/25/22)

“FANTASTIC FUTURISTIC FATALISTIC”: See how Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was marketed to audiences all over the world through this gallery of vintage movie posters.  (Open Culture, 12/16/22)

Onkel Toms Hütte is one of Berlin’s most distinctive U-Bahn stations, with a name that references Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, a long-gone Biergarten, and a modernist housing development designed by Bruno Taut. Once a flashpoint in the great “roof war” of 1928, it’s now the center of a 21st-century controversy about the anti-Black slur that “Uncle Tom” has become. NPR, (7/30/08; Atlas Obscura, 1/19/17; The Washington Post, 11/27/22)

“Almost safe, she returned to Munich and lost her painting and her life”: A Renaissance portrait owned by Ilse Hesselberger, who was deported and murdered in 1941, is now being auctioned to benefit Holocaust survivors and other charitable causes.  (The New York Times, 11/22/22)

Dylan Moriarty had no grand plans for his trip to Germany, but he knew he wanted to illustrate it: “A camera is one way to capture the world, but the meditation of re-creating moments in ink felt like a better, more personal tribute.”  (The Washington Post, 10/15/22)

A “showpiece of socialist realist architecture” in Potsdam gets a new lease on life as the Minsk Kunsthaus.  (The Guardian, 10/2/22)

The Slavs and Tatars art collective in Berlin, with activities “rooted in the giant swath of land between the former Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China,” publishes books, puts on interactive performances and installations, and runs Pickle Bar pop-ups around the world.  (The New York Times, 9/22/22)

Meet Winold Reiss, “the German modernist who painted a multicultural United States.” His subjects included Langston Hughes, members of the Blackfeet Nation, and a very young Isamu Noguchi.  (Hyperallergic, 8/25/22; The New York Times, 8/25/22)

“By collecting water towers the way someone else might collect cookie jars, they cut industry down to size.” Bernd and Hilla Becher are at last getting their due at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  (The Art Newspaper, 7/13/22; The New York Times, 7/28/22)

In praise of the Plattenbau: “In a new book, Jesse Simon presents these structures in all their grid-like beauty.”  (Aesthetica, 2/24/22)

“It was wrong to take the bronzes and it was wrong to keep them.” Germany is returning two Benin bronzes and more than one thousand other items from its museums’ collections to Nigeria.  (Artnet, 6/29/22; The Guardian, 7/1/22)

Documenta 15 couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, but there’s a lot more to see—including vegetable plots, a skateboard halfpipe, a sauna on the lawn of a Baroque castle, and a floating stage on the Fulda River.  (The Guardian, 6/23/22; The New York Times, 6/24/22; Hyperallergic, 6/28/22)

A mural with offensive imagery is removed, and a panel on antisemitism hastily convened, at Documenta 15. (Artnet, 6/21/22; ARTnews, 6/29/22; The New Fascism Syllabus, 7/24/22)

Candida Höfer’s stunning photographs of empty museums, libraries, cathedrals, and theaters “have acquired a haunting resonance during the pandemic.”  (Financial Times, 2/19/22)

In memoriam: Ali Mitgutsch (1935–2022), father of the Wimmelbuch. “He delighted readers with detailed, cartoonish tableaus crammed with jokes and anecdotes.” (The New York Times, 1/18/22)

“Holbein’s seamless union of materiality and symbolism was more than merely showy. Instead, it’s what makes the flesh-and-blood verisimilitude of his portraits so captivating.” Hans Holbein: Capturing Character in the Renaissance is now on display in Los Angeles and moving to New York City in February.  (Los Angeles Times, 10/2621; The Wall Street Journal, 11/13/21)

“Like an imposing Disneyland castle minus the fun,” the Humboldt Forum is “an institution manufactured to fill a building, rather than the other way around . . . But the symbolism of rebuilding an imperial palace, crowned with a golden crucifix, as a showcase for colonial booty now seems almost comically misjudged.”  (National Geographic, 12/16/20; The New York Times, 7/22/21; The Guardian, 9/9/21; Hyperallergic, 12/15/21)

In Neo Rauch’s art, “events seem to take place in a parallel world . . . Alongside patches of preternatural calm, a discordant color breaks in, or a reptilian tail, or a burning backpack, or a Converse sneaker. The over-all effect is of allegorical painting, but these are allegories to which Rauch has thrown away the key.”  (The New Yorker, 9/27/21)

Don’t look for Benin bronzes in the Humboldt Forum: “Germany is on course to be the first country to return to Nigeria sculptures looted by British troops from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897.”  (The Guardian, 3/23/21; The Art Newspaper, 3/24/21; AICGS, 5/11/21; The Art Newspaper, 10/15/21)

Eco-friendly and koselig, too: WoHo “could serve as a template for how to build a charismatic architectural showpiece in an up-and-coming neighborhood without exclusion or displacement.”  (Bloomberg, 2/11/21; Bloomberg, 2/27/21)

Göring’s Man in Paris is “the story of a Nazi art plunderer and his world”—and how historian Jonathan Petropoulos became part of that world more than fifty years later.  (The Art Newspaper, 1/7/21; The New York Times, 1/17/21)

Tholey, the oldest working abbey in Germany, has a beautiful new look—stained glass windows by the artists Gerhard Richter and Mahbuba Maqsoodi.  (The New York Times, 9/18/20)

“There was nothing half-hearted about either Lovis Corinth or his pictures”: an appreciation of the artist and his Walchensee paintings, created a century ago.  (New Statesman, 2/10/21)

“Antisemitism for beginners”: the Jewish children’s book publisher Ariella Verlag has released a darkly humorous collection of cartoons.  (PRI, 2/3/21)

Brighten your day with a (virtual) visit to Michael and Petra Mayer’s architectural glass and mosaic studio in Munich.  (The New York Times, 12/2/20)

“From 1974 to 1984, Zusammenleben subtly depicted the reality of everyday life in East Germany.” Ute Mahler’s compelling black-and-white photos are now on display at La Maison De L’Image Documentaire.  (The Guardian, 1/6/21)

“The task of the work of art,” said Caspar David Friedrich, “is to recognise the spirit of nature and to imbue it with heart and feeling and to absorb it and represent it.”  (New Statesman, 7/22/20)

The message of “Unveiled: Berlin and Its Monuments” at the Spandau Citadel is clear: “A monument is not a descriptive account of history, but instead a historical artifact that tells a story about power. In a setting that invites scrutiny, visitors can study Berlin’s monuments to grasp more clearly who had power and how that power was used.”  (Atlas Obscura, 8/14/20)

It may have taken a pandemic, but now the rest of us can get into Berghain. The Berlin nightclub is temporarily reinventing itself as a gallery for local artists.  (The Art Newspaper, 8/12/20; The Guardian, 8/13/20)

“In 1986 a treasure trove of German film posters from the first four decades of film history were found, profoundly damaged by a fire, in the mine where they had remained for forty years.” Many of the restored posters are now on display at the Deutsche Kinemathek and in its online gallery.  (MUBI Notebook, 7/17/20)

“With its heavy armour plating, its second horn halfway up the back, its three-toed feet and its cruel face, the poor animal looked more like a tank than the real thing.” Albrecht Dürer’s oddly inaccurate rendering of a rhinoceros shaped Europeans’ imagery of the animal for centuries.  (History Today, 8/2020)

Adele Schopenhauer’s Scherenschnitte, unpublished in her lifetime, “vanished into an intimate constellation of private albums, self-conscious repositories of emotion.”  (Collage Research Network, 8/1/20)

Hello, Lenin? As a 35-year-old statue of the Soviet leader stands firm in Schwerin, Gelsenkirchen bucks worldwide trends to become the first western German city to display a statue in his honor.  (Digital Cosmonaut, 6/2020; Deutsche Welle, 6/20/20)

In memoriam: photographer Astrid Kirchherr (1938-2020). “In a dingy, disreputable Hamburg bar, amid the noise and squalor, she detected something beautiful.”  (The New York Times, 5/16/20; The Guardian, 5/19/20)

The bottom half of Kang Sunkoo’s Statue of Limitations, an 11-meter-high sculpture referencing Germany’s colonial past, has just been installed at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. The upper half will be placed in the city’s Afrikanisches Viertel, so-called for its streets that were in named in the colonial era.  (London Review of Books, 10/4/19; The Art Newspaper, 5/18/20)

Germany’s museums are opening back up—with online ticketing, social distancing, plexiglass shields, and a lot of disinfectant.  (artnet, 4/22/20;  The Art Newspaper, 5/4/20)

The Old Masters Picture Gallery gets a major upgrade at the Semperbau in Dresden.  (The Art Newspaper, 2/27/20; artnet, 2/27/20)

“In her etchings, prints and sculptures, [Käthe] Kollwitz continues to remind us what it means to be an artist and the possibilities of art in the most troubling of times.”  (Lithub, 2/14/20; The Economist, 7/20/20)

In 1926, architect and activist Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky designed the first fitted kitchen, to simplify food preparation in close quarters for (especially) working-class women. Her “Frankfurt Kitchen” was just the start of a long and eventful career. (The Wire, 1/26/20; MoMA, 2/14/20)

Ai Weiwei has some choice words for Germany, and for Berlin taxi drivers in particular.  (The Guardian, 1/21/20)