New Online Offers: Post-Pandemic Design, Faience and Fragments

Gipsformerei - Kunstmanufaktur seit 1819

On weekends the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin adds new digital content and exciting narratives from its diverse collections to its online offers: Hamburger Bahnhof takes a look at the use of the fragmentary in art through works by Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and Anish Kapoor; the Kunstgewerbemuseum explores the cultural history of “white gold” and talks with Hermann August Weizenegger about a post-coronavirus world of design. And the YouTube series Allein im Museum introduces personal highlights from the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte and Pergamonmuseum. Das Panorama.

Post-Pandemic Design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum

Hermann August Weizenegger – aka HAW – (b. 1963 in Kempten, Bavaria) is an influential industrial designer and professor of industrial design at the Fachhochschule Potsdam (University of Applied Sciences). His solo exhibition ATMOISM. Gestaltete Atmosphären at the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), originally scheduled to open in mid-June, had to be postponed until fall 2020. In the meantime, curator Claudia Banz and Kaja Ninnis have paid the designer a virtual visit in his Berlin studio. On the blog of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin they talk to HAW about traditional applied arts, regional production and the “social environment” as a resource (in German). They discuss the question of how COVID-19 will change the design world in the post-pandemic era and what this has to do with a renaissance of the sewing machine.

Time for Fragments at Hamburger Bahnhof

Now is “a time for fragments”, the artist Marcel Duchamp remarked to writer Anaïs Nin, when she visited him at his studio in Paris in 1934. More specifically, he was referring to documentation for his The Large Glass, a work for which he was randomly collecting text fragments and graphics that he kept in a green box. In a world whose unity had been called into question as much by physics as by the disintegration of society, the fragment seemed to Duchamp to be the only possible course for dealing with art.

In new YouTube clips, Nina Schallenberg, curator of Time for Fragments: Works from the Marx Collection at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin elucidates highlights of the currently closed special exhibition. These include works by Joseph Beuys, Marianna Castillo Deball, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol that revolve around the notion of the fragmentary.

Tea, Coffee or Hot Chocolate at the Kunstgewerbemuseum

Stilled dressed in her morning negligee, a lady portrayed in a twisting, capricious pose sits at a dolphin-footed side table and pours herself a cup of coffee. The entire miniature scene is modelled in porcelain, decorated with finely detailed painting. It is a masterpiece of Rococo porcelain sculpture, produced around 1765 at the duke of Württemberg’s Ludwigsburg Porcelain Manufactory. This little gem is part of the Porcelain and Faience Department, which was newly established at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in March 2019.

The presentation of the collection tells many stories:

  • How porcelain made its way from China to Europe
  • The opulent and prestigious appearance of early Meissen porcelain
  • The lifestyles and types of clients for whom porcelain was made at that time

There is a reason why porcelain was known as “white gold”: It was so exclusive that only royalty and the upper aristocracy could afford it at the time. In the blog of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (in German) curator Claudia Kanowski uses select objects to explain the cultural history of porcelain and how the introduction of tea, coffee and cocoa to the European continent helped to shape it.

Alone at the Museum with Martin Maischberger and Matthias Wemhoff

In the YouTube series Allein im Museum (Alone at the Museum) directors present highlights and their personal favourites from their collections in exclusive guided tours under half an hour each. The series continues with two new tours:

  • Martin Maischberger, deputy director of the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities), leads a tour through the temporary building with the exhibition Pergamonmuseum. Das Panorama, highlighting important works from ancient Pergamon, including the Telephus Frieze, Athena with the Cross-Banded Aegis, the Hercules-Prometheus Group and the Parrot Mosaic.
  • At the Neues Museum (New Museum), Matthias Wemhoff, director of the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Museum of Prehistory and Early History), takes viewers along on a prehistoric tour through the ages in the Berlin-Brandenburg region – beginning with the Höhlenlöwe (cave lion) from the Palaeolithic Period (Old Stone Age) discovered at Alexanderplatz, to the Linum dugout canoe from the Neolithic Age (New Stone Age), to a Bronze Age sacrificial well from Berlin-Lichterfelde.

Also available on the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin YouTube channel are tours with:

The series will continue with additional contributions from the collections.

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Online Offers

For an overview of all the online offers of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin with links to databases, the blog, social media channels, and to a collaborative project with Google Arts & Culture, see:

The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin uses the hashtags #SMBforHome and #ClosedButOpen for its most up-to-date-communications on social media.