Neue Nationalgalerie celebrates 50 Years

31.08.2018
Neue Nationalgalerie

The Neue Nationalgalerie celebrates the 50th anniversary of its inauguration this year. The architectural icon created by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was opened on September 15th 1968 as a museum for classical modernism from the collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Nationalgalerie. As part of the celebrations, public tours through the construction site will take place on September 15th and 16th. Additionally, there will be a film screening and an exhibition of posters along the fence around the building, which is currently being renovated. A publication on the history of exhibitions in the Neue Nationalgalerie is also being published.

The Neue Nationalgalerie was the last work to be designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) working alone. With the glass upper hall of the museum, Mies consummated his long-term preoccupation with flowing, open space. He died not long after the building’s inauguration. The Neue Nationalgalerie, with its steel roof and its reduced formal idiom, is thus regarded not only as an icon of modernism but also as the legacy of a visionary master-builder of the 20th century.

The museum on Potsdamer Straße was constructed as a venue for the collection of the Nationalgalerie in what was then West Berlin. Today it is the chief location of the museum’s holdings in classical modernism and post-war international modernism. The building was inaugurated on September 15th 1968 with a Piet Mondrian exhibition that has since become legendary, and a major presentation of the collection on the downstairs floor. The Neue Nationalgalerie has been closed for refurbishment since 2015. The anniversary celebrations will coincide with the completion of the structural overhaul and the commencement of the final phase of refurbishment. The museum is scheduled to be re-opened in 2020.

Guided tours of the construction site on September 15th and 16th 2018

On Saturday, September 15th and Sunday, September 16th 2018 the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (BBR) will present public guided tours of the construction site:

  • Saturday 2 pm to 6 pm
  • Sunday 10 pm to 6 pm
  • Starting every 15 minutes
  • Meet at: Potsdamer Straße entrance gate

Registration required.

Open-air exhibition

The fence presently enclosing the building site will host an open-air exhibition with posters from special exhibitions of the past 50 years.

Church Service for Mies van der Rohe 

The Stiftung St. Matthäus is taking part in the anniversary celebrations with an event of its own. A hORA service for Mies van der Rohe will take place on Sunday, September 16th at 6 pm. Pastor Dr. Johann Hinrich Claussen, EKD spokesperson on cultural affairs, and architect and Mies expert Fritz Neumeyer will engage in a pulpit dialogue on the ‘Island of Order in the Cityscape’ (Neumeyer). Ina Weisse’s film ‘Die Neue Nationalgalerie’ (2017) will screen at 8 pm. The Neue Nationalgalerie can be viewed each day from the tower of the St. Matthäus Kirche as part of the guided tours of the building site (free entry).

Publication on the history of exhibitions at the Neue Nationalgalerie

On the occasion of the anniversary a 350-page book on the history of exhibitions at the Neue Nationalgalerie is being published. It contains around 500 mostly unknown photographs. The story of the museum is told via projects by Yves Klein, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer and Gerhard Richter, among others, but also major theme-based exhibitions such as ‘Art in the GDR’ or ‘MoMA in Berlin’. Personal recollections from Udo Kittelmann, Katharina Grosse, Rem Koolhaas and others complete the retrospective. The publication has been made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie. Publication date: September 15th 2018, 336 pages, price: 40 €, order online.

Symposium on September 13th 2018

In cooperation with the Ernst Wilhelm Nay Stiftung, the Nationalgalerie will host a Symposium on the work of Ernst Wilhelm Nay on Thursday, September 13th 2018. Nay was an important classical modernist painter. Seven talks will present new research on Nay’s work.

Neue Galerie 

The ‘Neue Galerie’ at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin is serving as an annexe to the Neue Nationalgalerie during its refurbishment. Selections from the art of the early 20th century from the collection of the Nationalgalerie are being shown in alternating presentations. Taking place amid plans for a new building at the Kulturforum, ‘Neue Galerie’ is a deliberate experiment with new perspectives on what has become known as “classical” modernism. A special exhibition on the Brücke artist and expressionist Otto Mueller titled ‘PAINTER. MENTOR. MAGICIAN. Otto Mueller and his Netwerk in Wrocław’ will open on October 12th 2018.