27.04.2018 New exhibit in the permanent exhibition at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK): Conchita Wurst auf der Mondsichel (Conchita Wurst on the Crescent Moon) by Gerhard Goder (2014). Event announcement: public tour “LBGTI representation in the museum” and panel discussion “Museums and the LBGTI Community: Strategies for visibility.”
Museum Europäischer Kulturen
New exhibit in the permanent exhibition at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK): Conchita Wurst auf der Mondsichel (Conchita Wurst on the Crescent Moon) by Gerhard Goder (2014). Event announcement: public tour “LBGTI representation in the museum” and panel discussion “Museums and the LBGTI Community: Strategies for visibility.”
It was the surprising victory of Conchita Wurst, the stage persona of Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth, at the 59th Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen in 2014 which inspired the artist to create this sculpture. Goder places his figure in the tradition of the Roman Catholic iconography of saints, and in this case specifically Saint Wilgefortis. According to legend, God rescued the saint from an unwanted marriage by allowing her to grow a beard. Goder’s sculpture also draws on the striking Christian iconography of the Virgin of the Apocalypse, popular since the 16th century, in which the Virgin is depicted with the Christ Child in her arms, standing on a crescent moon. The androgynous appearance of the sculpture chimes with Conchita Wurst’s declaration that she was a beautiful man and a beautiful woman in one person, illuminated by her sun, the public.
The sculpture is a contemporary document, in which the artist has tried to encapsulate live social debates. On the one hand, it refers to the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest, and on the other, to the plurality of our society, with its people and communities of different cultures, origins, religious faiths, skin colours and sexual orientations. The MEK would like to provide a forum and a space for self-affirmation for these different groups. In the case of the Goder sculpture, this applies particularly to the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexual) communities, who make up a large percentage of the fans of the Eurovision Song Contest. The sculpture’s grand entrance to the MEK’s permanent collection coincides with the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon and Berlin’s “Queer History Month” in May.
On Saturday 26 May, the MEK offers an insight into its policies for LBGTI inclusivity in collecting and exhibiting. A special tour at 3 pm focuses on individual exhibits in the permanent and special exhibitions which have LGBTI connections. The biographies and contexts of these objects offer an opportunity to discuss how sexual and gender diversity can be reflected in the museum.
The MEK is a member of the MUSEEN QUEEREN BERLIN network, which meets four times a year to discuss ideas and best practice for reflecting sexual and gender diversity in Berlin’s museums. On Thursday 3 May 2018, as part of “Queer History Month”, the network invites members of the public to a panel discussion on “Museums and the LBGT Community: Strategies for Visibility”. Taking part will be representatives of the museum landscape and cultural policy-makers. Further details and information about forthcoming events can be found on the network’s website.