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New Online Offers: Magical Talismans, Jazz in the Garden and #CollectingCorona

Gipsformerei - Kunstmanufaktur seit 1819

Since the Easter weekend the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has added new digital content and exciting narratives to its online offers from its diverse collections. The Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) recalls legendary concerts that took place in its Sculpture Garden; the directors of the Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst (Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art) and of the Vorderasiatischen Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East) present talismans and bearers of hope in the YouTube series Allein im Museum (Alone at the Museum); and the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK, Museum of European Cultures) launches its #CollectingCorona call for submissions.

Jazz in the Garden at the Neue Nationalgalerie

Most people are unaware of the fact that the Neue Nationalgalerie was long the venue for legendary concerts. At the museum’s inauguration on 15 September 1968, a jazz band performed amongst the sculptures of Auguste Renoir, Henri Laurens and Gerhard Marcks in the sunken garden of the Mies van der Rohe building.

Until 1978 the then still unusual combination of Music at the Museum gained great popularity through the concert series Jazz in the Garden and the Meta Music Festival. Internationally renowned stars of jazz, the avant-garde and world music were among the performers who included Keith Jarret, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Steve Reich, Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream, as well as drum groups from Senegal and Tibetan monks with prayer bells.

The blog of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (only in German) has discovered historical programmes and photographs in the archives and brings this ebullient period to life with a specially curated Spotify playlist revisiting Jazz in the Garden and the Meta Music Festival.

Horst Janssen and Paul Klee in Charlottenburg

The special exhibitions Klee in North Africa and LebenskleckseTodeszeichen: Horst Janssen zum Neunzigsten (Splatters of Life – Signs of Death: The 90th Anniversary of Horst Janssen’s Birth) at the Nationalgalerie’s Charlottenburg venues – the Museum Berggruen and the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg – are currently closed. Highlights of both shows can now be seen in a video series on the social media channels of the two museums and on the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin YouTube channel:

  • At the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, head of the collection Kyllikki Zacharias shares insights into Horst Janssen’s multifaceted oeuvre. She talks about the artist’s techniques and what links him with the Surrealists. At the Museum Berggruen, collection curator Gabriel Montua discusses how Paul Klee’s travels to Tunisia and Egypt greatly influenced his pictorial compositions.
  • The Museum Berggruen’s Bettina Berggruen Garden, with large sculptures by Thomas Schütte, remains open.

Alone at the Bode-Museum and the Vorderasiatisches Museum

In the YouTube series Allein im Museum (Alone at the Museum) directors present highlights and their personal favourite from their collections in exclusive guided tours lasting approximately half an hour each. The series is now being expanded with two new guided tours:

  • Julien Chapuis, head of the Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, guides viewers to medieval icons and personal favourites in the Bode-Museum, all of which depict themes of hope – including Tilman Riemenschneider’s Saint George Fighting the Dragon (c. 1490), Michel Erhart’s Mary with the Protective Cloak (c. 1480) and Nikolaus Gerhaert von Leyden’s The Dangolsheim Madonna (c. 1460–65).
  • Barbara Helwing, the director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum, presents highlights from the Pergamonmuseum such as the Ishtar Gate and the Processional Street of Babylon, as well as lesser-known talismans and objects believed to ward off disease dating from the 7th and 8th centuries BC – including a bell for invoking magic, a small statue of a man in a fish garment, and an amulet to protect against the female demon Lamashtu.

Also available on the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin YouTube channel are guided tours with Stefan Weber, director of the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum for Islamic Art), and Bernhard Weisser, director of the Münzkabinett (Numismatic Collection). The series will be continued with contributions from Martin Maischberger, head of the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities), and Matthias Wemhoff, director of the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Museum of Prehistory and Early History).

#CollectingCorona at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen

The Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK, Museum of European Cultures) is putting out the call #CollectingCorona and asks to share their personal impressions about how the coronavirus pandemic is currently affecting the daily lives of everyone in Europe.

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.