The German Scene

Robert Sievert

Thomas Tuchel: "Painted Planet"

Andreas Schiller: "Lemons"

Hannah Stütz-Mentzel: "War"

Patricia Waller: Needleworks

William Engelen

Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart: Komposition Nr. 75 (1933)

The Telelphos Frieze (detail) (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)

View of the Pergamon Museum and Spree River

A gallery along the Augusttrasse

Back yard of artists' building, Oranienbergstrasse

Side wall mural of artists' building, 72 Oranienbergstrasse

Building on Orienbergstrasse

Painted doorway, Mitte


Installation at Gallerie Dreschler, Berlin (artist: Patricia Waller)

February 23, 1999

One morning in November I was driving to work when I heard this report on "Morning Edition" about the Berlin Art World. The reporter interviewed artists and museum people who gave a kaleidoscopic account of what was going on. When asked if Berlin was a hot new European Art Capital, one artist said.."nothing in Europe is hot, but you might say that Berlin is about the warmest thing going"" I was inspired to make a visit. I would use my double edge sword of being both an artist and a writer to insinuate myself into the situation.

I began visiting as many art venues on line that I could and wrote to a number of galleries. By the time I was ready to go I had a list.

On the way over the Atlantic I caught up on my reading. I took with me several New Yorkers that I had intended to finish. One of them contained a review of the Fairie Painting Show at the Frick. Schjeldahl said some interesting things in this review, among them was that the Avante Garde was dead. This rumor has been traveling about for awhile I myself am too eclectic to make such a generalized statement But his assertion was very helpful to me as I confronted the German Art World in Berlin and tried to make an assessment.

I was on my way to Berlin to see in person what was happening. New Galleries were opening, a new scene in the Mitte, a Bohemian section of the city that recalled the Village or Soho in their heyday.

My hotel/pension was on Friedrichstrasse which turned out to be central to the Mitt