5 Berlin Exhibitions that Will Help You Brush Up on Your Art History

From Botticelli to Beuys, don't miss these shows this holiday season.

Max Beckmann Selbstbildnis Florenz (1907) (detail) Photo: Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
Sandro Botticelli Venus (1490) (detail) Photo: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Sandro Botticelli Venus (1490) (detail)
Photo: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

1. “The Botticelli Renaissance” at Gemäldegalerie
As one of the most celebrated artists of the Italian Renaissance, Sandro Botticelli is not only revered today as a leading Florentine painter, but also as the author of one of the earliest, most recognizable icons of pop culture. The Gemäldegalerie, Berlin and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum have combined forty of Botticelli’s works from their collections to examine the artist’s enduring influence on art, design, and fashion. Consequently, the exhibition also features 130 works by artists who were inspired by the Italian master, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, René Magritte, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Andy Warhol.

“The Botticelli Renaissance” runs from September 24, 2015 – January 24, 2016 at Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.

Max Beckmann Selbstbildnis Florenz (1907) (detail) Photo: Berlinische Galerie, Berlin

Max Beckmann Selbstbildnis Florenz (1907) (detail)
Photo: Berlinische Galerie, Berlin

2. “Max Beckmann and Berlin” at Berlinische Galerie
Marking the Berlinische Galerie’s fortieth anniversary, the exhibition “Max Beckmann and Berlin” brings together for the first time the artist’s works which have a close thematic relationship to the city that decisively shaped the German painter’s artistic output. Born in Leipzig, Beckman lived in Berlin in the years leading to World War I, from 1904 to 1914, and in the years before World War II, from 1933 to 1937. He left Germany in 1937 immediately after Hitler’s radio speech on “Degenerate Art,” a term that also included Beckmann’s work. In the exhibition, Beckmann’s paintings are accompanied by pieces by his contemporaries associated with the Berlin Secession, New Secession, and New Objectivity movements.

“Max Beckmann and Berlin” runs from November 20, 2015 – February 15, 2016 at Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.

William Kentridge Felix in Exile (1994) Photo: The artist and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

William Kentridge Felix in Exile (1994)
Photo: courtesy the artist and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

3. “Double Vision: Albrecht Dürer & William Kentridge” at Kulturforum
Focusing on prints by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) and William Kentridge (b. 1955), the exhibition explores the German Renaissance master’s influence on the contemporary artist’s work. A selection of 110 works demonstrate how Dürer’s bold and pioneering black-and-white prints shaped printing techniques throughout art history. Despite stemming from vastly different eras and cultures, the show demonstrates the thematic similarities existing in the two artists’ work. While Dürer explores politics, religion, and society in early Europe, Kentridge’s work takes a critical approach to modernity and culture.

“Double Vision: Albrecht Dürer & William Kentridge” runs from November 20, 2015 – March 6, 2016 at Kulturforum, Berlin.

Installation view of "Rodin, Rilke, Beuys" at Akim Monet Side by Side Gallery <br>Photo: courtesy Akim Monet

Installation view of “Rodin, Rilke, Beuys” at Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet
Photo: courtesy Akim Monet

4. “Rodin, Rilke, Beuys” at Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet GmbH
Art dealer Akim Monet has partnered with the Musée Rodin in Paris to exhibit 15 artworks by Auguste Rodin, including bronzes, rare drawings, and books, presented in a surprising juxtaposition with 16 works by Joseph Beuys. The artworks are accompanied by texts and quotes by Rainer Maria Rilke, whose 1908 publication New Poems: The Other Part was dedicated to Rodin. While the powerful artworks by these giants could easily overwhelm when shown side by side, it is the smaller gestures the viewer finds in the drawings and sketch books that reveal the convergences in their works. But hurry! The show ends soon.

“Rodin, Rilke, Beuys” run at Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet GmbH until December 12, 2015.

Kazimir Malevich Black Square (1915) Photo: Mich Theiner via The Independent

Kazimir Malevich Black Square (1915)
Photo: Mich Theiner via The Independent

5. Celebrating 100 Years of the Black Square at Berlinische Galerie
To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Kazimir Malevich’s seminal Black Square (1915), the Berlinische Galerie is hosting an event exploring the art historical significance of the groundbreaking avant-garde masterpiece. Marking the occasion, the institution will show Mikael Mikael’s Roadmap to Utopia (2015), a drawing based on the artist’s theory that Malevich’s work represents a guide to reaching utopia. Alongside Mikael’s artwork the event also includes a presentation of Blackout, a book published by the artist, and a musical performance of sonatas by Russian composer Alexander Skrjabin. Focusing on the influence of a work so central to 20th century avant-garde art movements could help take away some of the painful disappointment after an X-ray analysis recently revealed a racist joke underneath the iconic black square.

“Celebrating 100 Years of the Black Square” takes place on December 19, 2015 from 12:00 at Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.


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