I’m generally used to attending openings where the majority of artists exhibited were either born after 1960 or at least still alive. It’s rare for me to go to a gallery and feel like I entered a museum because the artists shown were the same ones I studied in college. Especially in a city like Berlin, where young artists go to find a fresh audience, I’m always expecting to see the casually-dressed, hip twenty-something gallerist in skinny jeans and a neck-tie schmoozing with collectors three times his age. Hence when I saw that some classics of German modernism like Gotthard Graubner and Dieter Krieg were exhibiting with Donald Judd at a Kunstaele Berlin in Schöneberg, I had to stop by.
The crowd at Kunstaele Berlin was a mix of what I had expected. The range of ages started with the early twenties and easily crept towards visitors in their late seventies. There wasn’t, however, an age limit on the level of enthusiasm for the art lovers here. The old and young were merrily sharing drinks with each other and exchanging jokes like in some sort of ageless utopia. Back lit by Sandra Peter’s curved, white fluorescent tubes, the crowd shifted between artworks that ranged from hyper minimalist works to extremely complex tree formations.
Gustav Dusing (L) & Charlotte Wiedemann (R) representing the young at “Auch Heute.” Photo: C. Phillips
The star of the show, however, had one of the most humble pieces. Hung in a shadow-box frame and protected by pristine glass was a red print accompanied with seven white horizontal stripes in its center. This piece was by minimalist great Donald Judd, whose work I admired and studied while at university. I was used to his large wall pieces of boxes lined up vertically; however this subtle print was nice albeit disappointing. Perhaps museums and art textbooks spoiled me and inevitably raised my expectations for experiencing Judd’s work in person.
Old Guard & The Rookes
What was apparent in the exhibition was how the curator was trying to make a connection between these old guards of minimalism and younger artists working in a similar matter. Youthful creatives like Johanna Jaeger and Felix Kiessling were standing side by side with some of the greats that undoubtedly informed their practices. It’s not very common that artists at their level are directly related to titans like Judd in a show with the exception of a clever art historical comparison in the press release. This type of literal juxtaposition is something that I’ve always liked to stumble upon, and yearn to see more of. What’s so taboo about bringing in the old guard to frame the rookies?
- Kunstsaele Berlin – “Auch Heute” Group Exhibition – Wednesday-Saturday: 11am-6pm [Works not for sale]