Friday, April 30, 2010

Who is Joseph Beuys? Berlin Brain Expansion

You walk into the Flick collection at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin and you are see these two pictures first.  The dark one caught my attention.  These are both by Andy Warhol. 

 So I took a closer image.  The colors are all wrong, but you get a sense of it.  It's of someone named Josephy Boueys .  

In the other wing there is a mind stretching exhibit and one of the artists is Joseph Beuys.  My understanding was that he made this video (below).  But is he also the person in the video.  Are the two pictures of the same man?  I'd say yes, but I wouldn't put big money on it. 

There's more of his stuff.  This is Strassenbahn (streetcar). 


More Strassenbahn.

More Beuys work.

And more.

By now you are wondering about my sanity.  But those of you who come here regularly do so because you know I'm going to put up stuff that is totally out there.  I don't understand this stuff.  I'm embarrassed to say I never even heard of Beuys.  But I live in Alaska so I have some sort of excuse.  But this all got to me.  I need more time to digest it.  

I probably should have bought the book, but we're trying to pack light.  At the very least go to the link and read a bit more.  We're in London now and I want to go out and see London, so ciao.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reichstag and Other Berlin Shots

Today was a great day at the Hamburger Banhof Museum and wandering around with M and J.  But those pics aren't coming off the sd card right now.  So here the ones I didn't get to put up Tuesday. 
 This is the Berliner Dom.  An old Cathedral on the Museum Island.

This is a memorial for the legislators who voted against Hitler and were killed for it.  Each stone has the name, party, and camp where they were killed. 

This is the Reichstag - the seat of the German Government.

The sky there was worth a shot.

The Dome at the Reichstag allows you to walk around the perimeter to get better and better views of Berlin.

Here's the skyline to the west as the sun sets.

We have an early flight to London tomorrow, so that's it for now. 

Berlin Spring, Superman Splats at Jewish Museum

Here are some pictures from the other day in Berlin.  The ones I couldn't post then.

View from upstairs of C's backyard.  C's out of town and we stayed at her place.  I first met her in 1964 when she was ten and I was a 19 year old student in Germany for a year.  Her mother was my step-father's cousin married to a gentile.  Both she and her mother, as I understand the story were able to avoid deportation because they were doing work needed during the war. 

I was told by a usually reliable source that these beetles are an invasive species.  This one is about an 3/4 inch long.

Not sure what these and some of the other flowers are.  Just that they were in C's backyard.

J is enjoying the sun with a book in C's backyard.


This was labeled a spinach/cheese Pide.  Here's the store below.

This restaurant is down the street aways from Checkpoint Charlie.

[UPDATE July 2, 2012:  I finally found my old (1964) Checkpoint Charlie photos.  You can see them here.]

And the Berlin Jewish Museum.

This was in front of the Jewish Museum.
[Update June 22:  I didn't take the time to look this up while traveling.  Here's the beginning of a Deutsche Welle article on this sculpture which was part of an exhibit on the Jewish origins of American superheroes:
On their way into the Jewish Museum, visitors these days will find themselves passing a sculpture entitled "Even Superheroes Have Bad Days." Superman appears to have crash-landed headfirst into the pavement. He might have ended up on a Berlin street, but where did Superman come from? It's a question the exhibition inside the museum sets out to answer.  (The rest is here.)]

Enjoying the warm weather at Victoria Park.

Enjoying the warm weather on Bergmanstrasse (I think.)

Pictures Via Generous Neighbor - Egyptian Art in Berlin

Harpboy made a perfectly good suggestion about using my hosts wifi connection directly to my computer, but it is a very old machine and I was afraid of messing it up for her and decided new disciplines are often mentally healthy.  But due to a generous neighbor who hasn't put a password on his wifi, I can give you some pictures.  (I'm sitting in the backyard again and fortunately, there is a plastic overhang because the neighbor is having his tile roof redone and bits and pieces are coming down.)

Museum Insel (Island) is four or five museums on an island of the Spree River in the middle of central Berlin, in what was East Berlin.  I didn't do my homework well enough, nor does my faulty brain remember all I was told, but some of the museums or parts of all of them were badly damaged during WWII.  These are the columns as you walk to the Neues (New) Museum.  It's new in the sense that it has been newly reconstructed and the old collections newly reunited.  It covers prehistory and then Egyptian and Greek works particularly.

As we walked along the columns I took this picture of the what I think is the Altes (old) Museum that has paintings and sculptures from more modern times.

We wanted to see, given the short time we had - we bought combined tickets that let you into all the museums for 14 Euros ($18) - the Egyptian exhibit and the building itself with its combination of the old original building and Chipperfield's design for the old parts.  So that's what you mostly get to see here.  No, I don't know what it says.

This statute was about 12 feet tall.  It's King Amenemhat III.

This is the Family Group Ptahmai.  Father, wife, and two daughters.
It was labeled 1840-1800 BC.  When I see things like this I am reminded that our modern inclination to believe that we are smarter and more developed than the people of the past is ridiculous.  While we do know what has happened in terms of what our culture says is history since then, as individuals we live lives with the same abilities to think, to create, to worry about how we look, about whether we have enough money, etc.  These people in the statue and the artist who created the statue could probably show up in Berlin and after the initial shocks of time travel, would probably fit in and understand our world. 

The Nefertiti bust - my key interest in this museum - is in the room at the end of this one.  Photos were not allowed.  But someone on Flicker has posted some and others of this museum that are much better than mine.  So you can see a lot more.

This Greek God, who I think was found in Egypt, stands at the other end of the hall and can see Nefertiti.

But this robed Goddess - like the God, about 12 feet tall - is standing next to him and probably does not approve of his view.

I thought this jewelery looked like things people do today.  It said 7th Century.

These are some mummy masks.  I thought this face and hair could be walking the streets of Berlin and not many would notice that she wasn't from now.

OK, enough for now.  I'll try to get some more up, but we want to go see some more things on our last day before heading for London.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Tried, But Still No Pictures

I'm going to have to learn how to just write.  I tried using a a flash drive that was here and the whole computer got sick and had to be rebooted.  So pictures will have to wait until I can use my own computer.  I'm learning where the ' is and the z and y are, but still mix them a bit.

Beautiful day today, so we spent a lot of time just in the backyard enjozing the sunshine and birds and flowers.  We also did laundry and hung it out to dry.  In the late afternoon we took the subway to the area that houses the old Checkpoint Charlie and the new Jewish Museum.  I know that I went through Checkpoint Charlie in 1964 to go into East Berlin.  It was a verz eerie feeling, like going into no-man's land.  But today there is a little box in the middle of the street with sandbags in front and some copies of old signs (good writers shouldn't need pictures, right?  I should be writing so lushly that you can imagine it all) and a cute young German in a soldier uniform mugging with the tourists for 1 Euro per picture.  Traffic drives by on both sides.

Several blocks away is the starkly built Jewish Museum.  When we were here last in 2001 it wasn't open yet.  It's silvery with gashes for windows and it's built like a trainwreck, with cars connected but pointing in different directions. It's is one piece, but makes jagged angled turns.   There are police out in front and no cars are allowed to stop near the building.  We didn't think we had enough time to do justice to the exhibits so we looked through the bookstore.  I'm not completely sure I want to see it.  But it isn't a holocaust museum, if I understand it right, it's a museum about the Jews of Germany and their contributions and experiences.  So it does include WW II.   There were lots of folks there.  We grabbed another subway for two stops to find a waterfall that was in the guidebook in a nearby park.  We stumbled into a big park - Victoria Park - with a huge football field, beer garden, playground, and a hill.  I'm still trying to figure out whether it was natural or man made since Berlin is so flat.  The light was beautiful and many people were sitting on the grass enjoying the warm weather.  Picture looking down the slope of green grass with lots of young bodies sprawled out in groups with trees surrounding the opening and etherial light on the edges.  It's in my camera and you'll recognize it when I finally get to post the pictures.

The waterfall wasn't as nice as the picture in the book, but it was nice going through the park.  We came out on Kreutzberg which turns into Bergmannstrasse (sorry, I was trying to find the double s symbol and somehow it posted and I'm not done yet.  I'll leave this up but keep writing.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Great Pictures, But Zou Can't See Them

We went to Museum Island in central Berlin todaz.  But we also moved to staz in the emptz house of a friend who is out of town.  Her son did the sound for the first movie we saw on Saturdaz.  I'im using her computer which is connected to the internet and she doesnät have wifi.  It's a German kezboard and the z and y are switched and there are some other little differences.  But worst of all, it can't read mz usb thumb drive.  I will trz another one.

The museums were incredible, though one is also aware that the Egzptians and Greeks would like to have their stuff back.  Another interesting quirck is that the Neues Museum - it's an old museum but was bombed in WW II and never restored until after unification - was restored bz David Chipperfield, who is, if I recall correctlz, the architect who did the addition to the Anchorage Museum.  Let's just saz Berlin got a much better deal than Anchorage did.  He did a spectacular job of adding new structure which does not detract from the old structure.

I kez attraction in the museum is the bust of Nerfertiti.  And that zou are not allowed to photograph anzwaz.  But there has alwazs been a small (4 inches mazbe) flat brass head of Nerfertiti in the house where I grew up.  So I have to check with mz mom to see if she had  come to Berlin to see the original.  It is reallz amaying.

Later we went to the Reichstag which has a new glass dome on top which zou can tour.  More great pictures zou can't see.  Zou have great views of Berlin.  This was free, though there was about a 30 mniute line.  Someone came up to us and said that since J had a cane, we didn't need to wait and pointed to another entrance.  So there are some advantages to J having broken a bone in her foot.

But thez also have free headsets (as do the museums) and so as zou wind around the ramp to the top it tells zou what zou are seeing in the distance.  The skz was cloudz to the west and the skz bright orange.  Then the ball of the sun appeared on the horiyon.  All verz spectacular.

We stopped in a Thai restaurant at the YooBahnhof - it was much easier ordering in Thai than in German.  The person taking our order agreed.

We'll see if we can get the pictures up tomorrow.

[Update:  Now you can see the museum pictures and the Reichstag pictures.]

Monday, April 26, 2010

Local Housing

We're staying in Southwest Berlin, a quiet suburb with trees and parks.  As I said yesterday, the housing complex we're staying in with my daughter was built as low income housing in the 1920s.  Today, the sky was grey and by afternoon it was raining.  But I walked M to her office in the morning and took pictures of the neighborhood on my way home. 

Americans often believe they have the highest standard of living.  These are, I'm sure, better than average homes, but neither is this Beverly Hills either. 

This is where M goes everyday to work on her dissertation and meet with other international fellows to discuss her work and theirs.

This is the old building next door.

Here's the mailman.  I wonder how much energy the US would save if the mail carriers using vehicles converted to bikes where it was feasible.

I tried to discuss Berlin fashion yesterday.  And there are people in some of the pictures in earlier posts.  I wouldn't say this woman was typical, neither would I say she was unusual.

And now starts some of the houses on my walk back.

Yesterday, a lot trees, like this one, finally had their leaves open.

This is a playground.

I'm not sure if this is apartments or condos.

I'm guessing this is a hooded crow, but there are lots of kinds of crows. There are also some very big pigeon like birds with rings around the neck and white bars on their wings.  Haven't been able to get a good picture yet.

This place had six different mailboxes.

This appears to be two separate dwellings.

And this is the park we walked across on the way.