Monday, August 13, 2012

Germany Days 1 - 5


I’m in Germany right now.  It is my third time here and the most times that I have visited a country outside of the US.  The first time was right after I graduated high school and I went with my mom and dad and the boyfriend I had in high school.  We went to Frankfurt and towns on or near the Rhine Valley; they all seemed to have “Bad” somewhere in their name.  It was nice but also difficult since the older German ladies apparently disapproved of me and I was even more hyper sensitive than I am now. I remember lard butter, pigs, bombed castles, large blonde colored beers and good Italian food. 

I went next in 2010 to see an exhibition that an artist, who was represented by the gallery I worked for at that time, was having in Berlin.  He is deceased so I came in his stead.  It was my first time in Berlin and I went with an ex-boyfriend.  I loved Berlin almost immediately.  It was so cheap, the trains were so nice and everyone spoke English and no one was uptight when I spoke the only two words I know (Danke and Bitte) in poor German.  I met artists, went to cool bars, and everyone was young, beautiful, nice and smart.  I went to flea markets, to studio visits and tried to see as much art, sights and to eat as much food as possible even in the rain and cold.   After that trip I understood what all the fuss was about Berlin.  It was super cheap, super accessible and everyone was an artist in a good sort of way.  Things felt looser which was a bit hypnotic at first contact.

Now I am back, age 30, without a boyfriend in tow and it has been different in both good and not so good ways.  For this trip there is a theme and that theme is around Martin Kippenberger.  This trip is to be a quest for him, for the spirit of him in the haunts and in the air that is Deutschland.  This quest was set out with earnest but things are happening along the way that are bigger then intensions.  It is only about half way through, not even, so much more will come and much more will unravel, or maybe completely unravel for good, but one can not push time along to a resolution most or least desired.  I’m sure the project will manifest itself in someway, somehow in the end though.

Of the days that I have spent 1 has been in Frankfurt, 2 in Berlin and now I sit in Kassel to get decked in the head with all the art piled in this town for documenta13.

Frankfurt has amazing Jeff Koons shows up, one is of paintings and the other is of sculptures, I will go into detail on these shows at a later time.  They really took the roof off my mind and I need time and thought to do it justice.  Also there is Portikus, my new favorite art place where I want to have a job and live in.  Also Frankfurt has apple wine, it will leave you swimming in the morning. Oh and the vertical public art sculptures that are all over the city are really fascinating studies in the city’s sexual psychology.

Berlin is still full of the lovely art kids, really everyone is super nice, attractive and smart in an above average way.  There is a collegiate conviviality that seems like a mirage.  It is also a bit odd, all that suspension of time and space.  All that possibility and liassez-faire seems possibly contaminating.  I’m also an old fart so no one should pay attention to what I’m dithering on about.  Regardless, it is super packed and fun and lovely in Berlin art land.  My best experiences, as was the last time I was here, were the studio visits I was able to have.  The visits were with artists Oliver Laric, Jaako Pallasvuo and Lindsay Lawson.  Look them all up, they are all super.   The conversations and the art seen with/by each artist had me re-affirming that art is still the best thing ever, really truly, and that it makes me actually 'happy' in the big H sort of way.  Also another nice treat was the happenstance of going to a bar called Times which seemed destined in the stars before I ever knew of its existence.  It will be closing in September which feels like a shame but also brilliant.  It was opened, run and managed by three artists, including Lindsay Lawson, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff.  It is not very large but has a nice understated décor, no crushed red velveteen or tin ceilings here. It was full of art kids and also art insiders.  Everyone was cool but not “too” cool and a lot of people seemed like they were just arriving or just returning to Berlin.  It was chatty, smoky and didn’t have the off-putting vibes that some of New York’s scenes can radiate.  I also saw an old friend that I hadn’t seen in two years and who I hadn’t been in touch with for a long time.  It made me feel like the universe was giving me a giant high five.  It was a perfect way to end the mini visit to Berlin and although it will be razed to a memory the next time I probably make it to Berlin, drinks at Times will be one of the nice little dents that makes me want to keep coming back to this never-never land. 

I have only been in Kassel for half a day as I write this (Sunday) but I have already chunked my way into some of the main parts and it is very-very surprising in tone, intention and execution.  It is all just starting so a full update will come at a later date.

So all the above is not really saying all that much about Germany but once I land in the US of A and get a good connection to the internet (this trip has taught me mightily how I’m a first world slave to the internet), I will give juicy details of all that Germany has to offer in art, people, sights, experiences and other wonderful or not so wonderful things.  Till then Tous!