street fighting man

tiergarten.jpg out of town all last week i soon found myself yearning for the familiar chaos of the Hauptstadt. With luck i found myself in Frankfurt, where the Schirn Kunsthalle is currently hosting an exhibition entitled “The Conquest of the Street” which takes as it subject the urban development of Paris and Berlin through the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries and how it was reflected in the works of the two cities’ painters. While the organizers suggest that the cities’ divergent artistic sensibilities (Parisian Impressionism vs. the Expressionism of Berlin) was evidence of differing reactions to the modern metropolis, their explication in the exhibit is less than convincing. Nevertheless, with over 300 paintings, maps, photographs and posters the show is worth seeing if you have an interest in the cultural history of Berlin (or Paris). Among the Berlin painters the usual suspects are represented (Kirchner, Grosz) as well as some less well known a such as Moriz Melzer and Albert Birkle (whose painting of the Tiergarten S-Bahn Station in 1926 is at left). With the Tokyo-Berlin show at the New National Gallerie, it must be the summer of the city vs. art juxtaposition!

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