Thursday, August 25, 2011

Am I an artist if...

I photograph other people's art??

Our lovely German instructor, Stefan Endres*, arranged for a tour of the Baden-Württemberg office in Berlin. In Germany, it's very common for public and private companies to support or sponsor contemporary artists (in stunning contrast to the U.S.) and the B-W government is no different. They have an in-house curator who collects art from B-W artists and displays it in their building. Here a few examples that were on display during our visit.

The Nefertiti bust below has a slightly different history from the rest of the works of art. The original Nefertiti bust was discovered during excavations in Egypt that were funded by James Simon, a rich Jewish textiler who lived in Berlin in the early 1900s. Simon was a philanthropist, annually donating one-third of his income to the "benefit of poor people" (i.e. building schools, hospitals, etc). He co-founded the German Oriental Society and it was one of their excavations, funded by Simon, that discovered the bust. Although Simon was well-known in his time for his generous work and his contributions to the study of history and art, he had been relatively forgotten in recent times. As a response, B-W created a memorial in his honor outside the building and set a copy of the Nefertiti bust in their library to remind everyone of the contributions Simon made.

*highly recommended for people trying to learn German in Berlin:

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