Archive for Germany

Art Trekking: Top Contemporary Art Destinations Overseas

[This article was originally published on Huffington Post]

Rome has exquisite Renaissance artwork. Paris has the Musée d’Orsay. But where should art trekkers obsessed with street art, new contemporary art movements, and cool gallery scenes go when journeying overseas?

Here is a short list of a few cities overseas that are making waves with international art aficionados, or about to.

As with any list, there’s always room for more. I welcome readers’ tips and suggestions on edgy new art galleries, districts and movements throughout the globe.

Seoul
Seoul National Museum Korea
Korean contemporary art got a boon internationally in 2009 and 2010 with exhibits from LA to London and beyond.

In the latter, the Saatchi Gallery’s “Korean Eye: Moon Generation” show was so popular that it went on the road, from Singapore to Seoul in late 2010. It featured fantastic work by Bae Joon Sung and Kim Hyunsoo.

If you plan on visiting Seoul, stop by the gallery-dotted neighborhood of Samchong-dong, and discover tomorrow’s popular new artists for yourself.

London

Banksy Street Art in London England

As gentrified as London’s East End may be to die-hard hipsters, it’s still a great place to check out some better known artists in galleries like White Cube andWhitechapel.

It’s also the playground of street artists. In the latter category, an art trek to London isn’t complete without a visit to the Lazarides Gallery in SoHo (as in Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s right hand man) and The Outsiders–another Laz production in Soho as well.

Mumbai

Colaba Arts District in Mumbai India

There has been some really exciting art from Indian creators filtering into LA and New York in recent years–particularly work by women artists. This includes pieces by video artists like Anita Dube and mixed media artist Mithu Sen.

If you’re visiting Mumbai, you’ll want to check out the National Gallery of Modern Art. And don’t forgot to wander through the streets of Colaba, a hub for classic and contemporary art galleries like The Guild.

Beijing

Beijing 798 Art Space China
China’s explosion of contemporary art (much of it pop and cynical realism) a few years ago, ushered in loads of artiste imposters. Rumor had it that Chinese students were applying to art schools in droves with the intention of making money.

The initial frenzy may have died down but there is still some incredible new art to be found in Beijing–from private ateliers, to Art Scene Beijing, ShangART Gallery and MK2 Art Space. If you can’t make it out to Beijing, much of the art filters through Shanghai (see ShanghART’s gallery there too) and Hong Kong (galleries in the SoHo district).

Berlin
Kreuzberg Art Neighborhood in Berlin Germany
Berlin is a must-stop on any art trip. And if you happen to drop by in 2012, you just might catch the Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art–which has been running since the late ’90s.

If it’s graffiti and street art you’re after, Kreuzberg is your neighborhood. It’s not all great art, mind you. But if you’re up for the adventure, wandering the streets in Berlin’s former squat neighborhood can be an energizing and edgy experience.

Amsterdam

Art in Amsterdam Holland The Netherlands

The Dutch are pretty much synonymous with painting, at least on a historical level, via their Masters. There is plenty of classical art to see in Amsterdam by the Museumplein (home to the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum).

But Amsterdam’s contemporary mixed media work (video, installations, etc.) is the real draw for serious contemporary art travelers. The Stedelijk Bureau (a small contemporary project annex of the Stedelijk Museum), and the SMART Projects Space showcase such creations.

Moscow
Art in Moscow Russia

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is an essential stop if you’re scouting art on your travels. But if you’re looking for top ‘name-brand’ galleries alongside edgy up-and-comers, look no further than theWinzavod Moscow Centre for Contemporary Art.

This industrialized art space/former winery is home to leading galleries like XL and M & J Guelman and new galleries like Meglinskaya which carries the work of Russian nonconformist and documentary photographers.

More in Culture Cache:

 

Tactile 3D World City Maps By Artist Matthew Picton

Dresden 3D Map

Dresden, Germany

Thanks to my map obsession and a tip-off from fellow map enthusiast and Arbuturian co-founder Toby White, I have been induced to continue my exploration of such topographical art and artifacts via a special Maps category.

The latest entry in said section is the work of London born, Oregon based artist Matthew Picton (up at Summaria Lunn in Mayfair from March 3rdthrough April 6th). The creator basically makes 3-dimensional cartographic sculptures from cut paper.

Personally I’ve been feeling the tremblings of a sculpture or objets zeitgeist. We’re all online too often, making the three-dimensional world and its manifestations all the more exotic and appealing. Sculpture sometimes makes you want to reach out and touch, grab, and interact with it (at its best). Unfortunately, I’ve seen children do this in places like the depressing Tate Modern—with no guard in sight (or no guard clueful enough) to stop them from tampering with the art.

But I digress. Picton’s very physically present mapwork spans the globe, covering Mexico City, London, Dublin, Lower Manhattan, Tehran, Dresden, Washington, D.C., Florence and Hiroshima.

Private Clubs: What’s a Fickle Socialiser to Do?

SoHo House Berlin

For a long time, the idea of joining a private club didn’t make sense to me. Being a bit ADD in my cultural fixations, I couldn’t imagine paying dues at one establishment which would then become my default social arena.

In LA, I visited the Jonathan Club which is lovely in the summer for its perfect positioning alongside the Pacific Ocean but ultimately more of a families-with-kids place (that’s Hell on a hangover on most weekends).

During the last months of my time in Amsterdam I met some colleagues at Baby, a fabulously stylish club on the Keizersgracht canal that was geared towards creatives (and tied to an uber-hip magazine of the same name). Sadly I departed soon after and so did Baby which has long since closed its doors.

In London, clubs are a big, big thing, and you can’t throw a stone without hitting one. Everything from the super-stuffy ones in Mayfair to Paul Allen and Dave Stewart’s ultra-casual, jeans-sporting Valhalla: The Hospital Club.

Initially, the most appealing of the lot to me was Home House. West End-centrally located in Marble Arch, it is housed in a gorgeous 18th century building and the plus (for an Angeleno) is that it has a gym–included in membership. The scene is perfect there too–not too grubby and casual but not too stick-up-the-bum.

I discovered, however, that they charge a trumped-up membership initiation fee of £1800 which I’m guessing is non-refundable. Beyond the fact that it’s the highest initiation fee of any club around here (according to some club survey sites), it’s even more of a killer if you’re a fickle frolicker and want to join a club for a year and then join another the following year.

SoHo House in Manhattan

Ultimately, the tried and true (for media types) SoHo House may well offer the most varied memberships–the ones to all of its properties: London (including SoHo, Notting Hill, Chiswick, Shoreditch and Somerset), Berlin, New York, West Hollywood and Miami. It doesn’t look like any of the London branches have gyms but there is a pool at Shoreditch House.

Besides, if you’re a constant traveller who likes style and taste, and you’re a tad lazy (ahem), there’s probably nothing better.

SoHo House Somerset England

Proust Questionnaire: Munich

By Tina Tzeise, Director eCommerce | Münich

Munich Travel Info From Locals and Expats

What is your idea of a perfectly happy day in your city?

On a sunny day, catching a boat in the English Garden, having food in one of the beer gardens in the park, watching the people and strolling around in the close student area in Schwabing with the crowded streets, small shops, cafés and ice cream parlours.

On a rainy day, discovering the interactive Museum Mensch und Natur (humans and nature museum)  in Nymphenburg Castle and afterwards visiting the green houses of the botanical garden next to it.

Knowing your city and its citizens, what is your greatest fear?

That something horrifying is going to happen at Oktoberfest again, like the assassination in 1980, where a bomb attack killed and injured many innocent people.

Which historical figure would do best in your city?

Louis XIV.

Which do you admire most about your city (something from recent years)?

Besides our green oasis the English Garden in the middle of the center, the geographical location. Having beautiful lakes around, being so close to the Alps and reaching Italy within 3 hours by car gives you the opportunity to escape to total different scenes within a short time.

Which is the trait you deplore most about your city?

Traffic … and the never ending construction sites that worsen the already mad traffic constantly. Getting around in a parking lot is no fun, too.

What is the negative trait that others falsely accuse your city of having?

That it is too old-fashioned. Ok, we are not Berlin…

What is the greatest extravagance one can experience in your city?

At many places and of course in beer gardens you can dive into the real Bavarian feeling all day long with traditional food, music, clothing and of course beer. And maybe some steps away you can watch surfers and nudists in the park.

What is a positive trait your city is known for that is actually false?

Munich is often said to be a cosmopolitan city with a heart. Actually it is not easy to become friends with local in-crowds or get into the most desirable clubs. For foreigners it could be quite exhausting to enter Munich circles.

What do you dislike most about the architecture, city layout and general appearance of your city?

In the ’60s and ’70s they built many unbelievably gross buildings next to historic spots and therefore ruined the bigger view. So do not move your eyes much, focus on specific sites, enjoy what you see straight away and take a close-up view.

When was your city’s hey-day?

The nightlife hey-day was definitely in the ’80s when everything was possible, regulations very liberal and Munich the place to be for stars and stories. For living, I guess it’s now. Everybody wants to move here and enjoy the clean, safe and posh environment where you can show what you have without obtaining negative attitudes.

If you could change one thing about your city what would it be?

Liberalize the opening hours. No chance to get anything after 7-8pm or on Sundays.

What do outsiders (or transplants and long-time visitors) to your city generally answer to the last question?

Bring the airport back to the city. In the ’90s they closed the old one and opened the new in the middle of nowhere and definitely too far away from the city.

What do you consider your city’s greatest achievement?

The daily experience of the symbiosis of settled traditional elements and a fast-moving tech-affine environment. A perfect combination of feeling at home without feeling too backward–a notorious Bavarian attitude.

If your city was destroyed and one day its ruins discovered, what do you think they would find and/or learn about it?

Massive amounts of steins (beer mugs) -> Must have been a very thirsty society.

What is your city’s greatest artistic or architectural acquisition?

Oktoberfest.

More Proust Questionnaires:
Amsterdam
Beirut

Germany: The V.I.P Side of Frankfurt International Airport

Lufthansa First Class Lounge at Frankfurt Airport

VIP-land–it’s a world not oft seen by most passers-through in Frankfurt International Airport. I was privy to an insider look on my recent trip for Lufthansa’s A380 inaugural flight from Frankfurt to New York.

First stop was the so-called ‘Davinci Haus.’ Owned by Fraport AG, this private residential style structure overlooks the runways of the Frankfurt Airport (and what a sight that is to behold from such a unique vantage-point). The transparent ‘house’ is used as a sort of VIP center where airport officials entertain guests–usually  political and cultural figures, in this instance, myself and select members of the international press and tourism industry. We dined there on the night before the inaugural along with the airport president.

Next stop, for a night cap (have loved that word since its pop cultural inception on The Love Boat), Lufthansa’s famous First Class Terminal and Lounge. It was just three weeks prior to my visit here that I had written a blog post on the top first class lounges in the world (including Lufthansa’s)…and voila…as a (wo)man thinketh…

This lounge’s decor–modernist, minimal and hip–reminded me of the boutique hotel style of the ’90s. Stylistically, the lounge and its separate restaurant felt like a swank hot spot in LA or New York–not your usual early 80s inspired airport lounge vibe (or at least nothing like the standard Business Class lounges I’ve frequented in the past).

The Lufthansa First Class Lounge boasts a cigar smokers’ room, and two day rooms with leather sleepers ideal for long waits (or sessions with your shrink judging by the look of them).

All manner of cocktails were made available to us (always impressive when you consider that Europe is generally not known for accommodating the cocktails so popular in the States and outside its shores–Cosmos, Mojitos and the like). And one Scotch Whiskey fan in our group almost passed out from excitement upon seeing the display of bottles below.

Oh, and a couple more little stylish and hip touches impressed me. A copy of the ginormous Taschen Muhammad Ali collectors book was displayed in the lounge–très cool! Also, they had a nice old-fashioned guest ledger like they still have in lobbies of some boutique hotels and country inns. So naturally, I made my mark in the book with warm wishes directed at future jet-setters.