I’m starting to work on my New Year’s resolutions / vision for 2012 – call it as you may -, and I sadly must admit that doin’ more cultural stuff makes the list. Particularly museums. There were two things I thought I would be doing plenty of in Berlin, that I actually am not: visiting museums and partying. I have to say that staying up until sunshine (or maybe even noon) every weekend and smelling as if I were rolled in an ashtray like fish fingers in breadcrumbs aren’t top priorities, so I’m actually perfectly fine with the couch-potato-stay-in-romantic evenings we tend to go for. But seriously, museums? Berlin has over 170 of them and I’m embarrassed to say how few we’ve visited during the last (almost) 9 months. I do tend to go to galleries, and keep up with new openings and what have you, but I have somehow put the hardcore stuff on hold. Maybe it’s a phenomenon worth studying: why you take for granted and even neglect the historical and cultural side of a city once you live there. Maybe it’s just me, but I have seen more on a weekend in some cities than these first months in Berlin. Fortunately, we do have some good friends who come and visit every now and then, and what better excuse can we have to go cultural for a day. So Sunday was Neue Nationalgalerie‘s turn and can I just say: wow. OK, yes, I do have a soft spot for 20th century art, but there’s more to it.
Having studied this stuff, I tend to have an annoyingly critical eye regarding the actual display of the works of art, and this time I was blown away. Apart from a little (can I say ridiculous?) rope in front of the Rothko, I felt as if there were no barriers between myself and the works.
In fact, on the only down side, if you barely touch a wall, a loud warning sound (wouldn’t call it an alarm, but yeah, an alarm) is set off. If you put this noise in the background (someone is bound to set the thing off every 10 min – literally), you can enjoy the art without barriers. You can walk around most pieces – all sculptures and even some paintings, which is very liberating if you think of many museums that have the works hidden behind light reflecting glass.
I usually hate a lack of structure to the museum visit too, but in this case – maybe because each section was clearly and carefully described – I didn’t feel it as an issue whatsoever. The permanent exhibition is definitely worth the 8 euro ticket, and the museum’s building is a masterpiece in itself. If you’re in Berlin, or will be, 2012 is the year to visit the Neue Nationalgalerie. Just make sure you give yourself enough time (I’d suggest at least 2 and a half hours for the permanent collection and more if you’re also checking out the temporary exhibition), because when they say they close at 18.00, it means they close at 18.00.
More information about the Neue Nationalgalerie here.