photo: Nika Kramer.
Last Autumn, the incredible Urban Nation museum for contemporary urban and street art has given us one of the most memorable exhibitions with their own Biennale. Using the empty space underneath the subway train viaduct right in front of their main building they installed a walk-through immersive installation featuring countless urban artists from around the world. The main museum building was a sight not to be missed as well, as huge tentacles were sticking out of the windows as if the museum had been invaded by a giant octopus.
It’s incredibly sad what is currently taking over the building: nothing. Because of the pandemic, it had to close much like any other big gallery, museum and cultural space until an unknown point in the future. The current exhibition is excellent and features works from iconic artists such as D*FACE, Nychos, Martin Whatson, Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Vhils, and THE LONDON POLICE. If you haven’t seen it yet, now there is a new way to experience the museum. Following the lead of several other art spaces, Urban Nation has now released a virtual tour, and it’s actually a guided one with hosted by art dealer Markus Georg.
As one of the newest museums in the city and with a focus on such a young and developing genre the team of Urban Nation, Berlin’s first permanent museum for contemporary urban art and street art, have a lot of explaining and educating to do. While urban and street art is still fighting for recognition in the otherwise quite elitist world of contemporary art the wide audience of the art enthusiasts and art-curious have long embraced it – especially because this particular genre of art is so open and accessible on various levels.
With their artist in residence program, Urban Nation is continuing on that path of making art, the artist and the artistic progress accessible to everyone who is interested – no matter if they are an art collector or curious grandmother. Embracing the fact that the house the museum was constructed in used to be a regular residential building, part of it is still occupied by apartments that function as living studios for the artists participating in the residencies. Right now the first batch of artists has finished their time and open their apartments for the public to see the results of their work. What you step into is not just a regular apartment or artist studio, they are like little art installations almost as if you were to step into the mind of the artist. It’s a great way to understand more about the creation process and the personal aspects of the works. If you are lucky that the artists are there at the moment of your visit you will also get to chat with them about their motivations, techniques and artistic visions.
After a year of suspension and anticipation it’s finally the time: Germany’s first street art and urban art museum Urban Nation is celebrating its big opening this coming Saturday (September 16th 2017, at 19h) and we had the chance to take a sneak peek and snap some pictures in advance!
Urban Nation has a really compelling history here in Berlin. Founder Yasha Young started the project in 2013 by organizing exhibitions on the many empty facades of Berlin’s building. We owe many of Berlin’s cool street art murals to her. Before that she used to run an urban art gallery in Berlin and New York, but the few walls of a gallery space were simply not big enough for what she envisioned. With Urban Nation of course there was a masterplan behind it. Funded by the Berliner Leben foundation and designed by prestigious architecture bureau Graft she created the first museum for street art and urban art in Germany – right in the heart of Schöneberg. Thanks to the ever changing murals in the neighborhood the whole area around Bülowstraße has now been transformed into a hot spot for urban art. Whole building facades are covered with artworks there which is quite the contrast to the many grey residential buildings in Berlin.
Urban Nation aims to become not only an exhibition space for artists who used to present their work on the streets, but also an archive for urban art like it never existed before anywhere. It’s an exciting edition to the art and museum scene of Berlin and we are excited to see what the future holds for this place.
Recently we kicked off a new series of interviews about the movers and shakers of Berlin inspired by the Shape Your City campaign by Heineken, a competition for city shapers in the making who aspire to help create a bar built on the basis of their personal concept. In the first part we introduced you to party and festival organizer PANSY who spoke with us about the changes and prospects of Berlin’s nightlife.
For the second edition we want to venture from the nightlife into the daylight and bring up one of our favorite topics on the blog: Street art. Berlin is full of it and cherished for it. Especially in the last couple of years so many new incredible works have been added to the walls of Berlin making it huge open air gallery for contemporary art. What many people might not even know is that a big part of the new murals in Berlin were organized by Berlin-based contemporary art platform Urban Nation. We spoke with director and curator Yasha Young about the development of this project and their plans to open the world’s first big street art museum.
Dabs Myla, Shoot The Moon
This Saturday, Berlin Schöneberg’s Bülowstraße will see a very exclusive group of international and local urban artists unpacking their stencils, cans, tapes, brushes, glue, cutter, foil, paperboard and so on, to utilize the shop windows and facade of a building that is currently mostly unoccupied. This is “Project M/“, a temporary art project that has the goal and objective to improve the neighborhood, to push creativity and to connect artists and communities. Urban Nation with director Yasha Young is the creative force behind this exciting art project.
For the installation this Saturday she joined forces with L.A.-based Thinkspace Gallery and together they came up with an amazing roster of artists from around the globe: Alexis Diaz (La Pandilla) from Puerto Rico, stencil artist C215 from France, Nosego from the US, the Aussies of Dabs Myla, the Berlin-based Low Bros and many more will be part of the project. Once the artists are finished with their work on the evening of May 17, a large, colorful Open-Air Gallery will be realized, on view for all passers-by until the next round of Project M/. And as if that’s not enough the Urban Nation office just across the street opens with a huge pop-up show named LAX/TXL on Saturday, too. More info about that one after the jump.
mural by Rone, photos by Henrik Haven
Have you been to Schöneberg lately? It’s more than just a rumor that good old West-Berlin is striking back against the hipster areas of Mitte & Co. While at parts of Potsdamer Straße some cooler things are already happening, the area of Bülowstraße, connecting Potsdamer Straße and Nollendorfplatz, still looks quite uninviting. Until now! Just a little while ago our team of Urban Nation settled at Bülowstraße 97 to bring color, life and art, art, art to the Kiez and all of Berlin!
Urban Nation, that is a brand new institution relating to the growing, colorful and international movement bundled up in the description of Urban Contemporary Art. Our first activity is named Project M/ and it has been realized three times already with some amazing artists. It is the baby and brainchild of our Direktor Yasha Young, who is inviting and connecting artists and curators from around the world. As a result, a group of international and Berlin-based artists comes together to change the facade and utilize the 10 large shop windows of a building just across the street of the Urban Nation headquarter. How that works and what it looks like you can see in photos and a small film just after the jump.
The combination of wood and metal makes your heart race, you wish that steam punk had actually been a time period and “vintage” truly is your second forename? Let us hook you up with the Mekka of industrial furniture at the one and only “Urban Industrial”, the holy hall for everything antique, unique and extremely stylish.
The brand was born out of founder Jakob Wagner’s strong passion and unmistakable talent for collecting vintage furniture from shut down factories, skillfully refurbishing them and putting them up in his store for you to fall in love with. What used to be a ballroom opposite Volkspark Hasenheide at Hermannplatz now spectacularly serves as their showroom. Upon entering it impresses you with its large space, remarkably high ceilings and grungy looking walls. With the atmosphere truly mirroring the industrial style, making a visit resembles an experience rather than just a shopping trip.
Sometimes when we follow our everyday life in our little neighborhoods traveling between a maximum of three districts from work, to the girlfriend, and back home, we completely forget how big Berlin actually is and how much there is to discover beyond our usual comfort zone. And as we need to soak up as much daylight as possible in the darker and colder season of the year we have all the more reason to go out and explore the city beyond the S-Bahn ring.
Thanks to the multiple comfortable car sharing services we have here in Berlin the ride to our next adventure is literally just around the corner. For our brand new tour we have teamed up with one of those services: DriveNow which has one of the biggest fleets of cars – you will find their BMW and MINI all over the city. You can either use the car for a short practical ride from A to B and pay by minute, or you can book the car for a package of 3, 6, 9 or 24 hours to make little trips to further places.
photos: Laetitia Bica
What makes a city a radical place? Conflicts and aggression? Melting pots of cultures? Extremity and irregularities? Or a specific energy that runs through the streets of the city like blood filled with adrenaline through human veins? I have never been to Brussels so far, but I heard it’s a special city. On the one hand tons of young passionate idealistic global citizen working for NGOs and the European Union. On the other hand, old-school politicians, lobbyists and international companies doing what they do best: capitalism. In that mix performance, art, dance and theater have a powerful nourishing ground of ambivalence to get inspiration from.
Therefore we are very excited to collaborate as media partners with Radialsystem V for the upcoming dance festival RADIKAL. Featuring over 20 contemporary dancers and choreographers from over 10 countries this festival has a unique program we would like to present to you. Under the patronage of Sasha Waltz on the 3rd and 4th of November eight performances will take place in one of our favorite theater stages in town. We are giving away 1×2 Tickets for Radical Light from Salva Sanchis. More pictures, the trailer and the program after the jump.
Who would have thought in the mid 2000s that a tiny shack of scrap wood on an abandoned lot at the river Spree would ever become the quirky urban oasis that is the Holzmarkt today?
It was in the year 2004 when I stepped into the so-called Bar25 for the first time. At the time it was a tiny improvised bar made of recycled wood at the end of an overgrown footpath in the wastelands of the Spree riverbanks in Friedrichshain. There was no techno party going on there, just the comfort of a worn out couch and some beers. I was on a date then that I hardly remember now, but I remember the place because it became of one the most legendary international techno clubs and a hub for youth culture of the post-millennium era.
Over the course of the next 7 years the buzz around this inconspicuous little place became louder and louder. I dropped by every now an then observing their journey to techno heaven and international fame. The bar grew bigger ever year, adding a small circus arena, a pizza parlor, a restaurant, a spa, a pool, a hostel and more cute little things to its world making it a little paradise that you never wanted or needed to leave. They started the whole cult of going to a place and not leaving it for 5 days straight. You didn’t have to, because there was everything you needed – plus a swing with a lovely view of the sunset over the Berlin city silhouette. There was a lot of feathers, confetti and glitter involved, something that set the Bar25 apart from it’s more understated neighbor Berghain that opened around the same time as them.