Germany - Hamburg & Muenster Sculpture Project - September 2017

Hello all,

We've somewhat avoided Germany in the past (for political and historic reasons), but now we felt that maybe Germany and the post-war generations had something to teach us. We truly admire how they have faced up to their responsibilities for the horrors of the past; something many countries have yet to do, our own country comes to mind, Japan, China, Turkey, etc., ad nauseam. Also, this year both Documenta (every 5 years) and Muenster Sculpture Project (every 10 years) were happening. 

It was pure pleasure to take things very easy in Hamburg. We didn't try to push through any jet lag, we had no appointments to make, no deadlines, nobody counting on us for anything, except the occasional email question. We walked everywhere, as we have done since we've been in Germany. Our favorite exercise, walking in a new environment.

Hamburg is a city of many waterways. This was around the corner from our very comfortable and well-located AirBnB apartment in Hamburg. 

We stayed in a great apartment near one of the older parts of the city, the harbor area, built in the 1880s. It's not very old (for a European city). Hamburg suffered terrible bombing during WW2 so had to be rebuilt. I read that almost 50% of the harbor area or Hafencity survived, which is a greater survival rate than Hamburg in general. This harbor area is filled with beautiful brick buildings and warehouses which have now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Detail of above; the ship statuettes acknowledge from where their finances flow.

This steeple served as our landmark, visible from almost any part of the city and also close to our apartment.

Some of the beautiful brick buildings, down the street from us.

Chilehaus, a crazy mammoth brick structure.

It makes some unexpected undulations and oblique angles.

Its next-door neighbor, Sprinkenhof

And across the street, a great chocolate store, Chocoversum.

Best crepes we have ever had in our life at Ti Breizh - Haus der Bretagne. We liked it so much, we went back again,

 so 2 out of 3 dinners

Walking around the Harbor District, Hafencity

The warehouses are still in use.

A trip to the very decent Kunsthalle Hamburg

Portrait of Egon Erwin Kisch by Christian Schad 1928

What was billed as a light show translated to ships and harbor lit up in blue.

Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (Hbf), one of many impressive German train stations - at least we were impressed until we saw the Berlin Hbf

This fellow and another neighbor on the train saved our asses by translating the German announcement for us. Because of high winds, trees had been uprooted and blown onto the tracks. Therefore the train had to be diverted, and a 2 hour direct trip became a 5 hour trip with a transfer to get to Muenster. Another example of extreme weather on our precious planet.

Selfie, Don Farnsworth-style.

We arrived in Muenster, again staying at an AirBnB. The host, a personable young man, Dominick, normally rents out his entire apartment as he is often away on projects in India and Saudi Arabia. However, during the time we rented from him, he happened to be in town, so we had an unexpected roommate. He was extremely considerate, fortunately.

Drizzling on and off; walking in a very green Muenster. Muenster Sculpture Project reminded me of an art puzzle treasure hunt, not unlike Naoshima, the art island in Japan - although maybe not as scenic - where the prizes are not necessarily very well-marked, and when you stumble upon them, you consider yourself lucky.

The Muenster Sculpture Project takes place once every 10 years.

Nicole Eisenman’s sculpture and fountain

Central Muenster, the old city

The LWL Museum; the truck is an installation

Claes Oldenburg’s Billiard Balls from a previous Sculpture Project. Most of the older sculptures were unfortunately graffiti’ed and not very skillfully or imaginatively graffito'ed.

Ilya Kabokov; if you look closely you might make out the poem written in wire (and in German).

Donald Judd’s sculpture from an earlier Sculpture Project (graffiti’ed)

Standing atop Judd’s sculpture

Evidence of yesterday’s high winds.

Schnitzel, Westphalian style. Mass quantities were consumed, as the Coneheads used to say. Beer was also imbibed.

A piece by Adam Bartholl, recharging a cell phone over a campfire.

We will show you another Bartholl sculpture later which we thought was pretty cool. We didn't stick around long enough to see if this one worked.

A very ambitious project by Pierre Huyghe, an excavation in an old ice rink, which he called After ALife Ahead (no typo). We thought he did a masterful job of creating a realistic landscape, which seemed to mimic the way this landscape might actually form.

Bees had made hives in these clay mounds.

This is another of Aram Bartholl’s projects, which we loved. LED chandeliers powered by candle power. So cool. We tried to purchase one, but no luck.

Men and Women’s public toilets by artist Hans-Peter Feldmann. In a country where, similar to the USA, and perhaps even a little worse than the US, public toilets are few and far between, and rather expensive when you do find them, this artist has made his toilets clean, lovely and free. We applaud him.

The Women's side

Inside a women’s room stall, pea pod green tiles and Don’s cool new umbrella.

We could sure use some free public art toilets like this in West Oakland, or any part of Oakland. Or any city, for that matter.

Back outside for some sautéed wild mushrooms. We could use these in Oakland also.

And closing with a musical notation / punctuation mark by Richard Tuttle. Don saw it as a negative possession mark.

Love from Germany,

Era and Don