Achtung GOLEM!

Objekts on a table and a sign "Achtung Objekt"

Golem Costume for Death, Destruction, and Detroit II at the Schaubühne Berlin, 1987. Directed by Robert Wilson; Lender: The Jewish Museum, New York

The Golem is brought to life from inanimate material, as is the exhibition we are dedicating to him. Up until the opening on September 22, many days will be spent building, painting, felting, typesetting, printing, writing, cutting, hanging and pouring. For the celebratory opening, we have invited as our special guest, a robot who will greet the public.

Two humanoide robots greet each other

REEM and REEM C at a Meet-and-Greet © PAL Robotics, Barcelona

A piece of paper with handwriting in German and Hebrew

© Scholem Archives, The Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem, Israel

But up until that moment, there is still a lot to be done. All of the objects and works of art have already arrived in Berlin. For example, the smallest item (14.5 x 11 cm), which is roughly the size of a post-it. On this piece of paper, Gershom Scholem (1897–1982), the scholar of Jewish mysticism, noted the beginning of the so-called “Golem Recipe,” which he had discovered in a medieval manuscript during his research at Oxford.  continue reading


Adrift in an Immaculate White Void

An Encounter with Daniela Orvin, Photographer

The artist Daniela Orvin

Daniela Orvin in her studio apartment in Berlin in June 2016: in her hand, a plastic camera, her Holga; in the foreground, her photo book Dressur-Wunder; below right her dog, Laika; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Maren Krüger

“Dyslexic dysgraphia”—the title of the photo series by Israeli artist Daniela Orvin on sale since April 2016 in the Jewish Museum Berlin’s art vending machine is pretty difficult to grasp; but it simply means “difficulty with reading and writing.” “Every one of my artworks is a self-portrait,” the photographer and musician told me, when I paid her a visit one sunny afternoon at her studio apartment in Berlin-Friedrichshain. She herself has difficulty reading but she was 29 years old before the handicap was detected—despite it having caused considerable disorientation her whole life long. Place the photos in the “Dyslexic dysgraphia” series side by side and they resemble the symbols of some bizarre, outlandish language.  continue reading


“Art has to be for everyone”

Joachim Seinfeld’s HeimatReisen (HomelandTravels)

Joachim Seinfeld in his atelier

Joachim Seinfeld at work in his atelier in the former broadcasting station in Berlin; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Michaela Roßberg

The wonderful thing about Berlin for me as an historian is that there’s something around every corner waiting to wow me or get my “history heart” to skip a beat. I was able to get to know yet another spot this year when I interviewed Joachim Seinfeld in his atelier in the old broadcasting station in the Berlin Treptow-Köpenick district. We talked about his HeimatReisen (HomelandTravels) project for the art vending machine at the Jewish Museum Berlin (further information on the art vending machine on our website).

The station's entryway with different clocks on the wall

The station’s entryway was built with marble tiles from the New Reich Chancellery; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Michaela Roßberg

The broadcasting station on Nalepastrasse is a unique place: Beginning in 1956, programming across the former GDR was produced and broadcast from there. The public broadcasting system, established following German reunification, took over this work in 1991 and then, after several changes in ownership, the building became a place for artists from around the world to establish their ateliers.

Joachim, your photo series – available to visitors in the art vending machine – consists of a number of images depicting you in various locations around Germany. Why, of all your work, these images for the vending machine?

In 2006, I did a photo series about Poland. In 2011, I thought to do something similar about Germany. So I wanted to do it anyway, and I chose the images most interesting to me.  continue reading