“Between the Lines”

An Architectural Instawalk through the Jewish Museum Berlin

A group of people in the axes of the Libeskind-building

Instagrammers in the Libeskind Building; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Judith Westphal

Where might one best spend the hottest day of the year? If not on the water or in the woods, there are only a few reasonable options. For example, an air conditioned museum with lots of underground passages! Fitting then that as part of Architecture Day on Friday, June 24th 2016, we led a very special kind of museum tour: Equipped with smartphones and professional cameras, we took a group of Berliner Instagrammers through the labyrinth that is the Libeskind Building, with Tommaso as guide. Even we as staff were able to learn a thing or two.  continue reading


Boris Lurie – Trying Out an Approach for High School Students

Nina Wilkens in front of her computer screen

Nina Wilkens contemplating the collage “Found objects on flat cardboard box” on her computer screen; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Svenja Kutscher

Five black and white photographs of a scantily-clad woman, legs spread open, in various suggestive poses. The pictures smudged and stuck askew onto white cardboard. On top, a Star of David partly smeared with yellow paint.  A brown dildo is fastened next to the cardboard. This constellation of things looks at first glance like useless trash. Objects left on the ground, covered with their share of grime, and now lying here piled on top of one another. This work by Boris Lurie from our current exhibition “No Compromises! The Art of Boris Lurie” (further information about the exhibition on our website) has no name and its date is ambiguous.

When I started thinking, around a year ago, about a pedagogical program on Boris Lurie, I got stuck on this picture as I sat at my computer clicking through images of the works that were being considered for the exhibit. I was confused by my own reaction to this collage of two- and three-dimensional objects: vacillating between disgust and uncertainty. I had the words “obscene” and “tasteless” on the tip of my tongue but found them unsuitable. The image hurt. I wondered how students would react to Boris Lurie’s art.  continue reading


How I Discovered My Inner Hans-Jürgen:

Our Project on the Topography of Jewish Life in Germany

Dana Müller is taking a photo of a stumbling stone

Stumbling stone in remembrance of Editha Machol in Yorkstraße 88 in Berlin-Kreuzberg; Jewish Museum Berlin

“I was playing Hans-Jürgen for you again,” my father said gleefully when he called me over Whit Weekend. Hans-Jürgen is 68, a retired teacher, and interested in regional Jewish history. My father, however, is not a retired teacher and his name is actually Rudi, but he had displayed what one could call Hans-Jürgenesque behavior: he participated in a public tour of a Jewish cemetery in his hometown, recorded his impressions with a camera, and sent them to us in Berlin. For Hans-Jürgen doesn’t really exist: he’s just a fictitious person we used in order to develop a prototype – a kind of pre-testing version – for a cartographic app. This prototype is the foundation for the online portal, which we at the Jewish Museum Berlin want to complete construction on in the next two years. The goal is to gather – all in one place, for the first time – comprehensive geographical information on Jewish life in Germany and make it accessible online in an interactive map.  continue reading