“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


Ceramics for all situations

Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin visit Rachel Kohn

Colorful bowls in a wooden cupboard

Rachel’s ceramic Tupperware; photo: Rachel Kohn

In advance of Rachel Kohn’s work entering our art vending machine, the Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin had the foresight to pay the artist a visit at her atelier in Berlin Charlottenburg. It’s the fourth installment of the art vending machine, for which Kohn has created miniature chairs and houses we could already marvel at during the visit.

Stepping into the atelier in this cozy home, we’re greeted by colorful dishes and fantastical judaica. Small houses and chairs made of clay are displayed on the walls in rows, and sculptures sit majestically atop their white pedestals. The air fills with the aromatic warmth of fresh coffee and tea poured into handmade cups. It’s an inviting welcome.  continue reading

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In the Shadow of the Mengele Myth

Photo Portraits by Noga Shtainer

Portrait of Noga Shtainer

Noga Shtainer during an artist talk celebrating her show in Berlin in 2015 © Noga Shtainer

Noga Shtainer often travels with her camera in tow, for her photography project “Home for Special Children” in the Ukraine, for instance, or for “Twins” in Brazil. Shots from the latter project have been available for purchase from the art vending machine since 1 April 2016 (further information on our website). The photographer has lived since 2010 in Berlin, where I met her two years ago (I wrote about that encounter in a blog post in May of 2015).

The fact that Noga Shtainer is a photographer is itself accidental. She set out to become an actress. But she didn’t pass the entrance auditions for the WIZO School of Art in Haifa and was encouraged instead to apply for a photography class. The deadline for submitting an application portfolio was only two days away, however.  continue reading