Art to Go

An old vending machine

This is what the vending machine looked like originally.
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Gelia Eisert

Usually a museum is a place where you can contemplate art from a safe distance. Today, with the mounting of our Art Vending Machine in our permanent exhibition, that will change: now you can put 4 euros in the coin slot, and own a piece of art from the museum!
If you’re imagining a high-tech machine that produces art, when you read the words “Art Vending Machine,” or something like a soda machine, where you can pick and choose from a selection, you’re on the wrong track. Our Art Vending Machine has a supply of small-scale artworks that were created by artists especially for it.

Since a device of this kind isn’t commercially available, I bid online for an old vending machine from the 1970s. I found one in a sports center in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany and had it transported to us from there.

Design of a white vending machine with the inscription "Art"

After its modification, the vending machine should look like this.
© Design: Hanno Dannenfeldt

Following the machine’s arrival, the graphic designer Hanno Dannenfeldt worked on a concept for reconfiguring it, since it’s meant to be not only a container for artworks tucked into all the little shelves, but itself part of the exhibition. The design, called “Hanging,” dresses the automat in a simple white coat of paint with an eye-catching black inscription. It’s strung up on the wall with pink slackline cables.

The next steps of this procedure raised some unusual questions for me as a museum employee:  continue reading


Eva Menasse’s Novel Quasikristalle:

The Blog’s Editorial Staff in Discussion (Part II)

Three editors around a table

Meeting of the website editors
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Michael Butschkau

Naomi Lubrich: We recently talked together about Eva Menasse’s novel Quasicrystals but we haven’t decided which of us will write a review of the book for our blog. Personally I would be interested in doing it, and I have something to say not only about the Jewish theme but also about Menasse’s image of women, that I found to be unrealistically and ideationally drawn. Xane is a downright caricature of a “high-powered woman”: a caring mother and stepmother of three children with, to some extent, behavioral problems. And at the same time she’s a leading film artist and influential intellectual. On top of all this she has a harmonious, uncomplicated marriage, and she even gets involved with a number of other men…  continue reading


Bezalel’s Progeny

50 Jewish Artist You Should Know presents the lives and work of the most important Jewish painters, sculptors, and visual artists of the past two hundred years, as selected by the author Edward van Voolen,

family resting with packed suitcases

Maurycy Minkowski, After the Pogrom, 1910 © Prestel Verlag

curator at the Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam, as well as rabbi and teacher at the Abraham Geiger Kolleg, Potsdam. The book is a joy to read. The concise introduction sketches the history of Jewish art of the past three thousand years, describing major events and personalities – Bezalel, the first biblical artist, and his successors –, but avoiding the pitfall of seeking too much common ground among the artists based solely on their Jewish family backgrounds.

 continue reading

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