Painting Music

A Visit with David Benforado

David Benforado with a nay flute in front of an oil painting

David Benforado playing a nay flute, in the background one of his recent paintings “Brown-Orange,” 150 x 150 cm, oil on linen, 2015/2016; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Leonore Maier

“There is a whole world in five notes, just as there is a world in five colors.” With these words David Benforado, painter and musician, expressed his understanding of art to me. Painting Makams and Between Sound and Silence are, appropriately, the titles of his two series for the art vending machine, both of which have been available for sale this year at the Jewish Museum Berlin (more information about the art vending machine on our website). Music and painting are combined in small-scale oils, studies in color filled with energy and vitality.

Ever since David Benforado has been painting, he has been working with music. His atelier has again and again been the site of sessions with professional musicians, for instance during his time in Budapest with the accordion player David Yengiburgan and here in Berlin with pianist Antonis Anissegos. Seven years ago Benforado began studying the ney, a Middle-Eastern flute, and soon he encountered the world of Turkish makams and modal music from the eastern Mediterranean. This became a source of inspiration for his painting.  continue reading

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Energy galore: encountering Howard Katz

It always goes by so quickly: it feels as if the third round just started, of the art vending machine in the Jewish Museum Berlin’s permanent exhibition. But in fact it’s almost finished and sold out – 2,600 items since April! That’s certainly enough reason to pop by to visit Howard Katz and ask him some questions, especially considering that he was the first of the now 22 artists we’ve featured to use music…

Portrait of a man with guitar

Howard Katz © Yoann Trillu

Dagmar Ganßloser: Howard, you work as an artist in many different genres. You’re a dancer, performer, and choreographer, but you’re also an active visual artist, and on top of that a singer-songwriter. Right now the art vending machine has your “Mix Tape” as well as “4 short films”. How did you choose those?

Howard Katz: It was clear to me from the start that I wanted to present my music in the art vending machine. The 17 songs on “Mix Tape” came into being over the last twenty years plus and – the same as “4 short films” – they’re mainly about experiences I’ve had since I’ve lived in Berlin, so since the mid-1990s. The production was uncomplicated and I made the selection intuitively, from the heart. I made the four videos for my songs completely on my own, with my telephone – it was an opportunity to try out something new.  continue reading


New arrivals: artwork for the vending machine

The last few weeks have been full of hectic hustle and bustle, with boxes being passed from hand to hand, examined, unpacked, and sorted through. Such a variety of objects emerged from their cases and seemed to be disseminating in every direction through the museum.

Cards with blue printings

© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Gelia Eisert

Blue prints were spread out over a long, dark red sheet. Words seemed to glow in them – was it “tekhelet” or “argaman” or both? And what do they mean anyway?

"Magic" Card on a table in the kitchenette

© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Gelia Eisert

 

A “magic” card appeared in a kitchenette. Suddenly everything was kosher: the sink, the refrigerator, the dishes, the whole kitchen. The artist promised it would be, and thus it happened.  continue reading