Museums New and Old
Trip Start Aug 07, 2011
23Trip End Aug 27, 2011
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Thursday, we started out at the Hamburger Bahnhoff. This is an old train station converted into an art museum, rather the way the Musee d'Orsay is in Paris. The Hamburger Bahnhoff is smaller though and is devoted entirely to the art of the past half century. They have a hall of people like Andy Warholl, Anselm Kieffer, and Cy Twombly to establish a historical context for the more contemporary exhibits through the rest of the museum. So that’s the tame old stuff! I must say that I never had such an appreciation of Andy Warhol as I found there. They had pieces I never saw before, though I have seen pictures of my favorite, the painting of Mao with repetitions of his head as background. It is a completely different experience seeing an artist’s works displayed among many others by that same artist. I have found this with other artists, notably Mark Rothko
There was a lot of experimental media here—films, both narrative and fragmented; photographs of manipulated landscapes; kinetic sculptures; monumental carvings out of tallow. The list goes on, but it was a "you had to be there" sort of place.
After the Hamburger Bahnhoff, we went to the real bahnhoff—the Berlin Hauptbanhoff—where we got our rail pass validated and reserved our seats for the trip to Cologne. We grabbed donner kebap, our favorite German fast food—basically Turkish gyros—for lunch and then went our own ways for the rest of the afternoon. Marty poked around and visited a bookstore he remembered fondly from earlier visits. He was disappointed to find it a shadow of its former self. Perhaps bookstores here are subject to some of the pressures faced by those in the US.
Meanwhile, I returned to the Neues Museum. Tuesday, like everyone else, I had concentrated on the Egyptian collection, but I had not had time to take in their marvelous collection of artifacts from prehistoric Europe. They do a wonderful job of taking the visitor from the Old Stone Age through the Iron Age
After that, I sat in the beautiful courtyard between the museums, bound by classical columns for a while. Then I walked over to Hakescher Markt, where I was to meet Marty for dinner. Hakescher Markt is a lively market square with cafes and booths selling used furniture, farm produce, baked goods—you name it. Toward dinner time, the booths close up and the café culture takes over. We ate outside at a Bavarian restaurant that brews nine different beers. Marty had braised pork with veggies, and he said that though he’s not normally big on braised pork, that was the best pork he’s ever had. I had goulash because it came with a pretzel dumpling, and I was intrigued. Marty thought the goulash was good but not quite up to what he had at the Georgbrau on Tuesday. Maybe so, but I thought it was delicious. I liked the dumpling too. In size and texture, to say nothing of weight, it was quite reminiscent of what Grandma used to make, though the flavor was different. All in all, a delightful place, and since we had had so much cold, rainy weather, it was a treat to eat outside on a warm evening.