My favorite museum in Nürnberg was the Neues Museum, aka New Museum for Art and Design. The design exhibits were fascinating – this one showed how different chairs affected the sitter’s body – but I was in search of ART and didn’t linger.
The art part of the museum started with photography. A wonderful installation by Hans-Peter Feldmann, called 100 Jahre (100 Years), had photos of 100 people, ranging in age from 1 to 100. Each photo was identified by the sitter’s first name and age. I scrutinized every photo, wishing the top rows were more accessible through my bifocals.
There were three whole rooms full of photos by Bernd and Hilla Becher, who traveled around Europe in the 60s and 70s documenting old industrial buildings. They liked to group their pictures into categories so you could see which features were common to the process and which varied from one site to another. I had seen and loved their work at Dia/Beacon in Beacon NY and this huge collection was exciting.
Then I came around a corner and it was as though the volume turned up a dozen notches – this was a room full of Gerhard Richter, one of my favorite artists. Richter is known for the wide variety of painting styles he’s used over the years, and if you want to be floored by the sheer number and vast range of his work, spend some time on his website, especially the section called “Atlas.”
But not just Richter; they had all the big names in German contemporary art. The Kiefer was a surprise -- instead of the dark battlefields of his best known pictures, this one was a pastel confection, easy on the eyes. I think I like the dark and bloody grounds better.
Georg Baselitz, Der Freund (The Friend), 1988
I wound up my visit in the bookstore, which despite having mainly books in German, could have easily sucked up hundreds and hundreds of euros. But we were on foot with miles to go before we got home, and I wisely (but sadly) passed it by.