POLITICS. ART. BERLIN.
Berlin museums engage the political
by Max Nesterak
Political art has claimed Germany’s attention this year, and it doesn’t seem to be letting go. In the past year, the world has watched new democracies take shape in the Middle East, the simultaneous Occupations of financial districts around the globe, and the seemingly instant international fame of artists arrested by restrictive governments in Russia and China. The 7th Berlin Biennale, co-curated by Voina, the not-so-distant ancestor of the Russian political art group Pussy Riot (one of those instant fame stories), called for art that reaches beyond the self-involved politics of aesthetics and actually “makes its mark on reality, and opens a space where politics can be performed.” dOCUMENTA(13) curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev had no reservations about endorsing Occupy and, indeed, curated the world’s largest contemporary art exhibition guided by a vision critical of continuous economic growth and socio-economic inequality.
So too is this year’s Berlin Art Week rich with social resistance and political unrest. In the city with undoubtedly the most alternative art spaces and politically vocal artists out of the world’s major art capitals, soaking up the critical discourse here just feels right...