The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin Smells

June 5, 2010 MuseumChick

Being my first time to Berlin, Germany I did the rounds at all the tourist sights and met some locals (ie. storm troopers and native American Indians) at the Brandenburg gate. After defeating evil, I was super excited to visit the Guggenheim in Berlin! I walked up the famous Unter den Linden street, which means "Under the Linden", linden, which means limes. It's all very confusing, especially since I didn't see any of these alleged fruits.

Brandenburg Gate Berlin Germany

Anyway…I found the Guggenheim…

Were you expecting an outrageous building? I was. This could probably be mistaken for a Deutsche Bank if you don't look closely for the banners marking it the Deutsche Guggenheim.

Berlin Guggenheim Museum

I didn't get an outrageous building to show you but I did get a fantastic exhibit from New York based artist, Wangechi Mutu, the newly crowned Artist of the Year 2010 by the Deutsche Guggenheim. Her solo exhibit,
My Dirty Little Heaven strived to re-create a ghetto similar to one in Mutu's native Kenya, in the relatively small space (for a Guggenheim gallery) occupying the whole ground floor.  Walking through the rectangular, one room space, all senses were engaged. Intrusive sounds of rattling and clanging played while olfactory senses were bewildered by a indistinct iron-like blood smell, similar to *whisper* a woman's menstruation. That came to mind because of the blood-like red stain on the floor and the overwhelming implications of women's issues, more specifically the oppression and viewed role of women in societies. Although overwhelming, women's issues are just one part of Mutu's engaging show. The idea of daily life in impoverished communities and the idea of economic borders and challenges play into the exhibit. Mutu is quoted saying, "I also wanted to question this idea with the show and to think about how poverty, how not having everything handed to you, adjusts your way of making things, your way of thinking about things, and how you go about creating beauty. And that's how the idea of shantytown came to me".

Berlin Guggenheim Museum

Berlin Guggenheim Museum

Berlin Guggenheim Museum

Berlin Guggenheim Museum

You can scroll through the pictures below to get an idea what I saw at Mutu's exhibit, although the pictures I took don't do her intricate collages justice. It's just difficult to see the details that you can see in person.  Mutu often uses cut-outs of women's body parts from porn, fashion and auto magazines.

Before leaving, I grabbed the latest issue of the Deutsche Guggenheim Magazine (yea for free stuff!) where there is a thought-provoking interview with Mutu. She said about her own exhibit, "I think it reflects not only how people feel about women, but also how society feels about itself".

(Below) Blue Eyes, 2008 Mixed media collage.

Berlin Guggenheim Museum

Berlin Guggenheim Museum

The piece below is called "Fallen Heads" 2010 and is a mixed media collage.

Berlin Guggenheim Museum



©2010 Danee Gilmartin All rights reserved

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  1. Marvin Arnold 05.3.2012

    Those are linden trees on Unter den Linden. They line the whole length of the promenade in the middle of the road.

    They are also called lime trees in English because they grow in lime-rich soil. They can be found almost everywhere in Germany, and you can make a very fragrant tea out of its flowers.

    However, they don’t carry lime fruits (or lemons, or oranges, for that matter).

    • MuseumChick 07.26.2012

      Hi Marvin- Thank you for the information!

  2. mina 06.14.2010

    I recently visited the Guggenheim in NYC for the first time – this looks equally interesting. Love the storm trooper!