The Best Queer Exhibitions this Autumn in Berlin!
In numerous museums and galleries in Berlin you are able to become conversant with both classical and contemporary art - often with a queer focus. Cultural journalist Julian Beyer has compiled ten great exhibitions that will inspire you in autumn 2022.
I Do You
Is that really a sling that can be seen here under the title 'Never Again' in the Neue Nationalgalerie? The object is part of the exhibition 'I Do You' by the Italian-born artist Monica Bonvicini. Here she presents architectural installations, sculptural objects, performative, and sound pieces, as well as well-known works from her diverse catalogue spanning decades. Bonvicini's art is dedicated to the critique of institutions, drawing parallels to feminist and queer subcultures. She has been exhibiting worldwide since the 1990s and won the Golden Lion at the Biennale di Venezia in 1999.
Monica Bonvicini – I Do You
From 25.11.2022 to 07.05.2023
At Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Straße 50, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten
S+U Potsdamer Platz
Website of Neuen Nationalgalerie
Website of the exhibition Monica Bonvicini – I Do You
Queerness in Photography
As part of the 'Queerness in Photography' programme, the 'C/O Berlin' exhibition space is showing three complementary exhibitions dealing with the representation of the LGBTIQ* community in images. 'Under Cover. A Secret History of Cross-Dressers' shows a collection of amateur photographs by the French film director Sébastien Lifshitz, that was compiled over decades. These were shot at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century and show people who defied common gender norms through their choice of clothing. 'Casa Susanna' was a safe space for cross-dressers and trans* women in Hunter, New York State, in the 1950s and 1960s. Here, visitors could freely express their identities, even if only for a limited time. The photographs from the Cindy Sherman collection show the cohesion, the openness, and light-heartedness of those who lived in 'Casa Susanna'. 'Orlando' is adapted from the 1992 film of the same name, in which queer actress Tilda Swinton plays the gender-nonconforming lead. Swinton curated the exhibition herself and shows works that deal with identity, gender, origin, and sexuality. Among others, 'Orlando' shows the works of Zackary Drucker, a well-known trans* artist and activist. C/O Berlin’s exhibition programme is accompanied by the event series 'Utopia/Dystopia', to which the ticket also grants access.
Queerness in Photography
At C/O Berlin, Hardenbergstraße 22-24, 10623 Berlin-Charlottenburg
S+U Zoologischer Garten
Website of C/O Berlin
Website of the exhibition Queerness in Photography
Frauen in Bewegung
In Russia, the group 'Pussy Riot' protested against the powers that be in the Duma and the Kremlin through the medium of spectacular interventions and actions. In Ukraine, 'Femen' attracted attention in a similar way. In Poland and Belarus, women have also stood up to patriarchal, conservative, and sexist politicians. The exhibition 'Frauen in Bewegung' showcases the works of nine female photographers who have documented socio-political change, and their own experiences in their countries of origin in Eastern Europe. In doing so, they also want to show how the women who grew up behind the former iron curtain live and what sort of historical heritage they bear.
Frauen in Bewegung – Osteuropa zwischen Tradition und Aktion
At f³ – freiraum für fotografie, Waldemarstraße 17, 10179 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Website of f³ – freiraum für fotografie
Website of the exhibition Frauen in Bewegung - Osteuropa zwischen Tradition und Aktion
For her first institutional exhibition, the US artist Leila Hekmat has staged a hospital of absurdity in the rooms of the 'Haus am Waldsee'. Leila Hekmat deals critically with societal expectations of women* and skilfully plays with conventions of sex, gender, and sexuality. Her work combines theatre, musical, comedy, visual arts, film, and performance to create a unique space for discovery. In addition, hospital beds, operating theatres, and other treatment rooms also invite a deeper analysis of what it means to be sick.
Leila Hekmat – Female Remedy
At Haus am Waldsee, Argentinische Allee 30, 14163 Berlin-Zehlendorf
U Krumme Lanke
Website of Haus am Waldsee
Website of the exhibition Leila Hekmat – Female Remedy
Queering the Crip, Cripping the Queer
The 'Schwule Museum' tackles the phenomena of intersectionality and multiple discrimination in a current exhibition. Both queer people and those with physical or mental disabilities are often disadvantaged, excluded, and discriminated against in our society. ‘Queering the Crip, Cripping the Queer’ is the first international exhibition to explore the historical, cultural, and political intersections of queerness and disability. The show brings together the work of twenty contemporary artists. In addition, works by icons of queer/disabled art, such as Audre Lorde, are on display. The exhibition was largely curated by queer/disabled people and the artists whose works are on display in the rooms of the 'Schwule Museum' also largely identify as queer and disabled.
Queering the Crip, Cripping the Queer
At Schwules Museum, Lützowstraße 73, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten
Website of Schwules Museum
Website of the exhibition Queering the Crip, Cripping the Queer
Ledgers & Dwellers
In 2019, the gallery 'ChertLüdde' opened its Bungalow. The aim is to offer emerging artists a place to present their work. This autumn, queer painter Elizabeth Ravn will receive this honour. Ravn, who grew up in Brooklyn, has been living in Berlin since 2017 and in 'Ledgers & Dwellers' she depicts the lives of strangers and friends, but also plants, interiors, and urban landscapes that constitute the German capital for her. In the process, she also documents the city's transformation. Her detailed paintings invite us to take a close look at them - and perhaps even to lose ourselves in them.
Elizabeth Ravn – Ledgers & Dwellers
At Bungalow, Hauptstraße 18, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg
Website of ChertLüdde
Website of Bungalow
Website of the exhibition Elizabeth Ravn – Ledgers & Dwellers
Tabea Blumenschein is a queer icon of former West Berlin. In the 1970s and 1980s, she appeared as an actor in films by Rosa von Praunheim and Ades Zabel and had a small role in the gay cult film 'Taxi zum Klo' from 1980. With her girlfriend at the time, Isabell Weiß, she appeared on the cover of Stern magazine in 1985 under the title 'Frauen die Frauen lieben' (Women who love Women). Blumenschein routinely worked with director Ulrike Ottinger, both in front of and behind the camera. However, Blumenschein did not only give free rein to her creativity as an actor. She made numerous drawings over the years, including those of people from queer and other sub-cultures. Blumenschein died in 2020, and now her drawings have become accessible to the public through the exhibition ‘ZusammenSpiel’ at the Berlinische Galerie. Ulrike Ottinger has also contributed photographs that show Blumenschein on the set of her films and that capture their friendship.
Tabea Blumenschein & Ulrike Ottinger – ZusammenSpiel
At Berlinische Galerie, Alte Jakobstraße 124-128, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Website of Berlinische Galerie
Website of the exhibition Tabea Blumenschein & Ulrike Ottinger - ZusammenSpiel
A special presentation by the 'Museum für Islamische Kunst’ (Museum of Islamic Art) can be seen this autumn in the 'Pergamon Museum'. Visitors are taken on a journey back in time from the 16th to the 18th century. 'Mystische Begegnungen' (Mystical Encounters) depicts the diverse cultural practices of ascetics on the Indian subcontinent at that time using Indian miniature painting. The collection includes portraits of yoginis (female embodiments of yoginic power) and ascetics from the 18th century. In the depictions, the yoginis, some of whom are presented as goddesses, are portrayed as equal to men in their spiritual aspirations, power, and influence.
Mystische Begegnungen – Sufis, Könige und Yogini in der indischen Miniaturmalerei
At Pergamonmuseum, Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin-Mitte
S Hackescher Markt
Website of Pergamonmuseum
Website of the exhibition Mystische Begegnungen – Sufis, Könige und Yogini in der indischen Miniaturmalerei
Jewellery & Garment
Anyone who enjoys looking at fashion magazines like Vogue from time to time will have noticed that accessories are essential to a fashion spread. They can enhance a garment in previously unexpected ways or make a statement in their own right. For 'Jewellery & Garment', curators Svenja John and Petra Zimmermann present the interplay between jewellery and clothing and document the versatility of accessories, which are also capable of expressing political statements.
The event series 'X Properties' by the 'Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK)' offers an interactive experience. The primary thesis is that the city of Berlin is increasingly losing its appeal for those who were once attracted to the big city, namely artists, expats, and students. The question of why that is the case is not entirely clear. One main reason is the lack of affordable housing. 'X Properties' offers lectures, workshops, walks (among others) to discuss together how to make the city of Berlin accessible to everyone again. The detailed programme can be found on the exhibition page.
X Properties – Zur De-/Finanzierung der Stadt
At nGbK – Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg
U Kottbusser Tor
Website of nGbK – Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst
Website of X Properties – Zur De-/Finanzierung der Stadt
And this is how you get there: The Queer City Pass gives you a ticket for public transport - and on top of that a great discount with lots of partner companies!
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You can find a complete overview of all events for every single da on the event pages of SIEGESSÄULE, Berlin's famous queer city magazine.
Words: Julian Beyer