When asked to contribute to KCLOG, I thought about how I might begin to tackle a city that has around 400 official galleries, over 40 museums, and a never-ending host of alternative spaces that sometimes present better shows than even the biggest venues.
I am a painter primarily, and despite my love of the process of writing, I consider myself neither a writer nor a journalist. These things come and go, but I will point out places and people that have interesting things to say and present, where you might find rewarding perspectives and works that are apart from the mainstream.
Thus I will begin by noting spaces that have something special and feel tied to the unique nature of Berlin that is different from most other cities. As some good friends who have been in Berlin for a far longer time than I have said: “What *is*, and was, special about Berlin are/were the shows in off-beat spaces, apartments and alternative venues.” The huge white cubes that rose up here recently are new. Due to the economic crisis, it’s an open question as to whether they will all survive. Yet, Berlin remains an amazing place to make art and collaborate, no matter what your medium. I think the voice and energy of Berlin is happening in the streets and hidden spaces that at times best the mega galleries and even museums.
One of the archetypal stories in Berlin is the (US) expat moving to the city to find new horizons and creative solutions. A new project-space named "Dada Post" ,started by American sculptor Howard McCalebb, has begun exactly this way. Dada Post is housed in a 100-year-old former fish smokehouse that Mc Calebb has converted into a fine professional contemporary gallery, hosting work by international artists in Berlin. Located in the Reinickendorf district of Berlin, it recently opened a show of work by Haitian-born artist Jean-Ulrick Désert. Living in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin for the last 6 years, Jean-Ulrick Desert’s art has recently been shown in the Brooklyn Museum of Art"s "Infinite Island" show in New York City, as well as "Kreyol Factory" at La Villette's Grande Halle in Paris France, and "Signs Taken for Wonders" at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York's Chelsea district.
His installation “The Goddess Project” includes a nearly 4-meter-long mixed-media work entitled "Shrine of the Divine Negress" that mimics stained glass wonderfully and successfully. Recently exhibited in Havana as part of the 10th Havana Biennial representing Germany and his birthplace of Haiti, it has now traveled to Berlin and once again proves that powerful and nuanced contemporary art is presented in spaces that are not on the expected gallery routes that people often blindly follow. Dada Post offers a rare possibility to see this project that the artist partially crafted to address the current earthquake disaster of his birth home (he notes that the haitians worship a Black Madonna named Erzuli personified in this installation by the American expat Josephine Baker). The "Shrine" is paired with several star-charts on gold Seidepapier/Silk-papers intended as a work-in-progress accompanying what Désert envisions as a mystic cabinet of curiosities. Also on display in an adjoining room are paintings on canvas by the digital artist Paula Ross. A short jaunt to the Berlin-Reinickendorf district is well worth the travel.
Dada Post NORDBAHNSTRASSE 10, 13409 BERLIN
Thursday to Sunday: 13:00 – 18:00
S1/ S25 at Schönholz