Apart from its unparallelled acquisitions of classical, early modern, and 19th century art, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation has acquired a spectacular repository of contemporary art. The biggest names from the second half of the 20th century Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Anselm Kiefer are on display in Hamburger Bahnhof (literally Hamburg Railway Station). The building was erected in the mid-19th century as one of the first terminal stations of the rail system, and is one of the last neoclassical stations left standing in Germany.
After a lengthy reconstruction by architect Josef Paul Kleihues, the Hamburger Bahnhof reopened in 1996 as the Museum for Contemporary Art. Nowadays 100,000 square metres are devoted to works from the collection of Berlin State Museums, alongside pieces from the renowned collectors, Erich Marx and Friedrich Christian Flick. Besides large format works by the conteomporary pioneers mentioned above Warhol, Twombly, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Kiefer, the collection includes elaborate installations as well as filmic spaces by artists including Paul McCarthy, Jason Rhoades, Rodney Graham, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, and Stan Douglas. The ground floor of the western side of the building is entirely given over to the eccentric genius, Joseph Beuys, showing rare works, such as his Medienarchiv (media archive) and related ephemera. For the first half of our 3 hour walk we will look in detail at the works of these avant-gardists, who exploded the boundaries of traditional art.
The second half of walk moves to the contemporary painting collection, where we focus groundbreaking works by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, as well as Neo Rauch and Daniel Richter. Strong visual contrasts and a simultaneous emphasis on the continuity of artistic developments will form the trademark of this double tour. By looking at art analytically, we aim to offer an comprehensive view of the famous individual art works, while building “bridges” between art movements and individual artists of different decades. For an intermission in our 3 hour experience, we can pause between collections for a well-deserved coffee break in the Sarah Wiener Café.