Posts By: MacKenzie Peck

Pergamon Altar: Assembly Required

Pergamon Altar, detail, Photo courtesy: MacKenzie Peck

A narrow poster from the Pergamon Museum gift shop is tacked to the wall of my temporary Prenzlauerberg apartment. I must admit that before seeing these beautiful panoramic images of the Pergamon Altar I did not know it existed. In retrospect I wonder how this introduction to the altar influenced my in-person experience other than the fact that I would not have gone unless I had seen the poster. Concerns such as this harken to the old yet relevant text by Walter Benjamin titled “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”:

… in photography, process reproduction can bring out those aspects of the original that are unattainable to the naked eye yet accessible to the lens, which is adjustable and chooses its angle at will. And photographic reproduction, with the aid of certain processes, such as enlargement or slow motion, can capture images which escape natural vision. Secondly, technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself. Above all, it enables the original to meet the beholder halfway, be it in the form of a photograph or a phonograph record. …

Having visited the museum I am back in my apartment and in spite of the perfect Pergamon photographs, staring me down, I will share my reflections on my visit to the Pergamon Museum in all of its three dimensional and genuine glory. Make note of my, albeit wary, use of the word genuine there will be more on the topic later. Although I have questions about the problematic and complicated task of presenting artifacts, I enjoyed my visit and I hope you will be inspired to visit for yourself. For this reason I will not be outlining step-by-step details of a visit but instead I will address a few strange moments I experienced and how they might be applied to any museum visit.

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“One On One” at KW Institute

KW Institute for Contemporary Art. Photo: MacKenzie Peck

Approaching a row of billowing orange flags and the KW logo everywhere, like a medieval castle delineating its territory along Augustrasse, it is evident that Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, is an impressive contemporary art space. The institution, founded in the late 90’s by Berlin-based artists and students, is located in an old margarine factory and collaborates with MoMA PS1 and Documenta X. From the street, a large arrow directs visitors through an entryway, across a courtyard, past KW Cafe Bravo, and to a set of bright red doors emblazoned with a large white KW…

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