325 Years Akademie der Künste

“Academy is a word that means an assembly of artists, who gather at a location assigned to them at certain times for the purpose of communicating their art in a friendly manner, sharing endeavours, insights and experiences, and learning from one another as they attempt to approach perfection.”

Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, member of the Royal Prussian Academy of Arts from 1784. He wrote his Magna Carta of the artist society in 1783.

Calendar Pages

The Akademie der Künste is taking its 325th anniversary as an opportunity to remember and to examine the current situation. In the form of calendar pages, events that have shaped the life of the artistic community are highlighted as caesuras or offer snapshots of its history. Members and staff take individual calendar days as opportunities to look back.

The history of the Akademie der Künste is not straightforward, but rather is punctuated by drama and change. It is marked by the transformation of an educational establishment into an international community of artists, by new departures and perseverance, by appropriation by the state and the claim to self-administration, as well as by discourses on the arts. The Akademie is taking its 325th anniversary as an opportunity to look back on the past and examine the present.

Calendar Pages will highlight watershed moments in the life of this community of artists and offer snapshots of its history. These include outstanding events such as the founding of the Academy on 11 July 1696, the Gleichschaltung, or forced standardisation under the National Socialists, the unification of the Academies in the East and West, and the return to Pariser Platz. But the Calendar Pages will also illuminate events which at first glance might appear unspectacular.

Specific dates provide an opportunity for retrospection by Akademie members and staff. The result is a series of personal miniatures and viewpoints that make no claim to being complete or to constituting a larger picture. The Calendar Pages will be published on the respective dates on the Akademie der Künste website and on its social media channels.

A competition between East and West

Georg Kaiser’s estate at the Akademie der Künste

On 5 October 1956, a competition between East and West was decided in favour of the Akademie der Künste in West Berlin. Herbert von Buttlar, presidential secretary of the Akademie, and Margarethe Kaiser, widow of the dramatist Georg Kaiser (1878–1945), signed the contract establishing a Georg Kaiser Archive.

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The Jeep and the company or how Sinn and Form came to the Akademie der Künste

For over seventy years now, Sinn und Form has been the literary magazine of the Akademie der Künste. But that was not always the case.

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KUNSTWELTEN – The Education Programme of the Akademie der Künste

“We want to share the treasure with others” Klaus Staeck

On 27 September 2012, the concept for the KUNSTWELTEN (Worlds of Art) education programme was confirmed at the Akademie der Künste. Since then, members and fellows of the Akademie have met primarily with children and young people to present their artworks and conduct art workshops together.

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Vertigo of Reality 

Metabolic Office for the Repair of Reality

The main programme “Vertigo of Reality” in autumn of 2014 turned the Akademie der Künste into a laboratory for aesthetic questions, a dynamic model, a place of exchange between artists, scientists and culture workers, a space for negotiating contemporary discourses.

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“Berlin is pleased to have this small house as a connection to the world” 

The reopening of Villa Serpentara in Olevano

Just a month after the Berlin Wall was built, the Akademie der Künste opened an artists’ residence in a town in the mountains of central Italy, and has been awarding fellowships there ever since. With this programme, the Akademie is carrying on the tradition of sending artists to study in Italy and, in the process, is also making an important contribution to furthering international cultural exchange.

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Painterly visions set in motion 

The restaging of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet

The reconstruction and newly choreographed production of the Triadic Ballet by Gerhard Bohner enjoyed extraordinary success. Following its premiere in Berlin as part of the supporting programme of the 15th European Art Exhibition “Tendenzen der Zwanziger Jahre” (Trends of the Twenties), the performance was shown at 32 other locations.

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The Fire in the Marstall on the Night of 20 to 21 August 1743

Beneath the rooms allocated to the Academy of Arts, the Marstall building on Unter den Linden houses stables for 200 horses. Disaster strikes when their forage catches fire.

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Founded not only for the practice, but also for the appreciation of art

The founding of the Berliner Kunstakademie in 1696

The Akademie der Mahl-, Bild- und Baukunst (Academy of the Art of Painting, Pictorial Art and Architecture) was opened on 11 July 1696 by Elector Frederick III, later King Frederick I. After the Academies in Paris and Rome, the Berlin institution was the third of its kind ever in Europe and the first state Academy of Arts in the German-speaking world.

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Alfred Kantorowicz becomes director of the newly founded Heinrich Mann Archive

The origins of the Archives of the Akademie der Künste

“Oh, you and your Heinrich Mann, your damned Heinrich Mann.” The reaction of KPD party members to Alfred Kantorowicz’s affinity to Heinrich Mann in 1935 is drastic and culminates in an official reprimand. After the war, his appointment as director of the Heinrich Mann Archive is initially seen as a good choice. The SED functionaries, however, will soon revise this position.

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The East German uprising of 17 June 1953, the Akademie and Brecht

It cannot be said that the Akademie failed to respond on that fateful day. The sole item on the agenda for an improvised executive meeting that afternoon was: “What can the Deutsche Akademie der Künste do to intervene in the current situation?” The shock was palpable. “For several hours, until the occupation of the Munitions factories, Berlin was on the brink of a third world war,” stated Bertolt Brecht. There were, however, differing ideas about how to intervene.

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