Museum for Urban Contemporary Art, Photograph courtesy: Urban Nation
The role of art in society, according to philosopher Herbert Marcuse, is to ‘refuse to forget what can be’. This is perfectly encapsulated in the murals and street art of the Berlin Wall. Messages of resistance etched across the wall made Berlin the mecca of graffiti at one time, and the city’s street art still attracts millions of tourists. This includes the 100 murals that stretch across the wall at the East Side Gallery. But a brand new museum has opened in the city, and this one is dedicated to Berlin’s incredible urban art. ALSO READ: Your ultimate 10-day Eastern Europe itinerary: Explore the wonders of Prague, Budapest, Vienna and more Also Read - Here's How A German Artist Caused Fake Traffic Jam on Google Maps Using 99 Smartphones
The new Museum for Urban Contemporary Art lies in the upmarket, tourist-centric Schöneberg locality of Berlin, and opened in September 2017. The initiative for this museum was started by gallerist Yasha Young and the Berliner Leben foundation. Young also founded the Urban Nation organization back in 2013 to promote street art across the world. The Berlin Lotto Foundation gave a EUR 1 million grant to renovate the museum and they did it. The brand new museum now showcases and protects some of the best works of contemporary urban art worldwide. Also Read - German Woman Announces She Will Marry A Plane, Claims They're Dating For 6 Years
Urban and street art started its run in the 1970s as a counter-culture creation and a means of rebelling against the higher powers. But it’s since entered the mainstream, becoming a big trend among advertisers. It was, in fact, the aesthetic used in Barack Obama’s ‘Hope’ Presidential campaign, its posters designed by artist Shepard Fairey. The museum shows us the history and evolution of urban art and how it has changed in the eyes of the public. It also shows how the art form has changed from works of spray paint to digital works and sculptures and hyper-realistic paintings. Also Read - Berlin to Host 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards
Yasha Young, now the chief curator and executive creative director of the museum, is quick to say that the museum isn’t just tapping the current love for urban art. She wants to make it an archive to look into the history of this art form, now and for the future. The museum is housed on Bülowstrasse 7, in a massive 19th-century building. Around 150 artists’ works are on display here, including Fairey and others like Ben Eine, Cranio and El Mac. NOW READ: These splendid photos of Germany are giving us serious travel goals!
Young also added that the road to making this museum a reality was long, but she wanted to elevate work that many people do not necessarily equate as art. Given Berlin’s own history and contemporary street art culture, the Museum for Urban Contemporary Art fits perfectly.