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Graffiti is art too: Here’s what you should know about Berlin’s museum of street art

The opening exhibition at the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin, which will last for around nine months, aims to introduce visitors to the culture of urban art.

art and culture Updated: Sep 19, 2017 09:37 IST
Associated Press
Street art museum Berlin,Graffiti museum Germany,Berlin street art
The paintings, from left, Dropper by Eric Jones, La Cage Entre Victoire Et Defaite by Sandra Chevrier and The Distance Between Is Equal by David Walker are displayed inside the exhibition of the new Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin, Germany.(AP)

Street art has a new, permanent home in Berlin.

Works by artists from around the world have gone on show at the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art in the German capital, located at one end of a street that is already something of a giant art gallery.

The opening exhibition, which will last for around nine months, aims to introduce visitors to the culture of urban art. Yasha Young, the museum’s creative director, worked with eight curators from various countries to produce a show that explores strands including portraits, pop art and activism.

The scene so far has lacked an “informative hub,” Young said. She said that part of the idea is “teaching people a new language, which is the language of street art, graffiti and urban contemporary art.”

Eight curators from various countries worked to produce the show that explores strands, including portraits, pop art and activism. (AP)

A staircase decked out in British artist Ben Eine’s coloured lettering links the two floors of the new museum, which features work by artists familiar from the streets of Berlin and beyond.

There’s a wall by Portuguese artist Vhils, works by New York-based Iranian duo Icy and Sot, Sao Paulo-based Marina Zumi and France’s Mademoiselle Maurice, among others — some of whose works grace or have graced facades on the street outside and elsewhere in the city. One of Banksy’s Gangsta Rats is also present.

The paintings (from left), Shirt Mask x Paper Plane by Numo Viegas, The Fighter by El Mac and Street Face by Lister displayed at the exhibition. (AP)

The museum also hosts a library that centres on street art photographer Martha Cooper’s archive of books and magazines.Young envisions the museum — four years in the making — as “an archive and a hub” in a city that is itself an urban art hub.

“There’s so many people here from all over the world living here because Berlin is still in the spirit of, maybe, old New York,” she said. “It is affordable, it is good for an artist to be here, the networks are great.”

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 09:34 IST