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The Spring 2014 Program

Spring has arrived at the Wannsee, and the American Academy looks forward to a full roster of engaging evening lectures, artist talks, readings, and discussions. The coming months see a range of topics, starting in April with a discussion of the future of Russia and the West; artist talks with Jules Feiffer and Philip-Lorca diCorcia; in May the craft of narrative journalism with the New Yorker's George Packer and Dexter Filkins in May; and in June the visit by the Curtis Institute of Music. Click here to download the program. You can sign up online or via email for all public events. We look forward to welcoming you to the Hans Arnhold Center.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, Apr. 01 7:30pm

The Vibratory Cultures of Modern Art

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The ether, like the spatial fourth dimension, was central to the general public’s conception of space and matter in early 20th-century art. Understood as the necessary space-filling medium for the transmission of wave vibrations, it was also widely discussed as a potential source of matter itself. Rather than disappearing with the publication of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, the ether remained a significant element of the cultures of modern art through the 1910s. This lecture samples a new history of modern art that restores the ether and the fourth dimension to their prominent places in the work of artists ranging from French Cubists and Italian Futurists to abstract painting pioneers Kandinsky, Malevich, and Mondrian.

Thursday, Apr. 03 7:30pm

Audience, Technology, and the Power of Museums

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Thomas P. Campbell, director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, suggests that we have to think critically about the relevance of art museums in the context of today's larger, global issues. He will speak about the power of museums in the modern world, particularly through the lens of audience and technology. He will also give a brief sense of the ideas that inspired the Metropolitan Museum's founding and then discuss how these early principles still inform the MET's strategies and initiatives.

Monday, Apr. 07 7:30pm

Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power

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Andrew Nagorski’s widely acclaimed Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power (Simon & Schuster, 2012) chronicles the experiences and first-hand impressions of these Americans—journalists, diplomats, military officers, scholars, and others. Presenting his newest book, Nagorski will offer a fresh perspective on this heavily dissected era by tapping a rich vein of personal testimonies offering Americans’ stories to speak for themselves rather than relying on the luxury of hindsight.

Generously supported by Daimler-Fonds
 

Tuesday, Apr. 08 7:30pm

Russia and the West After Ukraine: A New Narrative?

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Andrew Nagorski and Ambassador John C. Kornblum will address recent events in Ukraine, the March 16 referendum in Crimea, and the consequences for post-Cold War Europe. They will investigate the economic and political implications of Russia’s actions and examine how this new Russian approach affects the principles and agreements made after 1992. They will also consider Russian motives and future Russian behavior in Europe, asking: Are we entering a new era of confrontation? What is the future of EU relationships with countries such as Georgia and Ukraine? How strong is Russian nostalgia for its Soviet past? Have these trends been exacerbated by reluctant American leadership and the lack of a clear European strategy?

Generously supported by Daimler-Fonds

 

Wednesday, Apr. 09 7:30pm

The Arab Awakening in Its Fourth Year: Where Is the Middle East Headed?

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In this lecture, Ambassador Frank G. Wisner will address the revolutionary changes that have swept the Middle East since 2010, along with their far-reaching implications. He considers the origins of the political shifts and assesses the specific situation in Egypt and Syria. Ambassador Wisner will also speak about Israel, Palestine, and Iran, and will outline choices that will have to be made by the United States and Europe in the near future.

Thursday, Apr. 10 7:30pm

Myth, Politics, and Biography in the Ancient Egyptian Nile Valley

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How did ancient Egyptian political elites narrate the lives of individuals through texts and contextual practices, materialize the relationship of the individual to politics, and invoke social memory in sacred landscapes? In exploring these questions, Janet Richards uses as a point of departure the biographies of people written at the southern Egyptian site of Abydos, in the late third millennium BC. In doing so she aims to highlight the relationship between the official Weni the Elder and the god Osiris as a political project of the central government.

Sunday, Apr. 13 8:00pm

Reading: Dissident Gardens

Jonathan Lethem will read at the English Theatre Berlin from his acclaimed latest novel Dissident Gardens, a multigenerational look at a family of dissidents in the New York City Borough of Queens.

Location: English Theatre Berlin, Fidicinstraße 40, Berlin
Ticket Reservation (€ 3): tickets@etberlin.de
or (030) 691 12 11

School groups have free admission if they register with IRCBerlin@state.gov

In cooperation with the US Embassy Berlin and the English Theatre Berlin

Tuesday, Apr. 15 7:30pm

Noir et Moi or Finally Getting It Right

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Jules Feiffer will present his new graphic novel Kill My Mother (W.W. Norton, August 2014) that reaches back to his first obsessions as a child of the Great Depression. Playing with his past, Feiffer says that Kill My Mother launches him into a form of graphic expression he was unable to find until the age of 80. Happy in his later years, Feiffer asserts that he can finally return to what he really wanted to do in the first place.

Tuesday, Apr. 22 9:15am

A Higher Loyalty: Soviet Collaborators in the West in Depression and War

In a time of extreme peril, from the 1930s Popular Front to the “strange alliance” of World War II to the early years of the Cold War, an astonishing number of the West’s most trusted and highly placed policymakers, experts, and planners collaborated with one of the most murderous regimes in history. Why? Journalist and author Sylvia Nasar explains that these figures were neither mercenaries nor mere adventurers, but rather mostly highly educated mandarins who managed Allied wartime finance, weapons development, diplomacy, and intelligence, and were determined to reap the fruits of victory by establishing a postwar order based on the ideal of one world and comity with the Soviet Union. Even half a century later the difficult questions continue to defy easy explanation.

Location: Technische Universität Dresden, Beyer-Bau, BEY/118/H, George Bähr-Straße 1

Registrierung: Maritta.Brueckner@tu-dresden.de

In cooperation with the Technische Universität Dresden

Monday, Apr. 28 7:30pm

Criticism in the Expanded Field: Roberta Smith in Conversation with Isabelle Graw

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In this public talk, acclaimed art critics Roberta Smith, co-chief art critic, New York Times, and Isabelle Graw, founding editor, Texte zur Kunst; and professor of art theory and art history, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, will discuss the ways in which the rise of the internet and the subsequent expansion of online forms of art criticism, such as blogging and tweeting, have changed art criticism in the past decade. They will discuss their own experience writing “print criticism,” as well as the expansion of the art world and the kinds of art being produced.

Tuesday, Apr. 29 7:30pm

Making Sense of Security in the Cyber Age

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In this lecture, Jane Holl Lute, former deputy secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, will examine the social effects of connectivity to determine what it means to speak today about personal privacy or personally identifiable information. This includes defining the political implications of the “cyber awakening” at the key intersection of technology, power, and wealth, and how nation-states, international institutions, and major multinational corporations are coping with these developments. Drawing on her experience in international, national, and homeland security, Lute will offer a policy perspective on security in the cyber age.

Wednesday, Apr. 30 7:30pm

An Evening with Philip-Lorca diCorcia

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The American Academy in Berlin and Sprüth Magers Berlin London are proud to host an evening with Philip-Lorca diCorcia, one of the most influential and innovative photographers working today. DiCorcia is known for creating images that are poised between documentary and theatrically staged photography. His practice takes everyday occurrences beyond the realm of banality, infusing what would otherwise appear to be insignificant gestures with psychology and emotion. DiCorcia employs photography as a fictive medium capable of creating uncanny, complex realities out of seemingly straightforward compositions.

From May 2 to June 28, 2014, Sprüth Magers Berlin will be showing photographs from diCorcia’s series "Hustlers (1990-1992)."

In cooperation with Sprüth Magers Berlin

The Academy in the News

Read a report on heise.de about Aryeh Neier's lecture at the ESMT about the history of surveillance and the case of Edward Snowden or watch the video online; an interview with Jonathan Lethem in Der Standard, or watch his reading from Dissident Gardens on our Youtube channel; a report about executive board member of Deutsche Bundesbank Andreas Dombret on reshaping the world of finace on faz.net (click here to download the entire speech); an interview with the Academy's composer in residence Matthew Goodheart in Exberliner; and an article about Dominique Nabokov's Berlin Living Room project in Qiez, or listen to an interview with her on NPR Berlin.

 

Alumni Highlights

New publications: Panaesthetics: On the Unity and Diversity of the Arts (Yale UP), by Daniel Albright; Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons (New Society Publishers), by David Bollier; Raqs Media Collective: Casebook (Art Gallery of York University), by Svetlana Boym, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philip Monk; Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw in Postwar Europe (University of California Press), by Joy H. Calico; Die Ehre Des Scharfrichters (Siedler Verlag), by Joel F. Harrington, translated from English by Norbert Juraschitz; the digital-only novella Sleep Donation (Atavist Books), by Karen Russell; Lesen – Sprechen – Schreiben (Kritzeln) (Matthes & Seitz), by Thomas Schestag; and The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China (MIT Press), by Kelly Sims Gallagher; Dan Visconti was named a TED Fellow for 2014 and delivered a TED talk in March; and Huma Bhabha's exibition opens at Galerie Veneklasen/Werner for the Berlin gallery weekend in May.