Open Archive Day at the Academy of Arts + Opening of ” Erlesene Bibliotheken – Artists’ Libraries” | 05.05.2019

On 5 May 2019, the Archive of the Academy of Arts at Pariser Platz 4, where the archive’s second main location is located next to Robert-Koch-Platz 10, will present itself with an Open Day. In addition to the reading room, a special library on modern art and part of the collection of paintings, it also houses the Baukunstarchiv, which houses an outstanding collection on German and international architectural history.
On the same day, the exhibition ” Erlesene Bibliotheken – Artists’ Libraries” opens, providing insights into the working libraries of famous artists.

View into the painting depot with the painting of Julius Schoppe, King Friedrich Wilhelm III on his deathbed, 1840, Academy of Arts, Photo: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

The Open Archive Day on this Sunday provides an extraordinary glimpse behind the scenes of an art archive. The building can be visited from the magazine rooms to the reading room with a view of the Brandenburg Gate and the roof terrace. Employees from the architecture archive explain their work on the basis of plans and drawings.


Academy of Arts on Pariser Platz, reading room, photo: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

In the restoration workshop, experts provide information on the conservation and safeguarding of the most diverse objects. Guided tours show the otherwise closed depots and workshops as well as the picture cellar where the legendary carnival parties of the master students of the East Academy took place.


View into the restoration workshop of the Akademie der Künste, photo: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

Readings and lectures offer insights into the holdings of the library, architecture archive and art collection. A special attraction is a fashion show with students from the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. They present theatre costumes from the archive’s rich collection. There is also a programme for younger guests. The actress Steffi Kühnert will read from the novels Ede and Unku by Alex Wedding and Emil and the detectives by Erich Kästner.

Exhibition Erlesene Bibliotheken – Artists’ Libraries

On the same day the exhibition „Erlesene Bibliotheken – Artists‘ Libraries“, Duration 5 May to 16 June 2019, Tue – Sun 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.. The show focuses on the personal library as the preferred workshop and source of inspiration for artists. It provides insights into the working libraries of George Grosz, Heinrich Mann, Bernhard Minetti, Anna Seghers and Christa Wolf.


Christa and Gerhard Wolf in their study, around 1996, photo © Roger Melis

Places of knowledge, material basis of creative work – libraries convey the basics of our existence, in them past and future meet, their appropriation produces something new. For many artists, their own book collection is an important working environment, workshop and source of inspiration. Illustrated artist’s books, dedication and working copies illustrate artistic working practices, networks and preferences. Traces of reading such as paintings and commentaries testify to intense debate, dedications reveal artistic networks, and book inlays function as time capsules.


Gerlinde Creutzburg, Kerstin Hensel u.a.: Das gefallene Fest, Leporello 2010/11, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Photo © Roman März, 2019

Selected from over 300 personal libraries, valuable books, unique specimens and rare books from the possessions of Heinrich Mann, George Grosz, Bernhard Minetti and Christa Wolf, among others, are exhibited. Among them are annotated copies, artist’s books, censored prints, bibliophilic works in small editions and samizdat productions. Pars pro toto, the show provides an insight into the extremely rich and publicly accessible holdings of the Library of the Academy of the Arts, which is one of the largest collections of books on modern art and culture in the German-speaking world with over 600,000 titles.

The complete programme for the Open Archive Day:

WHAT? Open Archive Day at Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste) at Pariser Platz

WHEN? Sunday, 05 May 2019

WHERE? Akademie der Künste am Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin-Mitte

Free admission

This post is also available in: Deutsch

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