Touring Munich Central

Just walked and walked and walked today.

Visited the National Bavarian Museum, the Haus Der Kunst (A contemporary art Museum that was originally built by Hitler), the city of Munich Museum, and I climbed up the Alter Peter tower twice to get a clear view in the Morning of the whole of Munich and then after sun down for the full moon and night lights.

The most touristic thing I did was have breakfast up in the Glockenspiel cafe overlooking the Marienplatz. I was there for the 11:00 dancing of the great Glockenspiel in the New Town Hall. A group of jesters and jousters battle for the attention of the king and queen while a group of high kicking men dance in circles by way of a twisiting vine. I thought perhaps all movement in the cafe would stop at this time, watching in awe of the historic clock, but no they just kept on with their conversation and smoking.

One of two intriguing moments was when I was at the Haus Der Kunts seeing an exhibition of the collection of Ydessa Hendeles A German Jew born during the War, but whose parents escaped to Canada via Israel. She really put together an eclectic gathering of works of all sizes, periods and mediums, from a video piece by Bruce Nauman, to a full size installation by Paul McCarthy of a mechanical cowboy shooting up two women in a make shift saloon. (his penis is the pistol), to photo works by Jeff Wall, Walker Evans and Diane Arbus, to her own collection of thematic photos over cities from the Zepplin Air ship including documentation of its demise, journalistic images of war protests with the famous image of a Vietcong suspect being shot in the street, to the most bizarre of all being her two room expansive collection of famous and not so famous people being photographed with their Teddy Bears (there is actually a Teddy Bear Museum in Munich.

The most intriguing part of this experience was walking into the last room that summed up her curatorial choices related to being a survivor and healing for the future is a contemporary sculpture of a slightly smaller than life size depiction of Hitler on his knees in traditional German clothes in the center of an empty gallery with his hands folded in front of him. The piece is by Maurizio Cattelan (Spanish ofcourse) and it is simply called “Him”. But what was most moving about the piece was that when I walked in there was a German mother with her young son squatting on the ground at level with the statue and I am sure she was telling her son of the man’s bad deeds, because the boy was responding in a very serious and accusatory manner towards the sculpture. A moment for which I just wish I had my camera on me. I started to cry, just seeing in full view the transformation of Germany and question of its future.

The second intriguing moment was while walking home back to Sibylle’s I was passed by a group of young people brandishing torches of fire. I just stood there under the clear moon-lit night watching as these silent flashes of light made their way down the alley bouncing and bobbing with the roving group. A protest? a holiday march? or just an end of the weekend jaunt?

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