Haus Schwarzenberg – More than a Streetart Hotspot in Berlin
The Haus Schwarzenberg is probably the smallest and most exceptional Streetart Hotspot in Berlin. The house is located in the Scheunenviertel and can be found in Rosenthalerstr. 39, beside the „Hackesche Höfe„, right next to Starsucks and the „Café Cinema„. The Haus Schwarzenberg and its yard are hidden behind a back-alley gateway that can be easily overlooked, when passing by for the first time. Once you’ve found it, however, you’re rewarded with an overwhelming amount of Street Art and the feeling that you’ve just travelled in time.
On entering, you leave the clean, posh streets and the glass facades of newly constructed offices, bars, coffee houses, souvenir and designer clothing shops behind and enter a back yard that still looks like Berlin did 30 years ago. This place demonstrates perfectly how fast the city of Berlin is changing and how the aggressive globalization and gentrification is destroying the history and (sub-) culture, in other words, the soul, of the city. That this area has been able to resist refurbishment and change is a testament to its uniqueness. But more about the history, occupants and problems of Haus Schwarzenberg later, back to Berlin’s Street Art for now:
The Streetart Hotspot
On entering the yard you instantly see so much Street Art, that it is almost impossible to see the wall underneath. The tunnel and the entire right hand side of the area is coated with paper and colour. The yard is a protected space for historic reasons and thus painting on the walls is actually illegal; nevertheless, the entire right hand side of the yard is covered with Street Art. Another thing that is impossible to overlook is the 15 year old „Bloch“, one of two installations by the art collective „Dead Chickens„, who are running the Monsterkabinett in the back of the house (have a look under „Residents of Haus Schwarzenberg“ in this post). The rust-red, two-storey high, winged creatures seem to be watching over the house, immobile. As soon as a visitor drops a coin in the box at their feet, however, the resting creatures suddenly come alive, open their eyes, look around and attempt to fly whilst emitting terrible mechanical sounds.
The Streetartist of the Hotspot
The large wall on the right hand side features artwork from street artists from all over the world. Works include big paintings, stickers, Paste-Ups, Cut-Outs, stencils, mosaics, installations, guerilla knittings and so on. The sheer amount and the quality of the street art that can be found there makes the Haus Schwarzenberg a must-see Street Art Hotspot in Berlin. At the moment you can find works there from international street artists such as: James Cohran aka Jimmy C., Otto Schade, Alice Pasquini aka AliCé, The Weird, Reka, Descreet… and Berlin base Streetartists like: Alias, Various & Gould, Soon, Mymo, El Bocho, Plotbot KEN, Tona, Patera, Emess, Herr von Bias (HrvB), Joy Fox, Prost, Rallitox, Robi the Dog… just to name a few.
The residents of Haus Schwarzenberg
The Neurotitan – Gallery and Shop is, as the name suggests, a gallery and a shop, as well as being the main reason for the huge amount of Street Art that can be found outside.
The Neurotitan Gallery
has been putting on and organising roughly 12 shows a year since 1996. The shows contain a little of everything from the Berlin Art Scene, including Street Art, comics, illustration, paintings, and concerts. The shows are curated by Jim Avignon and Danielle de Picciotto, two of the biggest names in the Berlin art scene, amongst others. The best thing about the shows is that every artist has the chance be featured, regardless of whether the artist is already established or not. The artwork displayed there also ranges from avantgard to newcomer, and the shows are always fresh and surprisingly interesting. The Neurotitan Gallery perfectly reflects the ever changing nature of the Berlin art scene.
The Neurotitan Shop
The Neurotitan Shop has one of the best selections of electronic music produced by small, unknown labels, as well as the biggest selection of art books and design accessories. Yet the most interesting thing about it is that it has become a venue for street artists and artists of all kinds, who haven’t found a successful platform for selling their own artwork. As an artist you can simply take your work round and if the shop likes it, they sell it on a commission basis. Of course, it is also a great place for art lovers, collectors, people looking for gifts and, of course, visitors that are bored of buying fake pieces of the Berlin wall.
The Monsterkabinett – by Dead Chickens
The Monsterkabinett by the artist group „Dead Chickens“ can be described as a run-down amusement park brought to life, in which outlandish mechanical creatures dance and sing within their natural environment and recount tales of their spiritual and emotional journeys. Inside the Monsterkabinett are a bunch of really surreal automata, each of them an artwork on their own. Take a look for yourself:
Otto Weidts Worshop of the Blind
The workshop is one of the reasons why the whole Haus Schwarzenberg is protected today, and is not just important for the space as a whole, but also for the history of Germany and the faith in the good in people. To make a long (and important) story short: The exhibiton, that can be found in exactly the same rooms where the worshop has been between 1940 and 1943, Otto Weidts Workshop of the Blind is telling the story of Otto Weidt, a salesman who employed blind and handicapped Jews during the Nazi regime, in order to protect them from deportation. Blind and handicapped Jews would have usually been the first to be killed at that time, but by producing brushes and brooms that were seen as „vital wartime goods“, they were protected. The story of Otto Weidt is often compared to the story of „Oscar Schindler“, but you should really find out more about it on your own. Entry is free
The Eschloraque (Rümschrümp)
The Eshrolaque is a bar with good coffee and great minimalistic music. Like the Monsterkabinett it is homing a few monsters (alive and mechanical). The Bar is also founded by the Dead Chickens, and it is reflecting the real Berliner sense of life like no other place around. Unfortunately the staff became more and more rude to some visitors because the place is getting misused as a toilet for people visiting the house. (So if you need a toilet leave the house and go to Strafucks next door, or at least leave a Euro tip for the staff)
Anne Frank Zentrum
The Anne Frank Zentrum is telling the story of Anne Frank in form of a timeline that is showing the events in her life parallel to events that took place in the history of Nazi Germany. It is taking focus on her dairies, her life as a writer and tries to point out that the problems Anne has had experienced are still existing today.