Welcome to Urban Nation Museum! This weekend, a globally unique new centre for exhibitions, research and exchange focused on one of the most important art forms of the 21st century will emerge. Berlin’s secretary for cultural affairs, Tim Renner, was on hand to congratulate the initiators of this ambitious plan on behalf of the city government.
Urban Nation worked on its vision to build the first independent and non-commercial home for urban contemporary art since 2013. With more than 100 artists, URBAN NATION is already turning Berlin into a huge outdoor Museum. This weekend the vision is finally getting reality. Instagrafite is one of the curators from Urban Nation curatorial board. Stay with us with our coverage here!
The internationally unique institution will open this Saturday in the Wilhelminianera building at Bülowstrasse 7 in Schöneberg. The building will be completely transformed for the purpose. In other words, there won’t be a new building; the existing one will be converted into a museum to the innovative plans of the architecture bureau GRAFT.
The building has long since ceased to look like a normal residential block anyway: over the last three years, it has regularly served as a giant canvas for various stars of the street art scene, including Shepard Fairey, D*Face, Hownosm or The London Police. They were invited to Berlin by URBAN NATION, an initiative that has been networking local and international street artists with great creativity and resounding success since 2013. The idea and the artistic design of the museum are the brainchild of Yasha Young, manager and director of the museum. URBAN NATION is part of Berliner Leben, a non-profit foundation established in 2013 by Gewobag.
The motto “Connect. Create. Care.” Is a perfect description of the art initiative’s concept and programme: URBAN NATION operates as an international network that promoted connections between artists, creatives and the public through regular art projects and exhibitions and, at the same time, produces high-quality urban art for Berlin.
The “Project M/” series is one example: four times a year, internationally renowned artists are invited to redesign facades and shop windows in Bülowstrasse. These festival-like art events have resulted in numerous works that now form the basis of the museum’s collection. Another series entitled “One Wall” transforms the city into an enormous open air gallery: URBAN NATION regularly invited artists to transform important city buildings. When they design one of the “One Walls”, the urban artists get a feel for the neighbourhood, soak up the local energy and infuse their artwork with it. Impressive current examples include the three 42-metre-high façade paintings in Tegel-Süd by the artists Fintan Magee, HOWNOSM and Collin van der Sluijs. URBAN NATION has been able to attract 219 established and up-and-coming artists since 2013, who have created 320 large-scale and many smaller works (murals).
URBAN NATION networks, URBAN NATION designs – and the initiative also gets involved in social projects. Because there is hardly an art form that is more suited to attracting the attention and enthusiasm of people whose lives would otherwise have little to do with art and culture. You don’t need an education in art to be spontaneously fascinated by a mural on the other side of the street and start reflecting. Street art takes place where people live and work and encourages young people especially to address it on equal terms. It is just this potential that URBAN NATION taps into with its diverse social projects: for example, co-operating with artists to put on workshops in which children address art and their neighbourhoods. The goal is to create incentives for children and young people to enhance their cultural education. The artists’ images are drawn from their reflection on their surroundings: thus, they strengthen people’s identification with their neighbourhoods on a daily basis.
URBAN NATION is an international institution for artists and projects that will be setting new standards with a new museum from September 16th 2017.