Home Magazine Berlin: Mies van der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie to reopen in summer 2021

After a five-year renovation headed by the arch star David Chipperfield, the Neue Nationalgalerie is finally set to reopen in the summer 2021 with an exhibition of the American sculptor Alexander Calder.

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The Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlinwas designed by the iconic architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and it firstly opened in 1968 on Reichpietschufer near Potsdamer Platz, in the heart of Berlin. This was the only work Mies realised in Germany, his homeland, before fleeing from the Nazi regime in 1937. The building with its ergonomic hall and the floating roof is an architectural representation of last century, and its minimalist designis the unmistakable signature of Mies van der Rohe, master of the Modern Movement in architecture. 

The German museum is the modern art-focused branch of the National Gallery which in the past six years has been restored bythe Berlin-based British architect David Chipperfield. Costed roughly $124 million, the renewal has marked the first major modernization project to be undertaken at the museum, in its over 50-year history. 


Neue Nationalgalerie © BBR / Thomas Bruns.


The project provided several improvements such as new lighting, additional security, new air-conditioning, better disabled access and improved visitors’ facilities such as a cloakroom, café and museum shop. Specifically, the entrance hall of the bi-level museum has been outfitted with over 17,000 square feet of new glass as part of a major faced overhaul, the steel framework of the jettied roof was carefully restored as well. Moreover, a lot of original interior fittings were also removed, restored, and subsequently reinstalled as part of the Chippertfield’s renovation project. Remarkable are the 21st-century upgrades ranging from LED lighting and a new HVAC system that bring a new level of comfort to the exhibition spaces, minimizing the museum’s overall environmental impact. Accessibility to visitors of all abilities was also a focal point of the building's restoration such as modernizing of all visitor amenities. Extensive repair and restoration work were also carried out at the museum’s exterior public areas and within the famed sculpture garden.


Exhibition spaces of the Neue Nationalgalerie © BBR / Thomas Bruns.


Finally, the renovated Neue Nationalgalerie is set to reopen in the summer of 2021, with an exhibition dedicated to the American sculptor Alexander Calder (1898-1976) - discover more about Alexander Calder on Kooness - in the steel and glass upper level of the building. Calder has been associated with the Neue Nationalgalerie for decades through his major work "Têtes et Queue" (1965). The outdoor sculpture was installed for the opening of Mies van der Rohe's architectural icon and now returns to the museum's terrace with the reopening on August. The exhibition “Alexander Calder. Minimal/Maximal” traces the special relationship between size, scale, and spatiality and will have a particularly magical effect in Mies van der Rohe's restored architecture.


Neue Nationalgalerie "Têtes et Queue" by Alexander Calder, 1993 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Reinhard Friedrich.


Visitors will therefore find out some of Calder typical “works in motion” or kinetic sculptures, in addition to the outstanding permanent art collection that includes big names such as Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol and Richard Serra, constantly enriched with new acquisitions. The opening program also includes an architectural film installation by Berlin artist Rosa Barba.


Cover image: Neue Nationalgalerie "Têtes et Queue" by Alexander Calder, 1993 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Reinhard Friedrich.

Written by Giulia Caruso

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