New Diocesan Museum in Cologne

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New Diocesan Museum in Cologne

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:41 pm

While the controversy rages on over Richter's window of the South Transept of the Hohendom, Cardinal Meisner has built and opened a new diocesan museum in Cologne. It is situated on the site of Sankt Kolomba, one of the romanesque churches bombed during the war and not re-built. The new museum incorporates the remains of Sankt Kolumba - fortunately, the great Kolumba Altar piece survives and is in the Alte Pinakoteka in Munich. The new museum was built by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.


http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=cologne+kolumba


http://www.kolumba.de/?language=ger
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Re: New Diocesan Museum in Cologne

Postby CologneMike » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:02 am

Ah….. Cardinal Joachim Meisner a Berliner with an interest in modern art, has received a lot of flak recently over his expressed disappointment with the restoration of one of the Cathedrals windows. The abstract work of 11,500 pieces of coloured glass rectangles by the artist Gerhard Richter was commissioned by a Board which he has close links to. His absence on it’s presentation day was seen by the local media as a snub! Bottom line irrespective of it’s merits or not, he did not have the balls to stand over it!

ImageImage

The following week he dug himself into more trouble at the opening of the new Cologne Diözesanmuseums Kolumba in his critic on present day art by using inappropriate language to do so i.e. “entartet” a term used in Nazi propaganda. Which rightly yielded him so a lot of bother.

Two worlds clash here, that of a “cool” Berliner living in a “happy go lucky” city of Cologne.

Pictures courtesy of Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger
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Re: New Diocesan Museum in Cologne

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:24 am

Joachim Meisner is actually from Breslau in Silesia -a distinctly Austrian part of Germany. And for one who got quite a lot of stick from the Nazis -even to the extent of having been forbidden to learn Latin and classics while in school - and to having had to leave Breslau as a refugee after the war when the city suddenly became part of Poland, it not very convincing of certain parts of the German press (especially the Koelner Anziger) to portray him as somehow connected to the little man.

It should not be forgotten either that his proposal was have a figurative window depicting saints connected with Cologne, including Edith Stein aka Sr. Benedikta a Cruce. This proposal can hardly be taken as a serious fascist proposal -as the Anziger seems to suggest. Edith Stein, a Jewess, was also born in Breslau, studied under Martin Husserrel, converted, entered the Carmelites in Cologne, went into hiding in Holland, her university collegue and fellow philosopher Martin Heigegger betrayed her hiding place to the Gestapo, she was arrested and murdered in August 1942 in Auswich.

Praxiteles is inclined to think that this dispute is symptomatic of a re-appraisal of the post-war modernism so eagerly espoused in Germany and which has held unchallenged sway there up to recently. With regard to the consequences of that reappraisal for religious art and architecture in Germany, the writing of the Frankfurt poet Martin Mosebach are influential and may well be behind Meisner's position on figurative art.

Praxiteles is not inclined to give much heed to anything poublished by the Koelner Anziger. The paper takes the odd position taht on any given subject there can obly be one idea or position -usually supplied by itself- and it is fairly fast off the blocks in branding anoyne porposing an alterbnative view as fascist or Nazi. It is indeed a strange turn of events in post war Germany if Nazi has been redefined to mean anyone with an alternative point of view! - but then stranger things have happened - such as the rehabilitation of Martin Heidegger, the sort of person that few would ever want to bring home for supper.

The window was installed in the Cathedral by the Chapter which has autonomous control of what happens in the Cathedral. Indeed, up to quite lately the Archbishop had to have its permission to enter the building!
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Re: New Diocesan Museum in Cologne

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:24 am

More on the state of Cult and Culture in Germany:

http://www.ftd.de/politik/deutschland/:Kardinal%20Meisner%20Kritik%20Skandalpredigt/253330.html

From the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

http://www.faz.net/s/RubC4DEC11C008142959199A04A6FD8EC44/Doc~E7D0461E2A59D493A8DCD0395688841F9~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html

More on the same from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

http://www.faz.net/s/Rub5A6DAB001EA2420BAC082C25414D2760/Doc~E20879672758F40A28973F28E6B66565C~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html

Here is a beauty from the Hannoverian female landbishop Margot Kaessman: Abstraction can be an inter-religious language!! THat is a bit too abstract for poo old Praxiteles!!

http://www.faz.net/s/RubC4DEC11C008142959199A04A6FD8EC44/Doc~EF04F4602549648E08AAC4FAC96DDFBB3~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html
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Re: New Diocesan Museum in Cologne

Postby CologneMike » Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:25 pm

Praxiteles, he was in fact born in Breslau and there was I thinking all these years that this former Bishop of Berlin was a Berliner and thus his non-acceptence at first by his flock, had nothing to do with being a Berliner, but the fact that he is simply not from the Rhine Land.

You are also correct in saying that the Cardinal did not want this abstract work for the window but preferred a traditional motif depicting saints or martyrs. In fact his close loyal board responsible with the running of the cathedral building would also have been happy with a similar window. However over the years no design for a traditional motif was forth coming, therefore instead an alternative artful solution was voted on by the board. Result “coloured glass rectangles” by Gerhard Richter and a moaning Cardinal not wanting to accept the consequences for himself for being too passive or what?

I was surprised that a large window in the form of modern art was installed in the Cologne Cathedral but will have to wait to see it for myself to pass judgement on it.

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger Newspaper Insider Report.

Köln - Das neue, vom weltberühmten Maler Gerhard Richter entworfene Fenster in der Südquerhausfassade des Kölner Doms wurde gegen den Willen des Kölner Erzbischofs, Kardinal Joachim Meisner, realisiert. Dies berichtet der „Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger“ unter Berufung auf einen langjährigen engen Vertrauten Meisners. „Der Kardinal wollte dieses Fenster nicht“, sagte der Insider der Zeitung. Er habe sogar versucht, die Verwirklichung des abstrakten Entwurfs von Gerhard Richter mit seinen 11200 Farbquadraten zu verhindern. Es sei darüber zu heftigen Auseinandersetzungen mit dem Domkapitel gekommen, dem für Betrieb und Ausstattung des Doms zuständigen Gremium. Meisner hatte an dem Gottesdienst zur feierlichen Einweihung des Fensters am Samstag nicht teilgenommen. Dompropst Norbert Feldhoff machte dafür aber auf Anfrage „rein technische Gründe“ geltend.

Meisner, der durchaus als Freund moderner Kunst gilt, hätte nach dem Bericht der Zeitung auf der mehr als 110 Quadratmeter großen Fensterfläche lieber figürliche Darstellungen gesehen - Heilige zum Beispiel oder Märtyrer des 20. Jahrhunderts. Eine solche Lösung hätte offenbar auch im Domkapitel ihre Anhänger gefunden - wenn es denn gelungen wäre, einen überzeugenden Entwurf zu finden. Da dies über Jahre nicht der Fall war, sei Richters gänzlich anders geartetes Konzept schlussendlich „eine willkommene Lösung“ gewesen, so zitiert der „Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger“ den Vertrauten des Kardinals. Feldhoff bestätigte, dass es im Kapitel keine einstimmige Entscheidung gegeben habe. „Wir leben ja nicht in der DDR. Einstimmigkeit in einer solchen Frage hätte bei mir eher Skepsis ausgelöst.“ Nach dem Bericht des „Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger“ hätten sich im Kapitel schlussendlich aber selbst diejenigen Mitglieder des Gremiums, die in Kirchenkreisen gemeinhin zu den treuen Gefolgsleuten Meisners gerechnet werden, - mit einer Ausnahme - für Richters Entwurf ausgesprochen.

Der ursprünglich geplante Weihtermin hat sich nach Feldhoffs Worten verschoben und kollidierte dann mit einer seit langem geplanten Polenreise des Kardinals. „Das war mit ihm besprochen“, so Feldhoff. Sein Sprecher Christoph Heckeley verwies auf eine seit langem geplante Polenreise, von der Meisner erst am Sonntag zurück gekehrt sei. „Mit mir hat der Kardinal nie über das Fenster gesprochen“, so Heckeley. Dompropst Norbert Feldhoff sagte auf Anfrage, er werde zur Haltung Meisners „mit Sicherheit nichts sagen“.


Praxiteles, nobody has a problem with the content of Cardinal Meisners personal critic on art. A lot of people would differ with him. Nobody is branding him as a fascist but when he put his foot in it, he got rebuked for using an expression “entartet” to criticise art, similar in jargon used by Göbbels to devalue art forms despised by the Nazis. (In the 1930’s the national socialists confiscated around 16,000 works of modern art to symbolise the introduction of a cleansing of German art collections. In Munich Hitler’s chief propagandist Joseph Göbbels initiated an exhibition dealing with “Entartete Kunst”. They showed 650 pieces of confiscated works of art taken from 32 German museums.)

He was not just criticised by the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, but right across media landscape. All the main political parties condemned him outright, even the conservative Christian Democrats blasted him. The Central Council for Jews in Germany attacked him with very biting commentary. It’s nothing to do with political correctness but German society does not tolerate any ambiguity from it’s public figures unintentionally watering down the crimes from it’s national socialist past.
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Re: New Diocesan Museum in Cologne

Postby trace » Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:37 pm

Jörg Biesler's article originally appeared in the Frankfurter Rundschau on September 18, 2007.
http://www.signandsight.com/features/1550.html
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Re: New Diocesan Museum in Cologne

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:36 pm

An interesting article in Stimmen der Zeit:


http://www.stimmen-der-zeit.de/StdZ_01_08_Mennekes.pdf
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