In response to the energy crisis, the Berlin museum turns off its neon Dan Flavin for the first time in 26 years

A site-specific order by Dan Flavin at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum of contemporary art in Berlin has been extinguished for the first time after a 26-year run, as Germany tries to reduce its electricity consumption in response to the crisis European energy.

On October 18, the recently appointed co-directors of the Hamburger Bahnhof, the curatorial duo Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, set fire to the powder of the American artist Untitled (1996). Since the museum opened in 1996, the works had illuminated the building’s windows and stone facade in neon green and yellow: a bold proclamation of what to expect inside the former 19th-century train station .

“It is important that we, as an internationally renowned museum, lead by example in the current situation and make our contribution to saving scarce resources,” said an official statement from the museum’s co-directors posted online.

The move comes after Berlin’s environment senator Bettina Jarasch announced in July that architectural lighting at city landmarks would be turned off to save energy, including the Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column.

While Flavin’s work is expected to be reactivated in April 2023, Fellrath said The arts journal that there were other factors that also influenced their decision. “Anyone who has a public voice, whether in a small organization or at the Hamburger Bahnhof as a national gallery for contemporary art, has a responsibility to use it wisely by contributing to the general issues of the society in which it In this sense, we consider it one of our main tasks to lead the discourse on issues of sustainability, diversity and inclusion.

He added: “We are sure that many museums are asking similar questions at the moment, finally also due to soaring energy prices which will have a significant impact on cultural funding in general.

The Hamburger Bahnhof does not plan to stop further electrical work, but is also complying with federal energy-saving measures implemented by the German government this month.

Federal and state rules currently only apply to public buildings, however, members of the private cultural sector, such as Berlin’s video art collection, the Julia Stoschek Foundation, are also voluntarily following suit. “As of November 1, we will turn off the exterior lighting of our building from 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. We want to contribute to a collective effort to save scarce resources,” said Robert Schulte, director of the Julia Stoschek Collection Berlin. The arts journal.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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