Berlin /Art Hate-o-meter

Berlin and its art scene have long past the age of no man’s land innocence- the city is growing, the art scene tries to find it’s pace. Growing pains and conflicts come with it. As a mental exercise for the upcoming bb and in celebration of Easter  I wanted to attempt a collective Berlin-Art Hate-o-meter.

Athens Christmas 2008 - one of the most beautiful "public art" pieces. Fire was started by anarchists, rumor is it was the idea of an artist (friend).

Berlin /Art  Hate-o-meter

On the occasion of the bb beginning on 27.04, bpigs in inviting its readers in an oppinion exercise. What are top 5 things you absolutely dislike, disagree with in the Arts and/or in Berlin? This exercise is not meant to advocate violence or intolerance. It is an exercise in defining. Defining your standing point, your belief system, your limits, your oppinion. What good will it bring? Not much, but it is good to keep in mental shape. Send us your answers (5 points+short explanation)  at info(at) We will post all serious answers with a full name as soon as we get some.

Political Correctness

Bored and (disproportionately) uninhibited by alcohol, at an opening, talking to this random guy, I let myself politically slip (and slide..) I asked him if he, as a Spanish guy had a problem I had just confused him for a Mexican. When his eyes failed to light up with laughter I strived to explain, I, as a Greek, would be insulted if I were to be confused for a Cypriot.That led to more confusion despite my half-baked reassurence attempts that I was being ironic. It was ironically the same guy who tried to feel me up in an empty parking lot, later the same evening,  his sensitivities being limited to foreign affairs and all. This is for example one of the many occasions I hate men.

ahm...Did she just write hate?

A work I will never forget and an oasis of clear, political thinking in a rather uptight Documenta five years ago was the video Them by Artur*. In a fifteen minute video we see members of four antagonist political youth clubs (left, right, religious extremists and anarchists if I am not mistaken) meet in a big studio space. Wearing different T-shirts colors (as in silly TV games) and given artist material and a canvas they are asked to express their political believes using the visual language. Taking turns they act, and react on the canvas, adjusting, overwriting, deleting the political message of the previous group with their own. The situation escalates rapidly, colors set aside, the canvas is cut, and in the end set on fire. I cannot think of a more successful example of art as a social catalyst, this work is truly inspiring to me. With that work in mind I was quite excited to see if he would take a similar approach in his curatorial of the upcoming Berlin Biennal and how the German art community would react to it. Germans are, I believe, naturally conflict shy( or maybe unnaturally), or better they are conflict resistant, absolutely hate-proof. When in my first months in Berlin (in 2000) I had asked fellow twenty somethings to share the most insulting, nasty word combinations they could think of in German I only got stuff like Tele Tubby Zurückwinker, Warm Duscher, Fest Telephonierer and maybe the very bold Sozial Demokrat. I cannot be sure if it is out of a collective guilt for the past, fear to be identified with extreme political believes or a core believe in unity and conformity, probably all of the above. But man! The only thing that is NOT tolerated in Germany is hate. It is like a blind spot, and judging from what we have seen so far  this is the spot Sir Artur is targeting. I asked everybody I met this weekend for their hates, not everybody answered. One Bambi eyed response was “I am not a hater“. This phrase makes no sense to me (What is a hater? What is a lover?) but then again fear is rarely dictated by logic.

Political correctness +TV Reality Shows = Forget it  (this in England)

Berlin and its art scene have long past the age of no man’s land innocence- the city is growing, the art scene tries to find it’s structure and pace. Growing pains and conflicts come with it. Besides it is maybe my only political believe that political (or any) correctness has no place in art.  As a mental exercise for the upcoming bb I wanted to attempt a collective Berlin-Art Hate-o-meter.

Berlin Friedrichshain(left) Berlin Mitte (right)

Where do you want to start?
Guggenheim vs Kreuzberg affair, which translates into old Berlin vs new Berlin, media(expatriate) scene vs local scene. Or the How-can-you possibly-suggest-burning vs We-did-not-say-burn-we-said-recycle Sarrazin’s book debate. While we are at it, Sir Artur’s relationship with the press is not one of love either. Then we have got abc versus Artforum or some galleries you cannot mention versus some other galleries you cannot mention, or (why not mention it) Index versus Pigs. We have even had a Damien Hirst vs Monopol als Verdauungs-Likör. Everybody seemed to hate Cyprien Gaillard for a while last year, before that it was Jonathan Meese, after that will be (my personal guess) Oliver Laric, whose show a few weeks ago everybody rushed to see- and hate. A lot of people I know do not care for performance art, but I believe no medium grits more teeth than painting, this old fashioned, well oiled, money making machine. People in Mitte despise Friedrichshain, people in Kreuzberg despise Mitte- everybody hates the people in Prenzlauer Berg because they got all the nice apartements and go Bioooo and Yommm. Many many Berliners absolutely hate tourists, and even expatriates who moved here five years ago, complain about the ones who moved  here two years ago. My understanding always was that Germans make fun of the Sachsen and hate Bayern, but I was lately told it is the Schwabben that are hated the most- as the generation of the new hipsters, who, like tourists, are hated by everybody, even by hipsters themselves, as this is the fashionable thing to do.

Maria Santos, my self and our favorite Gast Autor Christian Müller share their personal Hate-o-meter here. I would like to ask you (and you, and you) to do the same. What are top 5 things you absolutely dislike, disagree with in the Arts and/or in Berlin? This exercise is not meant to advocate violence or intolerance. It is an exercise in defining. Defining your standing point, your belief system, your limits, your oppinion. What good will it bring? Not much, but it is good to keep in mental shape. Send us your answers (5 points+short explanation)  at We will post all serious answers with a full name as soon as we get some. The guy with the books has got 8 so far. I believe we will not get much more. Prove me wrong!

*as nobody in Berlin seems to be able to pronounce the last name of the bb curator, everybody is just saying Artur- which clashes a bit with the seriousness of the whole situation and his profile. We in pigs, suggest an ammendement to Sir Artur.

In Trafalgar square they got rid of the pigeons to make more room for tourists

Christian Müller- Autor und Koch@ Kantine

In dem Kunst Kontext

Englische Titel für Ausstellungen als "Konzept"
Lieber Kurator, lieber Künstler, es mag hart klingen, aber nur dadurch, dass du deiner Ausstellung einen englischen Titel gibst, wird sie dadurch nicht besser oder interessanter und für den internationalen Kunstmarkt oder sonstwen auch nicht "relevanter". Wenn ich Titel wie: WE´RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT höre, dann werde ich ein bisschen rot und schäme mich. Und das solltest Du auch, Namensgeber.
Hilflose Performances
Donnerstag abend bei einer Gruppenausstellung mit doofen Namen in Kreuzberg: Ein junger Mann kniet am Boden, seine Boxershorts bedecken seinen Hintern, seine Jeans ist wesentlich zu tief gerutscht, so hart arbeitet er daran, mit Draht und schiefen Ästen sowas wie eine Leiter zu bauen. Als er der Meinung ist, sein "Werk" vollbracht zu haben, steigt er auf die erste Sprosse, welchen sich sogleich unter seinem Gewicht löst und nach unten rauscht. Die Fragilität der Konstruktion tritt nun noch stärker zu Tage, die "Leiter" wackelt und wabbelt, die Nummer ist eigentlich durch, bevor sie richtig angefangen hat. Doch jetzt kommen von allen Seiten diverse nette Menschen und helfen ihm, dem Performance Künstler, halten, drücken, schieben, sichern. Denn er will nach oben, in Richtung Decke. Das klappt dann auch, irgendwie. Falls die Idee hinter der Arbeit die war, sich öffentlich bloß zu stellen, dann hat es richtig gut geklappt.
Lutz Bier
Voll gut, dass es bei Eröffnungen umsonst ist, es ist aber eben auch nicht lecker. Man trinkt es aber dennoch, es ist ja schließlich umsonst...
King Size Bar
Ein Mittwoch Abend genügte, denn was ich da sah, machte mein kleines, reines Herz sehr traurig und schwer. Junge Menschen, die sich prostituieren, noch billiger als eine Ecke weiter auf der Oranienburger Strasse. Nie wieder möchte ich an diesen dunklen und bösen Ort!
Helene H.
Taucht in letzter Zeit immer im Schinkel Pavillon (und nicht nur dort) auf und rempelt da den Simon an. Das hat der nicht verdient. Er ist ein guter Junge! Jedes weitere Wort zu ihr wäre eines zuviel.

sometimes tarring and feathering does not seem like such an extreme punishment, thinking of the author of this poster

in Berlin

Vorallem die, die über meinem Fenster sitzen und um 4.30h des Sommers anfangen zu gurren. Gerne würde ich diese Tiere mit Gewalt vertreiben, nur das Gesetz hält mich davon ab, noch.
Der Stadtteil der für mich einfach komplett unsexy ist. Geradezu ein Ausschlusskriterium für jegliche Interaktion. "Du kommst aus Friedrichshain?" - "Ja." - "Schönen Abend noch."
Ein weiterer wenig infallsreicher Punkt, aber so ist das nunmal mit solchen Listen. Man hat es selbst schon 1000 mal gesagt: es nervt, wenn man zu einem Treffen eine dreiviertel Stunde unterwegs ist. Deshalb verlassen ja angeblich manche Menschen Mitte nur alle paar Monate mal. Nächste Woche Mittwoch geht's nach Kreuzberg, aufregend.
Nicht nur als Radfahrer muss man sich die ganze Zeit aufregen, bzw um sein Leben fürchten. Wie in Berlin gefahren wird ist wahrscheinlich "kreativ", wie ja alles hier. In der zweiten Reihe wird geparkt als ob es kein Morgen gibt. (Dass es doch ein Morgen gibt hört man dann um 7 Uhr, wenn irgendwo dauergehupt wird, weil jemand eingeparkt wurde) Und keiner tut was dagegen! Für einen Polizeistaat!
Touristen in Gruppen
Stehen rum, blockieren den gesamten Bürgersteig, Radwege, Strassen. Touristen raus! Berlin den Berlinern! Und den zugezogenen Schwaben!

Despina's top 5 in the Hate-o-meter

In the Arts

Stepford Hypocrites Contemporary
The reluctance to offer a personal opinion, the fear of standing out or displeasing and the amount of zombie cloned crap you hear at openings is mind blowing. It is a cult and it is spreading quicker than the Nothing in the Neverending story. (Die unendliche Geschichte, Michael Ende). This, in a nutshell, why you should all start writing in bpigs. (Phillip!)
Pretentious Nobodies
If you were hired to answer the phones, darling, then I am sure your job description does not include the words manager or director, stop behaving like one. You are serving steaks my friend, not gold and for the last time: if you charge for drinks IT IS NOT A VIP PARTY! I would like to differentiate at this point from pretentious somebodies, who annoying as they may be, have actually achieved something. Pretentious nobodies are the spam in our civilization’s inbox and will be hanged upside down from the Oho House’s sun deck umbrellas when the revolution comes.
These are a particular sort of pretentious nobodies. The ones with money. From my days in a private school in Athens to my nights in Kingsize and to my dying breath. Whenever I see your empty, bored, blase look, know that I might be smiling, but I mentally run over your face with a train. Every time.
Graffiti Rebel Art
I enjoy the walls of the city being full with taggs in colorful layers, I have great respect for the social critic exercised by amatuer sprayers and I also respect the occasional Lutz ich liebe Dich. Es tur mir leid, Melde Dich! But the one dimensional Volks-ism, the lack of originality and paper thin symbolisms of the graffiti painter/stenciler slash rebel on the streets or in the Gallery makes me want to hurl.
Art Cougars
It is kind of a tie for me, between the naked female performance artists (usually rolling in mud or blood or something) and the art cougars. Women who will use their power to surround themselves with younger boy toys whilst not giving female artists any opportunities. There are men in power who surround themselves with Pretty Young Things too, true, but then, at the end of the day they do tend to exhibit almost exculisvely men. Get it ladies?

left -Athens 2008, right (although it does not really look it in this pic) Berlin 2012, büro Lombardo workshop

in Berlin

Dead End Left 
I have long since come to terms with how little the art scene has to do with creativity and originality, but the lack of flexibility, humorless, petty, narrow mindedness, endless bickering (and that slight touch of chauvinism) you can meet in the political left movements baffles me every time. From the wooden language, to the 35.678 votes they have to take before even deciding what to vote. It is devastating how un-free the people who are working on changing the system really are.
The Friedrichshain-Mauerpark Bermuda Strecke
“Offene Heizung“, a WG with more than 2 flat mates, dreadlocks, weed in any form and the phrase “einfach mal chillen“ were absolute deal breakers even in my punk days. And though I had my first apartment in Berlin there, I soon moved out. Friedrichshain is the place where style, aesthetics and personal hygiene go to rot. Mauerpark is the Reich of the allowance hippies. I would rather take the midnight express than ride on the number 20 tram one more time.
New Köln 
While I have many good friends living there I find myself more and more irritated by the young American/Expat scene, camping in the extended area of Kreuzköln, refusing to learn German, filling the place with their “forgotten bars“ and actually having the nerve to complain about the rents getting higher.
Digital Communication Slops 
An invite on Facebook is not personal, you do not have to answer that you’re not coming, because you have your own show that night or you are out of town. I really don’t care. If you spam me, at least have the decency to check my name and correct job title. Dear Gallerist, Dear Pig, Dear Sirs and to Whom it may concern is not likely to warm me up to you. And tagging me in a post/picture I have nothing to do with, what is that?
Bitches who laugh out loud when I say I am Greek 
I have had many negative reactions to my mentioning of my nationality in the last year. I have heard and made a lot of bad, worse and good jokes about it. But twice now, I have had a stupid bitch starting a deep, self-satisfied laugh at the merest mention of it. If I was Slim Shady I would have taken a gun and shot her, right between the eyes. Boom.

Maria Santos, catholic

In the Art Context

Extremely extrovert art initiates
Because these specimens always make the loudest, most boring and pointless statements when they seem to empathize with an art work in a level that I doubt anyone else is capable to reach, at least so publicly. As heard -and suffered- on a (several) show(s): “WOOOOW. Das gefällt mir sehr gut. JAAAAAA. Das gefällt mir!. Das finde ich eigentlich klasse, JAAAAA, JAAAA. COOL, ODER?”. And so on, in a sort of gaga loop of Stendhalian rapture.
Achtung, Achtung. GELD!
Wrongly distributed budgets in the cultural sector, the lack of recognition bzw. Professionalization. The fact that either you made it (and you are in) or you aren't at all.Shall I also say something about celebrating your 30's crisis while still interning?.
Beyond social: opening receptions at galleries
The social shit: there is always  a group who seem to enjoy dissecting the most random topics -new expensive shoes or the hmmm! so lecker lasagna from whoever's dinner last night...- RIGHT IN FRONT of a series of pictures that I came to see before joining the mandatory drinking and chit chat exercise.Other unpleasant environmental circunstances experienced: aggressive lightning, a dj playing music at 6 decibels more than acceptable, too many smartphones and/or cameras flashing at once.
The Post-internet Thing
Or any other similar art school cult brainwash. I just hate it when something meaningless gets so meme-fied without transcending (because obviously got its limitations). It kind of reminds me of Andy Warhol's quote “I'm afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning”. Yes! Just like a Beatles' song, google, -or why not?- fake marble patterns.
According to my own experience and observation, procrastinating is much more extreme in art-related occupations than in any other field. Probably because of the free nature of our work, or most likely, because of the eccentricity that led us to our current condition. I mean, profession. Althought this is not pure hate, but a truly love/hate affaire, I believe. It gets you out of your nerves, but who isn't more productive working under pressure?. Even coffee tastes better this way.

in Berlin

The hi-tech gang in the urban landscape
They are easy to spot: 1,5l. bottle of water fasten to their equally hi-tech backpacks. More hints? I could even mention two popular brands of outdoor clothing which are of my most absolute distaste but I guess you get the picture. Demi-gods hi-tech cyclists in matching tasteless cycling jerseys and aerodynamic sunglasses are honor members of this club.
But I must say this mumbling to myself, because technically they produce the main source of my incomes right now. Only the finest and most cultivated ones, of course.
There is plenty of types, but over-hormonated teens, bad-mannered, loud, saucy ones, drunkards and those who come in hordes are certainly the worst kinds.
Also priests, the pope, fanatics from all over the world and the whole catholic empire in general. But I'm specifically referring to the sisters, their alienating powers and their maths and Latin classes. Not to talk about their punishing methods.
Prenzlauer Hell
It could be a nice area to walk around but there's always the danger of being run over by a pram...  Besides I hate Kinder. And I don't mean the chocolate. Remember the Baroness in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? I can pass out like her in an ice-cream parlour. I also hate the bored couples sitting silent in front of overpriced glasses of frothed milk with a sip of organic fair trade coffee. They will eventually produce more kiddos, out of their existential boredom.

65-year-old retiree Irmela Mensah Schramm "cleans" the streets of Berlin from Hate Stickers (right wing ideology)

Double Double (formarly known as De Toffen)
Berlin Fuck You! Listen here

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