Public Tours of the Exhibition and Events

Please note: This tour is no longer available

Public Tour Through the Exhibition (in German)

For Youth and Adults

The tour presents the life work of the great Jewish artist R.B. Kitaj. His friends David Hockney, Lucian Freud and others will be discussed as well as his intellectual role models Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Sigmund Freud. They - besides his diverse reading - were sources of inspiration for Kitaj's works into which they had direct input.

From the mid-1970s, R.B. Kitaj positioned himself explicitly as a Jewish artist. He saw his work as a modern Jewish art. His images show what became an obsessive analysis of his Jewish identity.

Please note: This tour was available only for the duration of the exhibition and can no longer be booked!

Please note: This tour is no longer available

Images in Flux and Flow

For Young People and Adults

In the pictures of the painter R.B. Kitaj, countless references to various artists as well as quotations from literature, film, newspapers, and world history can be found, mixed with his personal impressions, thoughts, and experiences. The artistic arrangement of these diverse sources of inspiration gives rise to irritating interconnections between things and events. In his highly expressive and often chaotic images, Kitaj shows himself as a seeker, is everywhere and nowhere, a commuter between world events and everyday life, between Europe and America, between Judaism and atheism, between arrival and departure.

Images in flux and positioning oneself are the guiding threads through the tour and lead into contemporary issues of belonging, identity, and life in the "diasporic world."

Please note: This tour was available only for the duration of the exhibition and can no longer be booked!

Thursday 4 October 2012

The Obsessions of R.B. Kitaj

Talk and Tour by/with Eckhart Gillen

His passion for the collage of found objects from the "trove of human suffering" in the sense of his role model Aby Warburg, his passion for the history of art from Giotto through Cézanne and Matisse to his friends from the "School of London" (Bacon, Hockney, Lucian Freud), his passion for Diasporism - a search for artistic clues under the conditions of modern existence beyond the support of nations, religions, and ideologies.

R.B. Kitaj, Notre Dame de Paris 1984-1986
R.B. Kitaj, Notre Dame de Paris 1984-1986
© R.B. Kitaj Estate, UBS Art Collection, London
Thursday 18 October 2012

R.B. Kitaj's Diasporist Manifestoes

Talk and tour by/with Inka Bertz

"Will I become the Herzl (or Achad Haam) of a new Jewish art???" wrote Kitaj shortly before his death. Like many other Jewish artists and intellectuals since the turn of the century, Kitaj explored the question of a Jewish art. But in his two Diasporist manifestoes published in 1988/89 and 2007, he was the first author to proclaim a new "-ism," Diasporism, and to choose the form of the manifesto. The talk and tour explore the emergence of Kitaj's Diasporist idea and compare it with other concepts of the Jewish in the visual arts.

Monday 21 January 2013

Human Pictures

Talk and tour by/with Margret Kampmeyer
(The presentation will be held in German.)

In the 70s and 80s, Kitaj painted a series of figure paintings which differed from the complex themes of his earlier work. These images ushered in a new phase of his career in which Kitaj worked intensively with the human form, experimented with new materials such as pastels, and modified his technique. In this time, Kitaj directly confronted his own Jewishness and began to formulate his initial thoughts on his concept of a Diasporic art. The tour examines the question of to what extent the notion of a diasporic identity is present in Kitaj's body images.

Saturday 26 January 2013

R.B. Kitaj. Obsessions

Closing Reception

From 3 pm to 5 pm, Kitaj enthusiasts from the world of art and culture, among them Robert Kudielka, formerly Akademie der Künste Berlin, the artists Arnold Dreyblatt, Micha Shenbrot and Benyamin Reich, the art critics Ingeborg Ruthe and Sebastian Preuss, Eckhard Gillen and others will speak about their favourite painting (in the exhibition spaces).

Visitors in the exhibition
© Jewish Museum Brlin, Photo: Jens Ziehe

With a bit of luck, visitors who choose to purchase a lot for five euros can win one of twenty tables designed for the exhibition. Each of these tables presents information on one of R.B. Kitaj's works, along with the artist's sources of inspiration: books, texts, photographs, letters, postcards, sketches on napkins as well as newspaper clippings.

Saturday 26 January 2013

A Jew in Love. Philip Roth and R.B. Kitaj

Literary Salon

The figure of wanton puppeteer Mickey Sabbath in the novel "Sabbath's Theater" by Philip Roth was modeled on his longtime friend and neighbor, but other characters in the author's works also have elements of R.B. Kitaj. In some surprisingly delicate drawings, R.B. Kitaj in turn portrayed Philip Roth.

R.B. Kitaj: A Jew in Love (Philip Roth), 1988-1991
R.B. Kitaj: A Jew in Love (Philip Roth), 1988-1991
© Collection of R.B. Kitaj Estate

At the Literary Salon, the actor Hanns Zischler will read from novels by Roth (in German). Eckhart Gillen and Brian Crawford will discuss the special relationship between writer and artist, art and literature.

Exhibition Catalog

R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007)

"Obsessions. R.B. Kitaj" - catalog cover

Edited by Cilly Kugelmann, Eckhart Gillen, and Hubertus Gaßner, the exhibition catalog containing numerous illustrations is published by Kerber Verlag.more