In 2023, special temporary exhibitions in the Berlin Museum of Photography feature works for children, documenting the holocaust, and photos by Helmut Newton and Alice Springs.
Special exhibitions in the Museum of Photography (Museum für Fotografie) in Berlin in 2023 will include as usual a selection of photos by Helmut Newton and Alice Springs but also wide-ranging topics by other artists. Early in the year, works for children will be a lighthearted approach to photography. Flashes of Memory, in stark contrast, presents a critical account of visual documentation created during the Holocaust by German and Jewish photographers, as well as by members of the Allied forces during liberation. Further exhibitions in 2023 include a retrospective on Alice Springs, an exhibition by Michael Wesely, and the use of polaroids by top photographers. Buy tickets for the Museum of Photography online in advance.
Museum of Photography in Berlin
The Museum of Photography (Museum für Fotografie) is one of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin institutions that is often missed by visitors. It is not in the traditional museum areas of Museums Island or the Culture Forum but rather on the “wrong side” of the Zoologischer Garten Bahnhof station in the western parts of central Berlin.
The museum is home to the vast collection of photography of the Kunstbibliothek and the works of the Helmut Newton Foundation. Photos from these collections and others are used for frequently changing temporary exhibitions.
The Museum of Photography is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 19:00 (20:00 on Thursdays). Buy tickets online and go directly to the entrance — time-slot reservations are not currently possible.
Exhibitions in the Museum of Photography Berlin in 2023
The following temporary exhibitions are scheduled for the Museum of Photography in Berlin in 2023 and early 2024. Some exhibitions run concurrently, which offers better value for money — try avoiding periods when new exhibitions are still in preparation.
Bird’s-Eye View – Worm’s-Eye View. Photography for Children
8 October 2022 – 19 February 2023
For the first time, the Museum für Fotografie is opening its doors explicitly to children. Some 160 works illustrate the uses of photography and its compositional and expressive forms, from the early years right through to the present.
Artists such as Lyonel Feininger or Hannah Höch dealt with the connection between childhood and imaginative perception in their work. In this vein, the exhibition is broken up into 10 associative sections, each of which features a wealth of diverse images and stories. They touch upon themes related to conceiving, collecting, and narrating images; to reading numbers, letters, or clouds; to discoveries in everyday life, at school or while traveling; to natural phenomena in the city and the countryside, family albums, and photo booths. The play of color, light, reflections, and materials are as important here as cryptic elements or moments of fun and seriousness.
A selection of printed matter, drawings, sculptural objects, and films round off the show, which focuses on the concrete and sensuous materiality of original photographs, and allows visitors to attend a “school of seeing”.
Vogelschau und Froschperspektive. Fotografie für Kinder — A special exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Flashes of Memory. Photography During the Holocaust
24 March – 20 August 2023
The international Holocaust remembrance center Yad Vashem is showing its acclaimed exhibition Flashes of Memory, which was first displayed in January 2018 in Jerusalem. It presents a critical account of visual documentation – both photographs and films – created during the Holocaust by German and Jewish photographers, as well as by members of the Allied forces during liberation. The exhibition shines a spotlight on the circumstances of the photograph and the worldview of the documenting photographer – both official and private – while emphasizing the different and unique viewpoints of the Jewish photographers.
Flashes of Memory. Fotografie im Holocaust — A special exhibition of Yad Vashem in collaboration with the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Alice Springs. Retrospective
3 June – 19 November 2023
To mark 100 years since the birth of June Newtown (also known as Alice Springs), the Helmut Newton Foundation is dedicating a large-scale retrospective to this photographer, with more than 200 photographs spread across the entire exhibition space of the first floor of the Museum für Fotografie. Alice Springs and Helmut Newton exhibited their work together on various occasions, especially as part of their joint photography project Us and Them. In 2010 and 2016, major Alice Springs exhibitions were put together by the Helmut Newton Foundation.
In her numerous portraits of fellow photographers – including Richard Avedon, Brassaï, Ralph Gibson, and of course Helmut Newton – and of celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Audrey Hepburn, Christopher Lambert, and Claude Chabrol, Alice Springs manages to capture not just the appearance of her subjects, but also their aura. The silent dialogue that leads to these extraordinary portraits seems to be founded in a deep affinity. Alongside these often iconic portraits, there will also be a range of new discoveries featured in the retrospective, which in turn will be accompanied by a major monograph.
Alice Springs. Retrospektive — A special exhibition of the Helmut Newton Foundation
Michael Wesely in the Museum of Photography Berlin
29 September 2023 – 11 February 2024
This exhibition presents works by the internationally renowned photographer Michael Wesely (born 1964) in dialogue with works from the Photography Collection of the Kunstbibliothek that focus on the phenomenon of how the medium of photography captures time. This includes snapshots and time-lapse exposures, multiple exposures, and serial photographs.
There will also be dialogues around the subject matter of the pictures. In his complex series, Wesely photographed plants, landscapes, buildings, demonstrations, and portraits, and these will be paired with pieces in the Photography Collection that speak to each of these elements.
A special exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
2 December 2023 – 19 May 2024
The technology of the Polaroid camera revolutionized photography. Anybody who has ever used one of these cameras will never forget the smell of the developing emulsion and the fascination inspired by its instant photographs. Helmut Newton also loved taking photographs with a Polaroid. From the 1970s onwards, he used these devices extensively, particularly during his fashion shoots. As he once said in an interview, he was motivated by the impatient desire to immediately know how the scene looked as a picture. In this sense, a Polaroid is a little like a conceptual sketch, and also helps to check the lighting and image composition. At the same time, Polaroid snapshots possessed significant allure for many artistic photographers, particularly because of their objecthood and the possibility of experimentally reusing the image.
So this exhibition does not just feature the Polaroids of Helmut Newton but also works by numerous colleagues, such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Mary Ellen Mark, David Hockney, Ulay, Carlo Mollino, Luigi Ghirri, Maurizio Galimberti, Hannah Villiger and Cathleen Naundorf. This group exhibition brings together the various techniques of working with the Polaroid camera in the most diverse formats, with each photographer represented by a group of works.
A special exhibition of the Helmut Newton Foundation
More on the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
Note: Most Berlin museums and similar sights are open in 2023. Timeslot reservations are essential for only the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum and Das Panorama. Timeslots are released only around four weeks in advance. Tickets are available from GetYourGuide that seem to have timeslots available when SMB has already sold out — many passes or multi-museum tickets are again available. Individual museum ticket prices range from €6 to €14 (€20 for special exhibitions). Online tickets are skip-the-line — go directly to the gallery entrance to scan the code.
For more general information on the Berlin State Museums:
- Top National Museums and Galleries in Berlin (brief overview)
- Berlin State Museums: What Is Seen Where? (a short description of the collections in the different museums)
- New Opening Hours of Berlin State Museum (2023).
Regular opening hours not currently in use: Berlin State Museums Opening Hours (9 to 5 was always going to be too simple)
- Ticket Prices for Berlin State Museums (prices for museums, temporary exhibitions, combination tickets, online time-slot reservations). Buying online from GetYourGuide is a lot simpler and costs the same as the official museum website. Timeslot reservations are essential for the most popular museum!
- Save with the Berlin Museum Pass – 30 museums in three days for €29 – a fantastic savings deal. Buy at Tiqets as an instant-use mobile ticket.
- Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (official website in German & English).
News & Temporary Exhibitions:
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2023 — overview, in the Kulturforum, in the Neue Nationalgalerie, on Museum Island, and the Museum of Photography.
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2022 — overview, in the Kulturforum (David Hockney), in the Neue Nationalgalerie, on Museumsinsel, Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art, and the Museum of Photography.
- The Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Schloss opened with exhibitions by various museums. The Ethnological and Asian Art museums fully opened on 17 September 2022 — admission is still free and currently without the need to book a timeslot.
- The Gemäldegallerie is partly closed until September 2023 but at least 75% is open at any given time.
More Museums Reviews and Museum-Specific Information:
- Alte Nationalgalerie with Caspar David Friedrich paintings.
- Altes Museum with Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art.
- Ethnological and Asian Art Museums in the Humboldtforum.
- Friedrichswerdersche Kirche with free collection of 19th-century German sculptures.
- Gemäldegalerie with its collection of German and Dutch Old Masters and Italian paintings.
- Kunstgewerbemuseum (Decorative Arts)
- Musical Instruments Museum near the Berliner Philharmonie.
- Neue Nationalgalerie with early 20th-century art and Alexander Calder exhibitions.
- Neues Museum with bust of Nefertiti.
- Pergamon Museum with Ishtar Gate.
- Pergamon Museum Panorama Exhibition with Asisi panoramic painting and Greek statues.
- Photography — Helmut Newton collection and historic photos.
Previous Temporary Exhibitions:
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2021 — including the reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie, as well as the Ethnological and Asian Art Museums in the Humboldt Forum.
- Top Special Exhibitions in 2020: Highlights, in Kulturforum, on Museum Island, in the Hamburger Bahnhof, smaller museums, and the opening of the Humboldt Forum in December.