UN-FOLD – About the vernissage of the new exhibition and the opening of the artist residences

After a two-week renovation phase, the URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART opened its doors on September 27th with a brand new exhibition curated by director Yasha Young. But not only that, also the worldwide unique Artist in Residence Programme started officially and completes the lively and interactive concept of URBAN NATION. The visitors were thrilled during the opening weekend.


URBAN NATION looks back on an exciting 5-year history. A lot has happened during this time and this is exactly what the exhibition URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART is all about. Under the title “UN-derstand the power of art as a social architect”, visitors of the second exhibition of the still young museum will be able to experience the history of the museum very closely. The exhibition interactively traces the genesis of an art movement that belongs to one of the most successful of the present: Urban Art!

URBAN NATION turns its back on the white cube and presents the new exhibition in a black box. Just as Urban Art artists often work in the dark and concealed, the exhibition architecture presents its contents via targeted light points in the black room. Visitors can expect more than 100 artworks by renowned artists from the collection of the URBAN NATION Museum in the new exhibition. Among them are Adele, DFACE, Herakut, James Bullough, The London Police, Mimi S, Shepard Fairey, Borondo and many more. A timeline along the gallery on the first floor also explains the history of the museum, from the vision that was concretized in 2013 to the opening of the second exhibition in 2018.

“We nurture talent. We support the artist or working creative talent or the talent of kids living in the projects who normally would not get in contact with art. We support neighbourhoods and promote direct exchange, without cultural fears of contact. We are a connecting, creating and caring for a global community, kept together by art and its power as a social architect,” says Yasha Young, curator of URBAN NATION. Young’s now realized approach also includes the title of the new exhibition, which quotes Beuys: The power of art as a social architect.

The exhibition is interactively structured and traditional viewing habits are questioned. Walking through a film tunnel, the flood of images and sounds illustrates the complexity of all URBAN NATION projects and shows the multi-faceted nature of the artists’ positions and the techniques used. The famous Martha Cooper Library has now also opened its doors and welcomes visitors with all their precious works. Selected books have been scanned and can be viewed on tablets to allow visitors to browse through them as well.

The museum also shines from the outside in new splendour

Probably no other facade is as changeable and shapes the urban cityscape as the facade of the URBAN NATION museum. The undoubtedly largest work in the new exhibition hangs outside. The English artist duo Snik has taken over the facade of the URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART with a total of 350 meters of hand-cut stencils. They describe their work as a tribute to Mother Nature, but also as a warning signal and an appeal that current environmental pollution, resource exploitation, and habitat destruction are no longer acceptable. In the spirit of URBAN NATION’s “Connect” approach, Snik spontaneously brought Hera from the artist duo Herakut on board to design the new facade together.

Artist in Residence Programme  

Under the motto “UN-cover the power of art as a social architect”, the eleven artist residences in the URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART were inaugurated. Curator Yasha Young’s long-cherished vision of the living museum has now become reality. Up to 33 up-and-coming and established artists per year will have the opportunity to concentrate exclusively on their creative process on a total of 1,100 square meters. The residences invite to network, to dialogue and to engage with urban contemporary art in the middle of the metropolis of Berlin. The international artists will be accompanied by professional mentoring from the curator Yasha Young. On the opening weekend, visitors were offered an exclusive look behind the scenes of the residences. The first residents – DOT DOT DOT, SellFable, Onur, Wes21, Quintessenz, Louis Masai, Ludo, Snik, Li-Hill, Herakut, NeSpoon and Mia Florentine Weiss – invited visitors to their apartments, showed their works and provided insights into their craft. More info about the Artist in Residence Programme

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. As always, admission is free.

photos by Nika Kramer

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