Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures | The Opening

This was the opening weekend of the exhibition “MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES“: After a month of closure, the museum has been shining in new splendor since last Friday, October 2, 2020. With the exhibition curated by Jaime Rojo and Steven P. Harrington (Brooklyn Street Art), the URBAN NATION Museum has finally opened its doors again – the retrospective has been enthusiastically received by visitors despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID 19 pandemic. (more…)

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With “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” the URBAN NATION Museum presents the world’s most comprehensive retrospective of Martha Cooper’s photographic work. Using photographs and personal objects, the exhibition traces Cooper’s life from her first camera in 1946 to her current reputation as one of the first documentarists of the Graffiti and Street Art Movement.

The ongoing COVID 19 pandemic presented our team – like many other hosts – with great challenges. The health of the visitors and employees of the URBAN NATION Museum is a top priority. To avoid long waiting times in front of the museum, our new digital ticket system was used for the first time on Friday.

Urban Nation Museum. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. New Exhibition. Urban Art. Street Art. Photography.

MULTIFACETED FEATURESThe exhibition shows selected works from Cooper’s life’s work in individual chapters, including many previously unpublished pictures. Special attention is paid to Martha Cooper’s extensive travels, children playing with homemade toys as well as the artistic environment of the photographer. 35 of the so-called “remixes” will be presented, which were created by artists based on Martha Cooper’s photographs, but also as homage to her and her oeuvre. Visitors will also be given an exclusive insight into Cooper’s collection of sketchbooks (“Black Books”) and memorabilia.

Urban Nation Museum. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. New Exhibition. Urban Art. Street Art. Photography.


In the entrance area of the exhibition was a sketchbook in which visitors could immortalize themselves during the opening weekend with a greeting to Martha Cooper. In the run-up to the exhibition, the museum’s social media called for visitors to send in stickers they had produced themselves. Since then, we have received many envelopes with stickers from all over the world every day. The Sticker Wall was covered diligently throughout the weekend. Stickerheads are still invited to send stickers during the exhibition period or simply stick them themselves when visiting the exhibition.

Urban Nation Museum. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. New Exhibition. Urban Art. Street Art. Photography.

Further information on numerous exhibits and around 1,200 additional photographs can be accessed on tablets. All devices are regularly disinfected by our staff.

The accompanying exhibition catalog with essays by Carlo McCormick, Steve P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, Sean Corcoran, Susan Welchman, Akim Walta, Nika Kramer and Jan Sauerwald is available at the museum since Friday. The extensive hardcover shows previously unpublished pictures of the photographer on 244 pages. In exciting interviews, Martha Cooper’s work is illuminated from different angles and honored by companions.


Particularly positive was the willingness of all opening participants to comply with health and hygiene regulations. Since the number of people who are allowed to stay in the house at the same time is regulated, safety distances could also be maintained without any problems during the opening. The numerous disinfection stations within the exhibition were generously used. We are glad about your support in terms of compliance with health regulations and your understanding for any restrictions.

All those involved in the exhibition, both the team on site and Martha Cooper and the curators in New York, are very pleased with the first days of the exhibition. We are looking forward to ten exciting months with “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” at the URBAN NATION Museum!

(Museums Management: Jan Sauerwald)

Photos: Nika Kramer