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Kerry James Marshall speaking at the American Academy in Berlin. (Credit: Photos by Annette Hornischer | Courtesy the American Academy in Berlin)

Our class, Curatorial Practice: Past and Present, filed into the American Academy — a mansion buried deep in the affluent Berlin neighborhood of Wannsee — on a beautiful sunny day. Any sense of intimidation we could have felt at the very formal invitation we received to the American Academy’s event, “The End Of Criticality”, a master class with Kerry James Marshall, quickly melted away once he began his talk. A sweet, friendly man whose warm laugh immediately puts one at ease, Marshall is one of the most important and influential painters today. Our curatorial practice class was joined by art students from the Universität der Künste and Freie Universität. During his talk, Marshall spoke with us about everything ranging from ways of approaching art institutions built on a foundation of exclusion and exploitation to how his own love of the image began.

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choir

Benjamin Sivo and Muhammad Osman Ali Chaudhry (left to right, both BA 2017).

Muhammad Osman Ali Chaudhry is a third year BA student at BCB. I meet him after a rehearsal in the factory to discuss the play he has written, is directing, and will be acting in. The plot is simple, the dialogue dense. It tells of the love story between two young women whose relationship seems doomed from the start. The play brings us into their internal turmoil as communication breaks down and they become increasingly isolated from one another. There is little set decoration but intensely cinematic lighting which fades in and out throughout the play. Osman plays the narrator. A character who remains in the background though he is brought into dialogue with the protagonists in a dreamy surreal manner throughout the play.

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Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon, ‘Self Portrait’, 1972.

In little rooms stacked like blocks, lining the pristine streets, they wait. Eyes big as street lights shine from their heads, heavy with anticipation, swaying side to side under the weight of waiting. Small bursts of excitement leave their lips like barks. Nervous bones lead to pacing and strange habits.

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