The next day, we made our way to Milan. By the time we made it up the Duomo, the sun was beginning to set and surrounded us in soft, golden light as we overlooked the city. Having braced ourselves against the cold for so many days, this felt magical. I remember the warm light, scattered across the façades and our faces, far better than the actual view.
The following day, each program separated. The artists visited the Pinacoteca di Brera, Museo del Novecento, and a Jim Hodges exhibit at the Massimo De Carlo Gallery. I personally loved the Novecento for its wide breadth of artwork, all made throughout the 20th century. The Jim Hodges exhibit was also spectacular. His work involves texture and light, both on canvas and sculpture. My favorite pieces were those he installed in the courtyard. Appearing to have been cast from trees, the black underside alluded to decomposition or death while the rest was blanketed by gold, suggesting immortality and beauty. They were quite alluring, and it was hard for me to walk away.
That afternoon, we returned to our hotel exhausted but jittery with excitement – this evening we’d be jetting off to Berlin! After getting scolded by the concierge for sleeping in the lobby (whoops), we hopped on our shuttle to the airport, stuffed our faces with Burger King, and scurried onto the plane. It seemed everyone was asleep from take-off until the next morning, only opening our eyes to collect our bags, mount and dismount the shuttle, and walk into our hostel.
The morning air was very brisk, but no one cared. Guten Morgen! Ein schöner Tag! We were in Berlin! Having visited once before, I was ecstatic to return and explore parts of the city I hadn’t before. We spent the morning by walking along the main street in Tiergarten and popping into various contemporary galleries. My favorite exhibitions were Philipp Fürhofer at Galerie Judin, whose show consisted of illuminated pieces constantly in flux, and Miklós Onucsan at Galeria Plan B, whose piece “Pattern for a Sphere” was mesmerizing, despite its simplicity. It was an “infinity” of clementine peels in various shapes, all connected through an invisible point in their centers.
That evening, we were lucky enough to visit Ben Rubloff, a Cornell MFA graduate who now lives and creates work in Berlin. He described his work and artistic journey, giving us wonderful insight on the art world and how to traverse it.
I made it clear to everyone that our night couldn’t end without currywurst, the signature German street snack. Everyone agreed, it was wunderbar (my favorite German word, meaning wonderful)!
Our final day was also wunderbar. Crossing the magnificent Spree river, we began at the Neues Museum. The number of ancient relics in this museum is breathtaking. In addition to various beautiful stone busts, the museum most famously houses the Nefertiti, a stucco-coated limestone bust of the Egyptian queen, created in 1345 BC. Unfortunately, photos of her were not allowed!
We ended the day at the Jewish Museum, which was a somber but beautiful experience. I returned to Roma, sad to leave Berlin but excited to be reunited with the cobble stones and pizza!