22/02/2007

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Die Zeit 22.02.2007

Hanno Rauterberg takes a look at Büro Graft, the architectural office that has won the bid to build an art hall on Berlin's iconographic Schlossplatz. At the moment, the demolished remains of the Palast der Republik – the 'Palace of the People' of the former GDR - are being cleared away, in 2010, the foundation stone of the Humboldt-Forum will be laid and then Graft will begin building its privately-funded exhibition space for Berlin's "young, successful art scene." Of the design that has been published in the art magazine Monopol, Rautenberg writes, "The idealism is great, the enthusiasm overwhelming. But not because Berlin needs such a pavilion. With its size – not even 1000 square metres – it won't be able to compete with other spaces in Berlin. Much more important is its symbolic value: Berlin is loosening up. No other architects have been able to design something promising for this depressing space. Graft did. The design looks like a glistening vision in the middle of desolate emptiness. They distance themselves from all the political debates, they remove their building from history, they want to build a cloud."


Frankfurter Rundschau 22.02.2007

The second album by the German boy group Tokio Hotel – from the East German city of Magdeburg - comes out tomorrow. Elke Buhr looks at the phenomenon, which has created both devoted fans and avowed enemies, and discovers unimagined power. "On stage, Bill turns into the kid kaiser of the German pop scene. In an effortless flirtation he wraps thousands of screeching girlies about his little finger. He writhes like Iggy Pop's grandson, and has perfected all the major gestures of sing-along animation, conducting the undulant hysterical masses with utmost elegance. In tandem with his young, mostly female fans, the androgynous David-Bowie-child Bill Kaulitz develops a striking form of sexual energy, an eroticism of the 'as if.' At the same time as he re-enacts all the age-old, bow-legged rock poses, he charmingly buries them as well."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 22.02.2007

Jonathan Fischer reports on conflict in the USA around the question of whether Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is black enough to represent Afro-Americans. "'Is Obama black enough?' That was the title of a recent story in Time Magazine, and the people there weren't the only ones to ask the question. Afro-American media are engaged in fervent debate about whether the senator - who in eleven years has catapulted from state jurist to the sensation of the 2008 presidential election campaign - is black at all, or if he represents 'black American experience.' For one thing, that has to do with his own past. He had a sheltered upbringing in Hawaii, and studied at the best universities. For another, it has to do with his parents. His father is Kenyan, his mother a white native of Kansas. His multicultural origins may have helped Obama win the sympathies of the American middle class. But that is exactly what the self-appointed custodians of Afro-American authenticity find suspicious. For example, conservative cultural critic Stanley Crouch wrote in a column for the New York Daily News that the immigrant's son lacks direct ties to the history of slavery and the civil rights movement. His article was entitled 'Obama: Not Black Like Me'."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 22.02.2007

Twenty years after the death of Andy Warhol, the paper dedicates a lengthy interview to artist Richard Pettibone, who explains why he paints paintings that – apart from the size – resemble Warhol's to a T. And he tells how it all began: "I was with him shortly before he died, and showed him a series of thirty-two soup cans.... He said he thought they were great. I gave him one, and he said, but then one of the series will be missing. I said no problem, I'll replace it. I asked him which soup he wanted and he said immediately: tomato soup." Another text gives a short portrait of Pettibone, and here a link to Google Images.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 22.02.2007

Jonathan Fischer takes a look at the relationship between pimp and pop. He finds that HipHop has a tendency to ally itself with porno, as in the "black 'adult entertainment'" of copulation comedians such as Rudy Ray Moore or Redd Foxx; at the same time he sees evidence of an "implicitly racist marketing policy: white youth should be able to project their fantasies on black video strippers, while rap makes clear that it's dealing with 'hoes' and 'bitches', subhuman beings. And the female rappers? Obviously, Missy Elliott, Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim are only all too happy to play along with the stereotype. Recently there were protests when the rapper Nelly, from the deep American south, rapped 'I said it must be ya ass / cause it ain't ya face' while in the video, a stripper pulled his credit card through her rear."

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