1. Can you tell us how you got connected to Deutsches Haus at NYU?
I started working as a student worker in the fall of 2012 at Deutsches Haus and I knew Martin from an internship five years ago in the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. In October we met about this project and I started working on the exhibition in January. It has been really great to work so close to school in such a friendly environment.
2. What were your most exciting and challenging moments at Deutsches Haus so far?
The project had many exciting and challenging moments. It was the first exhibition I curated with historic material and the administration of displaying images was quite challenging, as we had to acquire the rights to reproduce of each image. Also, the insurance and the art handling was new territory and felt at first challenging to me. I think my three favorite exciting moments were when we put the artworks up for the first time, seeing people looking at the exhibition and being interested in it and when a lender told me while talking about the photograph of Jack Dempsey and Charlie Chaplin that he knew both of them. A lot of work went into the exhibition, and seeing people enjoying and interested in it makes it all really worth it.
3. You were curating the exhibition about the history of Deutsches Haus as a building: what was the most interesting aspect for you about the building’s history?
The most interesting aspect for me is to think about the building’s history as microcosms to the history of the Mews, Greenwich Village and in general to these very historically fascinating places that are often forgotten about in New York City. It is really fascinating that a row of stables was turned into purposely-built artist studios with the best light, a garden to contemplate ideas, and all the fancies that a great studio requires. All of this was done in 1916 and it was seen truly as a business enterprise. The New York Times writes on 12/19/1916 when “the landlords will wake up to the fact that art pays better than business”, which signals the importance of art and artist districts in New York City since the early 20th century. The history of the place and the building is so fascinating and fluid and suggests many many more stories that could be told through historical buildings in the city.
4. Which feature of the exhibition do you like best and why?
We really tried to present the history of the house not so much as facts, but as stories that reflect a certain Zeitgeist and activate the past. This story aspect is my favorite feature of the exhibition as it really gives a certain character to the exhibition. Also, I think the concept that you tell history on the walls that contain this history is also a really beautiful feature of the show.
5. What fascinates you generally about culture and art?
It fascinates me because the “Earth” without “art” is just “Eh” :)
6. Do you have a favorite museum in New York?
I really like MoMA Ps1. The exhibitions present new and different ways of thinking, I love the concept of making a school into a museum, the events are always interesting, the bookstore is great, the cafeteria is even greater, and NYU students get in for free.
7. What do you find most inspiring in New York?
I am inspired by the drive people have living here. There is so much to do and everything is always possible, and this drive and thrive for the better makes people sleep in tiny dirty apartments and pay a fortune for rent. This belief that something great will happen through hard work while in New York, is in my opinion the reason for the productive, upbeat dynamic and really fascinates me here.
8. Is there anything you really miss from your home country Austria?
It’s cheesy to say, but I miss my family the most. Austrian chocolate and dark bread are on place two and three.