Deutsches Haus at NYU presents “Thingstätten,” an exhibition curated by the photographer Katharina Bosse. Between 1933 and 1936, so-called "Thingstätten" (literally: thing sites) were erected as propagandistic open-air theaters and meeting places in early Nazi Germany. Four hundred Thingstätten were planned and around sixty were constructed. Many of these barely known sites can still be found scattered across Germany, Poland, and Russia—some forgotten, some still actively in use as open-air theaters. In the deeply researched photobook Thingstätten (Kerber, 2020) and interactive website, an interdisciplinary mix of international artists, scholars, and writers facilitates a critical examination of the unusual history of the Thingstätten, and how this forgotten problematic past continues to manifest explicitly and implicitly in our present moment.
The exhibition opening was held on September 7, from 6 to 8 PM, and included a conversation between the curator and photographer Katharina Bosse, Rebecca Hackemann (Kansas State University), and Sarah Girner. The exhibition will remain on view at Deutsches Haus at NYU through October 27.
The exhibition includes works by the artists Katharina Bosse, Rebecca Budde de Cancino, Doug Fitch, Jan Merlin Friedrich, Jakob Ganslmeier, Andrea Grützner, Rebecca Hackemann, Konstantin Karchevskiy, Hendrik Lüders, Daniel Mirer, Felix Nürmberger, Ralph Pache, Abhijit Pal, Philipp Robien, Jewgeni Roppel, Simon Schubert, Kuno Seltmann, Erica Shires, and Thomas Wrede.
Katharina Bosse was born in Turku, Finland, but now lives in Bielefeld, Germany. Bosse received a diploma from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, where she is now a Professor of Photography. Katharina Bosse initiated, organized, and edited the Thingstätten Project. She contributed works throughout the book on several Thingstätten in North Rhine–Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Saxony, and Saxony-Anhalt, with analog & digital photography, video interviews and written texts.
Rebecca Budde de Cancino was born in Werther, Germany, and now lives in Bielefeld, Germany. Budde de Cancino graduated from the sculpture class at the Academy of Art, studying as a “Meisterschülerin” under G. Herold. Rebecca Budde de Cancino contributed an ongoing work of conceptual installation.
Doug Fitch was born in Philadelphia, USA, and lives in New York City. Fitch graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Visual Studies. He is a known opera director and prefers to work with media such as architecture, puppetry, and food. He also developed a performance of the the Buddhist Deity Yamantaka for the Thingstätte in Herchen with a volunteer team of 16 people.
Jan Merlin Friedrich was born in Bielefeld, Germany, where he still lives today. He received his BA in Photography from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Jan Merlin Friedrich contributed video documentation on the performance of Doug Fitch at Herchen.
Jakob Ganslmeier was born in Munich and now lives in Berlin and the Hague. He studied at Ostkreuz School in Berlin and received his BA in Photography from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Jakob Ganslmeier photographed in Vogelsang and Herchen for his project “Skin, Stone.”
Bernhard Gelderblom was born in Schwetz, Germany, and now lives in Hamelin. He graduated in History and Politics, as well as Lutheran Theology, after studies at the Universities of Münster, Vienna, Bonn, und Göttingen. A selection of his publications include “Die Juden von Hameln von ihren Anfängen im 13. Jahrhundert bis zu ihrer Vernichtung durch das NS-Regime” and “Die NS-Reichserntedankfeste auf dem Bückeberg 1933–1937.” For this project, Bernhard Gelderblom wrote about the history of the “Reichsthingstätte Bückeberg.”
Andrea Grützner was born in Pirna, Germany, and now lives in Berlin and New York. She received her BA in Communication Design at HTWG Constance and her MA in Photography at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Andrea Grützner was a member of the Waldbühne Berlin team, and also traveled to Prieros in Brandenburg. Her work can be seen in the Thingstätten book on pages 197–202
Rebecca Hackemann, born in Karlsruhe, Germany, is a British-American artist who maintains a studio in Kansas City. Hackemann holds a PhD in Critical Practice from UAL, Chelsea College of Art London, UK (2019), an MFA from Stanford University, CA (1996) and was a Whitney Museum Independent Study Program fellow in 2000. She is Professor of Photography / Art at Kansas State University. Her public art project "Visionary Sightseeing Binoculars“ was installed at Berlin, Borna, and Herchen, Germany.
Konstantin Karchevskiy was born in Russia and currently lives in Kaliningrad. He graduated from Moscow State University in 1989, with a degree in Geography Science. Karchevskiy gracefully shared his collection of former East Prussian Thingstätte for this project.
Hendrik Lüders was born in Lüneburg, Germany, and now lives in Hamburg. Lüders received his BA in Photography from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. He worked with Daniel Mirer on the Northern route, providing color photography, video camera and interpretation skills on Thingstätten in areas such as Bergen, Hösseringen, and Stedingsehre. He also photographed the performance by Doug Fitch in Herchen.
Daniel Mirer was born in Brooklyn, USA, and lives in the Bay Area of California. He received his BFA from Pratt Institute and his MFA in Photography from the California Institute of the Arts. Daniel Mirer traveled the northern route including Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig Holstein, as well as Berlin. His work consists of Black and White Photography reminiscent of ﬁlm noir, interspersed throughout the book. Mirer has also contributed a great number of video interviews to www.thingstaetten.info.
Felix Nürmberger, born in Hof, Germany, lives in Munich. He received his BA in Photography, Graphic Design and Film from Nuremberg University and his MA in Photography from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Nürmberger travelled the southern route to Bavaria and Baden- Württemberg, and Stolzenau in Lower Saxony.
Ralph Pache born in Waiblingen, Germany, lives in Berlin. He received his Diploma in Photography from Bielefeld University of the Applied Sciences. Ralph Pache was a member of the Waldbühne Berlin Team.
Abhijit Pal received his BA and MA in Fine Arts from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, India, and his BA in Photography from Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany. He lives in Delhi, India. Abhijit Pal contributed his conceptual work “Propaganda Display” as documentary photography of Vogelsang and Wattenscheid.
Philipp Robien was born 1988 in Cologne, Germany, where he lives today. Philipp Robien received his BA in Photography from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. He was a member of the Bad Segeberg and Stedingsehre team.
Jewgeni Roppel, born in Kazakhstan, lives in Germany. He received his BA in Visual Communications at HAWK Hildesheim, and his MA in Photography from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Roppel traveled to the East and West: from Góra Świętej Anny to Jülich he photographed in Poland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, and North Rhine–Westphalia.
Simon Schubert was born in Cologne, Germany, where he still lives today. He graduated in Fine Art and Sculpture from Dusseldorf Art Academy. Simon Schubert contributed the conceptual art work “Foldings.”
Kuno Seltmann, born in Lüdenscheid, Germany, lives in Hamburg. Seltmann received a BA in Media Studies from Siegen University. Kuno Seltmann contributed a ﬁlm on the performance of Doug Fitch in Herchen.
Erica Shires was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA, and now lives in New York City. She received her BFA in Media Arts / Art History from Pratt Institute and her Digital Interdisciplinary MFA from CUNY. Erica Shires traveled to the Thingstätten in Lower Saxony and North Rhine–Westphalia, contributing ﬁlm and photographs of Mülheim, Hösseringen, Northeim, Herchen and Lamspringe. Her cinematic view is featured in many sections of the book.
Gerwin Stroblm, born in Linz, Austria, lives in Cardiff, GBR. Strobl is Professor of Modern History (in the GBR styled as “Reader”) at Cardiff University. He studied at Salzburg and has taught at Eton College and the London School of Economics. He publishes both in English and German, and is the author of The Swastika and the Stage: German Theatre and Society 1933–1945. His most recent publications are “Das Spiel in der Unfreiheit: Gedanken zum Theater im NS-Staat” in Brigitte Dalinger (Viktoria Zangl, eds.), Theater unter NS-Herrschaft, and “Hitler, Wagner und die nationale Sinnsuche” in Syvia Bier, ArnoMungen et al. (eds.), Hitler.Macht Oper: Propaganda und Musiktheater.
Beata Wielgosik is a researcher and writer for the St Annaberg Park in the Region of Opole, Poland.
Thomas Wrede, born in Iserlohn, Germany, nowlives in Münster. Thomas Wrede received his MFA at Münster Academy of Fine Arts. He is Professor of Photography and Media at the University of Fine Arts Essen.
Stefan Wunsch was born in 1966 in Düren, Germany, and now lives in Cologne. He graduated with a degree in History, Political Science and English Literature from Cologne University. He is research director at Vogelsang Academy IP and the National Socialism Doc- umentation Centre. Some of his publications include Bestimmung: Herrenmensch. NS-Ordensburgen zwischen Faszination und Verbrechen. Stefan Wunsch contributed the text on Vogelsang.
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This event will take place at 42 Washington Mews. This semester based on NYU guidelines, in-person events will be open to members of the general public.
This exhibition and opening event are made possible through an endowment established by Roger J. Schnetzer.