Symposium, Digital

Expressionism Revisited
Question of the Day: Contextualization (DE)

Dr. Natasha A. Kelly: Black Expressions: „Milli“, Nelly und Sam and Dr. Julia Friedrich: Bild und Gegenbild. Otto Mueller und Peter Nestler im Museum Ludwig, Köln


Dr. Natasha A. Kelly (scholar, author, independent curator, and artist): Black Expressions: „Milli“, Nelly und Sam

Following the path of the Black models of the Brücke artists, Dr. Natasha A. Kelly explores episodes of Black German history from a Black feminist perspective. Through her artistic and scholarly reflection on the social context of German Expressionism, she provides an opportunity to actively observe colonialism and the enduring coloniality in Germany.

Dr. Natasha A. Kelly is a scholar, author, independent curator, and artist. She works at the intersection of science and art, questioning Eurocentric concepts of knowledge, power, and the body from a Black feminist perspective. Her art installations have been exhibited at venues such as the Deutsche Historische Museum (2017) and the Berlin Biennale (2018). Since 2019, she has held guest professorships at various universities in Germany and the United States. Currently, she serves as the founding director of the first Institute for Black Art, Culture, and Sciences in Düsseldorf.


Dr. Julia Friedrich (Jüdisches Museum Berlin): Bild und Gegenbild. Otto Mueller und Peter Nestler im Museum Ludwig, Köln

How can we approach Otto Mueller’s Two Gypsy Girls with a Cat (1926/27) today? How to navigate the anti-Roma tradition in which the painting is situated, along with its contradictions? Is it even about Mueller’s gaze or that of the audience? With the installation Image and Counter-Image (2019/20, Museum Ludwig), I juxtaposed the painting for the with a film: Peter and Zsóka Nestler’s Being Gypsy (1970), a documentary about the persecution and murder of Sinti and Roma. A second gaze was added to the view of Mueller’s painting, one that complemented, contradicted, and revealed the historical trajectory. Instead of limiting art to its socio-historical context, the installation sought the historical dimension within the art itself. The conflict of two gazes aimed to enable a third gaze: the audience’s gaze upon itself, upon the presuppositions it brings and attaches to art.


Dr. Julia Friedrich is the Collections and Exhibitions Director at the Jewish Museum Berlin. From 2004 to 2022, she worked at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, where she curated numerous exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and managed the Haubrich Collection. In a variety of publications, she has engaged with artists and the social function of art. One of her research focuses has been art policy and collection practices in post-war Germany.

This is a closed event with a limited number of participants. The event will be digitally broadcast live.
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