Alexander Calder Untitled (1954). Calder Foundation, New York; Gift of Andréa Davidson, 2007. © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2021 / Photo by David von Becker
The bustling city is visible outside its tall glass walls, but inside the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, there is a pristine kind of quiet. Little stirs except Alexander Calder’s large mobiles, which are gently spinning from an indiscernible wind. They are part of a monumental first exhibition at the German museum, which is opening for the first time in more than six years on August 22.
One who did not know it would hardly guess the entire museum, designed by Mies van der Rohe, was just turned inside out. The bi-level museum has been meticulously restored by David Chipperfield Architects, paid for by the federal government. Few would argue that the €140 million ($168 million) renovation was unnecessary: The building had fallen into disrepair, with rust, cracks in the glass, and a pesky issue with condensation, among a long list of issues.