C/O Berlin is a foundation, thus independent from state grants and capitalist interests. It is focused on fostering contemporary and young-blooded photography. In 14 years, the team has grown from three founders to a group of 53 people that guarantees independent exhibitions. After many years of residing in the “Postfuhramt” in Berlin Mitte, this extraordinary cultural institution has found a new place to stay for the next 16 years: the Amerika Haus.
950,000 visitors, 14 years of experience and 3 relocations are part of C/O Berlin history. Already, there are 18 exhibitions planned for the next season. After more than 3,000 people said goodbye to the old venue at Postfuhramt, the Grand Opening of C/O Berlin at the Amerika Haus in Charlottenburg on October 30 brings an altogether different wave of excitement.
The Grand Opening will be inaugurated by an exhibition showcasing the contact sheets of famous Magnum photographers like Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Leonard Freed, Thomas Hoepker, Inge Morath, René Burri, Eve Arnold, Josef Koudelka, Gilles Peress and Alec Soth. It will also be the first time for ‘Portraits of Now’, where visitors will have the opportubity to contribute to the exhibition by using a photo automat that was especially built for this exhibition and shoots in the style of Magnum photographers Elliot Erwitt und Paolo Pellegrin.
The third exhibition opening on October 30 will be a tribute to the venue itself. ‘I was in love with that city’, will show previously unreleased photographs of Berlin after World War II that were shot by the person whose art brought photography into the Amerika Haus for the very first time in 1957: Will McBride.
But C/O won’t forget about its own history and traditions, even over such an extraordinary event: This autumn, the opening will also feature the promotion of a young photographer and a critic in the framework of the ongoing ‘C/O Talents’ competition with their own exhibition and catalogue. The 30th edition of this special exhibition will feature Luise Schröder and Hannah Petersohn with their ‘Work on Mythology’
Before the much-awaited event in October, everyone is encouraged to support the reconstruction of the house. Finance only through private donations and entry tickets, C/O Berlin needs 100.000€ to finance the inner reconstruction of the Amerika Haus in order to elevate it to a level that is at par with international modern and professional museum infrastructure standards. To collect the required sum, a crowdfunding campaign has been started and is ongoing until August 10.
The delicate building from the ‘50s looks back at a very colorful history: during the early 20th century, the area hosted a lieutenant’s club and a funfair, and from the ’40s, Nazi-art was exhibited on these grounds. To make a historic difference, the Amerika Haus was built here (a worldwide used concept of the US to re-educate the people of war-shattered countries in western culture). Many Berlin residents were happy to find forbidden books and art works from the Nazi era. It was also quite popular to get informed and entertained at the regular film screenings. But when anti-American protests came up in the late ’60s and ’70s, with eggs and Molotov cocktails being thrown at the most American institution of all in West Berlin, the Amerika Haus began to shut itself away from the outside world. After 9/11, it was not possible to enter through the barbed wire and complicated security door system without an invitation. When the American Embassy was relocated to Brandenburger Tor, the Amerika Haus became somewhat of a sleeping beauty, waiting to be kissed awake by C/O Berlin.
The Grand Opening of C/O Berlin takes place on October 30, 2014 in Hardenbergstraße 22-24 in Berlin-Charlottenburg.