Blog: Art

Nah No Worries My Friends …or NYC Adventures

I got some questions if I am alright as I have been neglecting my blog a bit – Nahhhh, no worries my friends – I am well off.  I am just scrambling right now with time! The last couple weeks I have been doing a lot in NYC and there was just not enough hours in the day to get everything and blogging done :) I’m just keeping it 100!

I spent some time at Pratt Institute to prepare things for my workshop and took dorky pictures at  The InkPad later ….but hey …I think my high school art teacher would faint if she could see this – LOL


I had amazing students and I loved the room I am teaching in too …and btw …I got a locker for my supplies – YEAH- hahahaha- I know, crazy Europeans …get excited over lockers ;)


The other reason I spent loads of time in NYC …particularly at MoMA, was that I took a four week long class on Cubism there. Corey d’Augustine was the Instructor and as the classes I had taken with him in the past, this was awesome. I learned a lot.


Here is Corey in front of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon showing some early signs of cubism and the influence of African Masks.


One of the best things of the class was, that I could convince my friend Julie to join me …although she told me she “hates” cubism and if the class stinks she would “let me know” every single session. We are still good friends…so I think it wasn’t that bad for her- LOL


The most amazing thing about these classes is, that you are with about 5 people alone in the evening in the gallery – you can see paintings up close and without a crowd of people poking their cameras in front of you – love !!!


Even on the flatest Cubist Paintings the brush strokes and hand of the artist are evident …makes me always super happy to see this!


here a close up of Umberto Boccioni’s Dynamism of a Soccer Player. I definitely appreciated the return of color into Cubism – the super intellectual approach to Cubism is interesting and I appreciate it but it is not really my cup of tea


Picasso’s Three Muscians make me happy :)


and collage elements like in Kazimir Malevich’s Reservist of the First Devision.

While walking around I also took notice of those non-cubist paintings – which totally inspired me at home to take a different approach to a new urban painting- I will share later :)


Paul Klee’s Pastorale (Rhythms) – the sgraffito …LOOOOOOOVEEEE


Jean Dubuffet’s Building Facades – OMG – I wanted to touch it …so so cool – I didn’t …believe me…I would not want to be excluded coming back to MoMA- LOL- it is my second home ;)


but seriously …look at that!!!

And then some wonderful friends from back “home” came to visit


And it was wonderful to spent time with them and speak Denglish …that is what happens when you have English in your head and try to speak German ….the first three sentences are a weird mix – LOL. Miss my friends already.


We went to ….MoMA – yep – I spare you with more MoMA pictures and walked from there to the Rockefeller Center and well…then just up ;) Nice view… I like that you can see Jersey City on the right corner :)


After a stop for Korean BBQ in Korea town we passed the Flat Iron building and walked down to the Highline. It is fun to play tourist in NYC especially when the weather is so nice!


I just love the Highline- yes it is crowded but the views and the different perspective of the city is just awesome.


I loved this sculpture called “physical graffiti” by Damian Ortega which looked so cool against the wall.


And this is the last picture …which is a pretty good one for a last picture of a post :)

Hope you had fun seeing what I was up to in the last weeks in the city …now …of for some studio time ! Have a gorgeous day you all!


Comments (9)

  • Joi@RR


    Always always enjoy a glimpse at your world Nat. This was wonderful. The gallery and paintings were so interesting. Thanks bunches and bunches for sharing. j


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Thank you Joi- glad you enjoyed the photos! If I cannot take you guys with me into the gallery, then it has to be this way, right? :)


  • Sue Clarke


    I’m guessing that the Flat Iron building is the one on the corner that is kind of a triangle? I LOVE to take pics of those types when I am in Boston.
    Thanks for the photos and no worries on not posting…figured you were crazy busy being successful.


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Sue, yes that one is the Flat Iron Building. We have a tiny one here in Jersey City too – maybe every city in America has one :)


  • Angi eharis


    Living in the jungle in a remote part of an island most of my life, I have not gotten to see many museums so I cannot tell u how much I enjoyed this post, all of the cool city pics! Tx for sharing and inspiring, I cannot stop staring at the kazimir collage, I am in Loooove! Aloha, angi in hana


  • chrisdomino


    The Three Musicians is one of my favorites.As I grew up in the NYC area, I so miss MOMA as I live in Michigan but do enjoy the DIA here.


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Oh I would love to visit the DIA some time -sounds like a treat too :)


  • Seth


    What a wonderful tour of such wonderful experiences. Looks like you have been having the best time!


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The Whole Truth or…A Day in The Jewish Museum in Berlin

Disclaimer: This post is a very deep post. It contains my personal emotional and thought provoking experiences of visiting The Jewish Museum in Berlin. I write about this because this visit has impacted me a lot and I would love to share this because this blog is about my art work and my life as an artist. My art is often very emotional and a lot of my art work is influenced by experiences like this one. I would like to ask to keep any comments respectful – this is a very sensitive topic and I must say I am a bit scared to write about it.

I will not tolerate any hate-related comments. If you feel the need to do so- you are welcome to go to a far remote place in blog land and never ever return back to this website – because then this blog is clearly not written with you in mind!



A couple months ago when Julie and I had already scheduled her visit to me, I heard about the Exhibition “The Whole Truth…Everything you always wanted to know about Jews” in The Jewish Museum Berlin. Many controversial newspaper articles can be found about this exhibition especially the part of the exhibition which became known as the “Jew in a Box”. In the exhibition a Jewish Person sits in a kind of a clear box and can be asked questions about Jews and Judaism. When Julie and I heard about it and read the articles we started discussing this a bit. It started as a discussion between an American and a German, a Jew and a non-Jew, two friends striving to understand cultural, historical and religious differences. We decided we would have to go ourselves to Berlin in order to have an opinion about this exhibition. And so we went.


The building itself is very impressive – there is an old part of the building as well as a new one built by architect Daniel Libeskind. I cannot remember when an architectural building had such a strong emotional impact on me.

Throughout the building Libeskind has created so called voids, empty spaces which represent the absence of Jews from German society.



One void is called “Holocaust Tower” . It is very oppressive and moving. It’s a 24 meter/78.7 foot high shaft of concrete illuminated by a single source of light.

The other void which left an unbelievable emotional and physical impact on me was a Memory Void containing an installation titled Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves) by Menashe Kadishman. “Over 10,000 open-mouthed faces coarsely cut from heavy, circular iron plates cover the floor”.



Upon nearing this void Julie and I heard this incredible loud noise which from a far away distance sounded first as a remote noise in a very busy cafe where dishes were clanking together but once we came closer and closer the sound was getting painful and shrill. Visitors are encouraged to walk into the void which turns darker and darker in the end.



I started stepping on the first faces and I stopped right away, I felt sick to the stomach and could not walk a single step further. I think I have never had this kind of reaction to any art I have ever seen and experienced before.



The first time we went through the Special Exhibition the clear box was unattended. So we decided to come back later again. At the end of the exhibition we found this huge wall full with post-its where visitors were asked to leave their comments and questions about the exhibition. It was another deep emotional moment to read some of them – in all languages, by all kinds of different people , age groups, countries and faiths. Some post-its were rude and  made me swallow – like one in German that said: “None of my answers were answered by this exhibition and I will continue to have my prejudices” ,- many were written in a very narrow minded religious way – but there were also some like these:





Later we came back and talked to the woman sitting in the clear box. Julie and I started talking to her and my first question was “How do you feel sitting in this box” and “What was your motivation of volunteering for this” . The answers and stories about her experiences were very touching. From outraged Germans that have ties to Nazi-perpetrators to outraged Jewish people being hurt that she would sit in a box like in a zoo, from Jewish women from the U.S. starting to cry because they could not grasp that a jewish woman would live in Germany to young people asking basic questions about the religion. She told us she had wanted to do this to get to know how people in Germany feel about it because she always felt being asked many a questions anyway when she told her friends she was jewish. What she didn’t expect was how emotionally draining this whole experience would be.



During our conversation many other people joined our group from all countries, jews and non-jews and we had a very lively and very interesting discussion. It was a wonderful experience the way how we all stood there and talked with each other. And then somehow the amazing woman was not alone in the glass box anymore. She was accompanied by a friend from South America and a man from Germany who said he never makes public to be jewish out of fear for the reaction. I know it is hard to grasp if you haven’t been there or if you are full of prejudices about this exhibition anyway- but this picture and this moment was a moment of peace and made me feel that there is hope for this world.

During and after the visit Julie and I spent many hours talking about our experiences in the museum, thoughts and feelings. It was very deep and open and honest. It also reminded me that art is something that provokes thoughts and feelings. As mentioned several times, this visit in the Jewish Museum has provoked many thoughts and feelings in very different ways in me, and sharing this with a friend is an experience I will always cherish.






Comments (44)

  • Judith Kaufman


    A very powerful article. I’m Jewish and live in America. I’m proud of you…that you posted this….We must teach the world and remind them to “never forget”.
    The Fallen Leaves…brought tears to my eyes. My grandfather was one of 8 siblings. He’d come to the US many years…some of family were able to come and yet, some went back to Germany and were lost in the Holocaust.


  • Diana


    i simply can not ….. i have not a single sentence that will make sense…. thank you both for sharing your experience with each other and with all of us. Nat you are a very brave wonderful kind brave soul for sharing this with us! thank you xoxo


  • Bonnie Rabon


    There is hope. There is!


  • Willow


    Thanks so much for sharing your emotional experience visiting the Jewish Museum with Julie. I am not sure I could get beyond those cement columns out front and if I did get myself inside, I could never walk across those faces, faces of my family, my people who perished. And as others mentioned, people are still being brutally murdered. When will we ever be able to respect each other no matter our differences…


  • Laura Strack


    Dearest Nathalie,
    I too have friends that are Jewish and I love them and their families, deeply. I thank God everyday for my friendship with them. We may never fully understand how someone could have so much hatred in their heart and could support such evil doings. Thank you to you and Julie for sharing your beautiful friendship and experiences with all the world to see. It is a true testament of how God wants us to live; love one another as I have loved you.
    In love and peace, always,


  • Cuchy


    You told me about it in june but I thought it was only the cube q&a exhibit. This has had to be impressive and so emotional. Too much “fallen leaves”
    Thank you for sharing. loves


  • SusanJane


    I cried when I was in the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem so many years ago and I’m not Jewish. It strikes me again that any group no matter what religion or race or nationality has to found museums and memorials to honor so many dead. There’s so much identity and so many memories tied up in what happened. I cry not just for the Jews who suffered and died but for our species that can’t seem to live with each other and our differences.

    Art has the capacity to say things that cannot be otherwise said. Your photos are testament to the incredible power of art and the creative spirit.


  • Cindi


    Nat, thank you so much for this post, as hard as it must have been to write. What a moving experience to share with a friend, and now we blog readers can learn through you. Most of us won’t see this exhibit in person, so thank you for sharing.


  • Helen


    Bravo Natalie for posting about the experience you shared with your friend. I admire the artists who created this stark reminder of the brutality of racism and genocide. Your words made me ask myself what I can do, here and now, to welcome immigrants and refugees into my country. Thank you for your raw and visceral post.


  • Mary Werner


    Fallen Leaves is the most perfect example of ART that I have seen. Walking down that hall would have been next to impossible but probably something I would have done to deeply instill the memory of that sacrifice of God’s people. Why Jews? They were killed only because of their belief in God! It ended with the return of a portion of Israel given back to the Jews (a land born in a day – Issaiah 66.8) and we are all blessed because of them. Thank you Natalie for posting this as I would never have experienced it without your blog.


  • Nancy Sapp


    I already knew that you & Julie were great artists & teachers (I follow your blogs & posts every day) but now I know that you’re both brave. I also wondered what the noise was at the end of the tunnel.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings throughout the post.
    Grandma Nancy


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Nancy , the noise was generated by the visitors walking on the faces…the “grinding” of the iron plates when walking on them – made them literally scream. That was the sound we heard in upon nearing the void. Nat


  • Peg


    Sounds like a profoundly moving experience, I can only imagine. So special that we have come far enough that you and Julie could experience it together with love and support for each other.
    Like Martha said, this is a story that needs to be told again and again so that it is never forgotten.
    Much love


  • Michelle


    I’ve been curious about this exhibit ever since I read an article about it in the New York Times last summer. It wasn’t even up yet and people were already frothing at the mouth. I am glad someone thought if the “Jew In A Box” exhibit. The implications are serious and can be severely misconstrued but I think many people take prejudice and hatred based on “otherness” too lightly these days. This exhibit is shocking but it’s the best kind of art because it promotes open discussion- something that is much needed in this “post race” world.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts- I’ve often wondered how you felt about your country’s past. One of the things I love most about blogs is the personal stories people tell- I wish writers opened up more often. It’s hard since we blog about a very specific subject but it’s worth it. I swear if i had seen an evil comment i would have joined you in the royal blog beat down!
    I’ve wanted to visit Berlin for so long now- this makes me want to go even more! I would love to read some of the discussion you had with Julie- I bet I would learn a whole heck of a lot.


  • Deleted User


    Nat, thank you SO much for posting this. It’s such an important topic – and encompasses many topics, actually. Have you ever visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.? We went with our older teen boys years ago and it was also a very emotional experience. It’s so interesting how it’s designed. You start on an elevator that, when the doors open on the top floor, you walk out of to stunned silence as your eyes connect with larger than life photos. There were many displays that made me cry – and I wasn’t the only one. Interestingly, after the horror you’re met with upon the elevator door, as you travel down through the exhibit, it is arranged so that you become more aware of the spirit of the Jewish people, they’re hope to go on from there and the profundity of their culture. One of the most interesting – and hopeful – parts was listening to the recorded stories on a “telephone-like” device where actual Holocaust survivors are telling their stories. It was deeply moving. Don’t miss it when you get here. I’m just struck by the BEAUTY of a German Person and a Jewish Person (such as you and Julie) being able to have a heartfelt and genuinely loving conversation about all of this. There IS hope in this world despite those that would say otherwise. Thank you again for being brave enough to share! ♥♥♥


  • Nurse Ratchet


    Nat…thank you so much for sharing such a poignant and personal experience accompanied by your amazing friend with us. Your beautiful souls are such inspiration to everyone you touch whether in person or via your art. Love ya LGL!!!


  • Carrie


    Fantastic review of the exhibit and the museum space, Nat. It looks like probably the most powerful museum I’ve heard of. Even though I think almost all of us humans have some kind of prejudice whether we realize it or not, I have never understood prejudice to the point of hatred and abuse or violence. That seems to be truly the presence of evil in the world.

    The installations and the “Jew in a Box” idea are brilliant. It’s difficult for me to even look at the faces in the Fallen Leaves installation; I don’t think I could’ve walked on them.


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Inspired by Shane Koyczan or…for the bullied and beautiful


I saw this TED talk by Shane Koyczan. I think it is amazing. Shane Koyczan makes spoken-word poetry and music. This video is powerful and touching!

From “To This Day”

“…and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
get a better mirror
look a little closer
stare a little longer
because there’s something inside you
that made you keep trying
despite everyone who told you to quit…”

[ted id=1687]

And he said something else on his website which I loved so much that it inspired me to this art journal page.

“Don’t let your luggage define your travels, each life unravels differently.”


So true!


Thank you Shane for this amazing inspiration and for being such an enrichment and encouragement to other people’s life through your art!

Have a wonderful day!
huge hugs

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