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Time to hit the museums!

Coinciding with Fashion Week that took place in February, "In Your Face", the first exhibition by star fashion photographer Mario Testino, opened in the exhibition rooms at the Kulturforum at Potsdamer Platz. With nudes hanging next to fashion photographs and snapshots in both black and white and color, the exhibition, which continues until July 26, 2015, comprises 125 photographs reflecting the diverse range of Testino's work. At the exhibition's opening, Testino, born in Peru and now living in London, declared himself a fan of Berlin: "Berlin has played an important role in the development of my work. As a collector of contemporary art for over 20 years, I keep coming back to Berlin to discover new and exciting work. This is my way of saying thank you to this wonderful city."

PHOTOGRAPHY: PEOPLE AND PLACES IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA

Photography lovers are advised to visit the Helmut Newton Foundation at Zoo Station before May 17. To celebrate the museum's 10th anniversary, around 200 new photos from the Foundation's collection, including portraits of David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini, are currently on show. Just a stone's throw away, at the C/O Berlin gallery in Hardenbergstraße, the impressive work of a star photographer of a quite different sort can be seen from April 18 to August 16. Sebastião Salgado has traveled through 32 countries, bringing back impressive black and white photographs of volcanoes, icebergs and deserts for his exhibition "Genesis". They are intended as a call to civilization to preserve creation.

BERLIN CATHEDRAL: ART IN THE CHURCH

Berlin Cathedral is the fitting venue for a brand new exhibition called "Du sollst dir (k)ein Bild machen", or "Thou shalt (not) make an image". The Cathedral has been almost completely emptied to accommodate the exhibition. Altar, candlesticks and paintings have been removed to make way for works by Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramovic, Daniel Richter and Miwa Yanagi. These works, alongside pieces by Max Beckmann and Hans Arps and the ivory crucifix from the Bamberg Cathedral treasury, explore the prohibition of images in Islam and Judaism. The exhibition also examines changing approaches to representations of God in Christianity. It opened on March 1 and continues until June 14.

MARTIN-GROPIUS-BAU: ARTWORKS FROM ISRAEL

Exciting exhibitions are always a certainty at the Martin Gropius-Bau. In 2014, visitors stood in line for Ai Weiwei and David Bowie; in 2015 works on loan from Tel Aviv are set to draw the crowds. To mark the 50th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel, 70 masterpieces on loan from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art will be shown in Europe for the first time. The exhibition, entitled "Tel Aviv Museum of Art Visits Berlin" includes paintings, sculpture and graphic works by Max Beckmann, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso and Egon Schiele. It also includes video works and installations by Israeli artists. An exhibition on the ZERO art movement also promises to be interesting. In the 1950 and 60s, artists such as Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker joined forces in an attempt to create a new beginning for art in the wake of World War II. Works conveying a sense of new-found freedom by 40 different artists will be on show at the Martin-Gropius-Bau between March 21 and June 8, 2015.

ALTE NATIONALGALERIE: OPPOSITES ATTRACT

No two eras can have been quite so diametrically opposed as impressionism and expressionism. The exhibition "IMEX. Impressionismus - Expressionismus" at the Alte Nationalgalerie explores the differences and similarities between these movements while also examining what makes them so popular. The exhibition comprises approximately 160 masterpieces by impressionists such as Monet, Renoir and Liebermann and the expressionists Kirchner, Heckel and Nolde. On show between May 22 and September 20, 2015, the exhibition will occupy the gallery's entire middle floor.

GEMÄLDEGALERIE: REDISCOVERED RENAISSANCE

Sandro Botticelli was one of the most important painters of the Renaissance period. Almost condemned to obscurity like many of his peers, his art was rediscovered in the 19th century. Artists such as Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol have engaged with his work, and even pop star Lady Gaga has a soft spot for him. Alongside around 20 original works by Botticelli never before seen in Berlin, including "The Mystical Nativity", the Gemäldegalerie, in cooperation with London's Victoria & Albert Museum, will be showing a wealth of exciting works from around the world between September 24, 2015 and January 24, 2016.

CLOSURES, OPENINGS AND EVENTS

Art lovers will have to do without the Neue Nationalgalerie for a few years from 2015 as the Mies van der Rohe building is extensively renovated by star architect David Chipperfield. On the other hand, renovations at the Berlinische Galerie are almost complete. The grand reopening, which will also mark the building's 40th anniversary, is scheduled for May 28, 2015. Alongside art from Berlin, the museum will also be staging an exhibition on urban planning in the 1960s. Anyone interested in art in Berlin's galleries should make a note of the dates for the Gallery Weekend (May 1 to 3) and Art Week (September 15 to 20). A wealth of tours, vernissages and events are scheduled for these periods. During the "Long Night of Museums" on August 29, over 100 venues will open their doors to visitors between 6pm and 2am - a fantastic opportunity to get an overview of Berlin's diverse artistic landscape.

Images:

01 A picture from the Mario Testino exhibition at the Kulturforum. It shows Kate Moss at a photo shoot for Vogue Italia in 2006 (© Mario Testino)

02 Panel painting of Apa Abraham on display at Berlin Cathedral (© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, photo: Markus Hilbich)

03 More exciting exhibitions are scheduled at the Martin-Gropius-Bau this year. (Photograph from the exhibition "Compass: Drawings of the Museum of Modern Art New York", © Jansch, 2011)

04 Kulturforum (© visitBerlin, photo: Wolfgang Scholvien)