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Donald Kuspit atFré and Jacqueline Ilgen’s "Checkpoint Ilgen" salon in Berlin
Photo by Achim Kleuker
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Berlin, Mon Amour
by Donald Kuspit


It’s almost dusk, and I’m driving down Bismarckstrasse, towards the Schloss Charlottenburg, on an avenue lined with lamps designed by Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect, an organizational genius, and, according to the psychoanalyst Alexander Mitscherlich, homoerotically attracted to him. The lamps have a soft cocktail lounge glow, the kind of softness conducive to erotic fantasies. Also, ironically, considering how "degenerate" the Nazis thought modern art to be, they’re eloquently modernist -- spartan geometry with a bit of ornamental edging, giving them a defiant yet ingratiating simplicity, calm composure with a touch of tension.

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