As previously posted, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s retrospective opened today at the Neue National Galerie. Having seen the show in the context of Mies van der Rohe’s brilliantly minimal architectural monument, I can honestly say that Sugimoto’s work has never looked better. The installation is lovely and the clean lines of the Neue perfectly compliment the Japanese artist’s tendency for monochromatic refinement and pristine geometry.But, for those who are more interested in the lowbrow aesthetics of the public sphere, as opposed to the highbrow conceptualism of the institution, tomorrow marks the opening of the street art festival Urban Affairs, which will combine action painting, site-specific installation and original artwork by some of the graffiti genre’s most notorious activists. El Tono and Nano 4814, both of whom were recently commissioned by the Tate Modern to create large-scale on-site murals, will participate in the festival. Other notable urban artists on view include Dolk, El Bocho, Alias and Nomad, plus there will be an after party in the beer garden immediately adjacent to the venue, a converted former brewery located in the predominately punk neighborhood of Friedrichshain (F-hain) that boasts an unglaublich 900 sq. meters of exhibition space. Considering Berlin’s reputation as a graffiti mecca of the urban art world, this opening is not to be missed.In other news, there are fire works going off in Berlin right now, which is helping this American feel almost disturbingly at home. The American Embassy opened today after a prolonged construction coma and George Bush Senior himself is in town to do the inaugural honors, in an ironic nod to all of us Expats who left America to avoid the Bush family in the first place. Regardless, happy 4th of July! Schoenes Wochenende.