The culturally rich city of Berlin is crawling with art museums, galleries, and alternative spaces. Notable private collections of international contemporary art include the Boros Collection, consisting of works by artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Danh Vō, and Sarah Lucas, housed in a former bunker and the Julia Stoschek Collection, which focuses on time-based works by artists such as Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Barbara Hammer, and Arthur Jafa.Read More
One of the better-known museums for contemporary art is the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, founded in the 1990s by a group that included Klaus Biesenbach, currently the Director of MOCA Los Angeles. Without a permanent collection, the KW Institute showcases eclectic exhibitions and programs that respond to social and political issues. In 1998, it partnered with the inaugural Berlin Biennale and continues to be a key venue for the Biennale. Like the KW Institute, the Biennale is known for its alternative, critical, and radical (often anti-institutional) ethos.
For a more traditional museum experience featuring antiquities classics, visit the Pergamonmuseum, which was built between 1910 and 1930. The museum is divided into three collections: the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities), the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East), and the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art). Works in the Museum of Islamic Art date from the 7th to the 19th century.
The Alte Nationalgalerie, which offers Neoclassical, Romantic, Impressionist, and Modernist works, is part of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. It is located on a UNESCO World Heritage site known as the Museumsinsel (Museum Island), which is home to other museums including the Pergamonmuseum and the Bode-Museum, the latter of which hosts a fantastic collection of ancient sculptures and Byzantine Art.
Outside of alternative spaces, private collections, and Museum Island, it is imperative to go gallery-hopping in one of the most exciting cities for dealer galleries. Favourites and international stars include Sprüth Magers, Peres Projects, and Tanya Leighton. A city known for its artist population and non-normative art venues, Berlin is constantly in flux.
Philippe Parreno, Marquee (2016). Opaque Plexiglas, lightbulbs, neon tubes, DMX recorder, dimmers, transducers, light and sound program, opaque acrylic chains. 60 x 187 x 80 cm. Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin. Photo: Yasushi Ichikawa.
Exhibition view: Ugo Rondinone, nuns + monks, Esther Schipper, Berlin (11 September–17 October 2020). Courtesy Esther Schipper. Photo: Andrea Rossetti.
Exhibition view: Raimund Girke, Im Rhythmus, KEWENIG, Berlin (9 September–7 November 2020). © The Estate of Raimund Girke and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy KEWENIG. Photo: Lepkowski Studios, Berlin.
Exhibition view: Leiko Ikemura, Pleasure Garden, Kewenig, Berlin (9 September–7 November 2020). © Leiko Ikemura and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy Kewenig. Photo: Lepkowski Studios, Berlin.
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Hua Xiaochan, founder and director of Beijing and Berlin based Hua International discusses navigating the gallery's different geographic contexts to foster its global vision.
First launched in 2012, Gallery Weekend Berlin returns this year between 11 and 13 September 2020 as the leading light of the city's wider art week, which sees exhibitions opening at galleries and institutions alike.