Determining the TOP ART SPACES, ART GALLERIES in Berlin can be a daunting task.
This city breathes art. Well established as well as new art spaces are all over town. Berlin is no doubt one of the most exciting destinations in the world when it comes to exploring art. Especially Modern and Contemporary art.
This post covers our absolute favourite art spaces and galleries. The places one must absolutely not miss when visiting or exploring Berlin (time allowing). On another post we cover our favourite big museums. One a third post we cover our favourite “less visited” museums. We will always keep the lists somewhat short as it can get overwhelming. That, however, should give you PLENTY to see and explore.
To make it more useful and to the point, we will only briefly describe each space/gallery and give you a couple of tips on things/perspectives not to miss. It is easy to get “galleried=out” so our suggestion is to pick 3 or 4 from this list and 1 or 2 from the museums list.
We also publish an interactive map to help you move around the city and know how close/far you are from the sites. ENJOY!
ART SPACES, ART GALLERIES – TOP 11
KW Institute for Contemporary Art is definitely a must for contemporary art lovers. This institution has no collection of its own or member-based association, which gives it amazing flexibility in creating the most varied and unusual exhibits. The building is located inside a very nice courtyard in Mitte (just off the cool Augustrasse). Find the bright colored doors and get in! Make sure to explore all exhibition units. “Basis” houses new artistic productions and site-specific installations. The “double floors 1+2” showcases experimental programs. Events and projects accompanying the exhibition as well as independent projects take place at Chora, at the mezzanine 3½, at the Studiolo, at the space Vermittlung, at KW Projects, and at the Garden. Make sure to stop for a snack and cofffee at Café Bravo at the courtyard. KW’S WEBSITE.
– ME COLLECTORS ROOM
“me Collectors Room” (“me” stands for “moving energy), located right by KW along Augustrasse in Mitte, is also an amazing space showcasing international private art collections. With 1300 square metres of exhibition space, the Olbricht Collection, which features works from the Renaissance up to the present day, has had its permanent home here since May 2010. That said, the space is often shared with other international collectors and group shows. A special highlight of the space is the Wunderkammer Olbricht, which contains more than 200 valuable objects from the Renaissance and Baroque periods (permanently on display). The entrance of the space is occupied by a café and an interesting gift shop. ME COLLECTOR’S ROOM’S WEBSITE.
– C/O BERLIN
c/O Berlin has since the year 2000 been a mecca for established and new photography. After leaving Berlin Mitte in 2012, they spent two years searching for a new home. We are glad to report they now call “Amerika Haus” home. The space has been recently renovated. It is now completely adapted and set to become one of Berlin’s “must stops” for great photography. With an interesting labyrinth-like exhibition room setup, it is easy to let yourself go. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself staying here for hours. There is even a new coffee shop (always full) and bookstore (we love it!).The photography exhibits are absolutely top notch. In keeping with the C/O vision, part of the space is dedicated to up and coming artists (yay!). Most of the space, however, is used to showcase established masters of photography. Their line up of exhibits for this year is super impressive! This space is a stone’s throw away from the Museum of Photography (with an amazing Helmut Newton collection) and can be combined as a full day of photography art exploration.C/O BERLIN’S WEBPAGE
– HOFFMANN COLLECTION (SAMMLUNG HOFFMANN)
The Hoffmann family own one of the most exciting contemporary art collections around. And Erika, the matriarch, lives around it. She opens her home (a beautiful old factory building inside yet another amazing courtyard in Mitte) to the public on Saturdays. Make sure to visit their site for instructions on how to reserve a spot. Visitors are invited to join guided tours in groups of up to ten. Conversation spark rather than simple presentations of facts or accepted art-historical truths. Erika Hoffmann decides on a theme every year (around July – they take a break from tours in August).Parts of the collection are displayed around that specific theme. Every year starting in September there are new pieces on display. We make sure to visit them once a year! Sometimes visitors get a chance to chat with Erika herself (we have been that lucky once!). SAMPLING HOFFMANN’S WEBSITE.
– BOROS COLLECTION
The Boros Art Collection is a “must visit” for contemporary art enthusiasts visiting Berlin…inside a war bunker! First of all, how cool is this!? Inside a bunker. A bunker with some interesting history. During the war it was used to shelter thousands of train passengers. After the war it was used as a prisoner-of-war camp, textiles storage and even a hardcore techno club.In 2003 the bunker was purchased and fully converted by Christian Boros for his private art collection. It is now a 3,000 m2 exhibition space. Christian Boros and his family now live in the penthouse atop the bunker. It contains groups of works by international artists from 1990 to the present. All spread over 80 rooms. It is truly a fantastic space to visit.You can only visit the space from Thursday to Sunday, accompanied by one of the in-house guides. Groups are generally small (12 people) and fill up early. Reservations are a must. And in the warmer months (with more tourists in town) you must do it way in advance! Tours are available in English and German. BORO’S COLLECTION’S WEBSITE.
– HAUS AM WALDSEE
Haus am Waldsee is truly a special art space. We are in love with this place. Not only it this space located in a beautiful and leafy neighborhood, it has also been (since 1946) one of the main contemporary art spaces in Germany. Nowadays it focuses on artists who live and work in Berlin and have already achieved significant international acclaim. They usually showcase 5 truly innovative and ground breaking exhibitions per year. Do not miss the surrounding sculpture park with artists of the highest calibre. Haus am Waldsee also regularly conduct children’s openings, artist’s talks, dinners, performances. An awesome service they also offer: an audio guide do the Modernist architecture in their immediate neighbourhood. HAUS AM WALDSEE’S WEBSITE.
– SAINT AGNES (BRUTALIST CHURCH TURNED ART SPACE)
If you are looking for top notch art in a very unconventional space, you have to come here. The brutalist architecture serves as a backdrop to some of the most exciting contemporary art exhibitions in Berlin. It is now home to the Johann König’s Gallery, one of the most influential art dealers around. This space also showcases a few incredible exhibitions a year so it is also fun to pop by from time to time. The complex was renovated recently. There is a non profit organization that supports contemporary art as well as the main art space and a cute Café. KÖNIG GALLERY’S WEBSITE.
– DEUTSCHE BANK KUNSTHALLE
This art space is conveniently located along the Unter den Linden Boulevard in Berlin Mitte and can be visited in less than 60 minutes. Founded in 1997 as the Deutsche Guggenheim, Deutsche Bank ran the gallery space for 15 years together with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The exhibition hall in Deutsche Bank’s Berlin Head Office was established as an international contemporary art space. Since 2013 it has been named the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle. It defines itself as a place for discovery and focuses on 3 to 4 annual high-caliber exhibitions. One highlight of the program is the presentation of Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year,” who is honored each year with a major solo exhibition. Make sure to explore the fun gift shop and café and peak into the beautiful glass ceiling courtyard. If you are walking from the Museum Island to the Brandenburg Gate, this place makes for a perfect contemporary art stop along the way. Check their website to find out when to visit for free! DEUTSCHE BANK KUNSTHALLE’S WEBSITE.
– URBAN NATION MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN ART
Think of one of the coolest urban contemporary art projects you can conceive. That’s Urban Nation. They support and bring together artists that shape urban spaces around the globe. They host workshops, events and exhibitions in a non-profit public space along Bülowstrasse in Schöneberg. An otherwise fairly uninteresting street. They have recently opened an amazing art space/museum with artworks from the world’s leading street/urban artists. What we find beautiful, however, is that the museum expands to the outside area surrounding it. Building façades, corners, garage entrances, walls, columns have been treated as canvases for local and international artists. Make sure you walk along Bülowstrasse and explore. Particularly the area between U2 Büllowstrasse and Nollendorfplatz Stations. Take the time to go around structures and uncover beautiful street art and angles. URBAN NATION’S WEBSITE
– URBAN SPREE
When we first moved to Berlin (and being the urban art enthusiasts that we are), we were immediately drawn to Urban Spree. We had read about it and were very curious. However it wasn’t until we set foot here that we realized what an amazing space and surrounding area this was. Urban Spree is considered one of the world’s most influencing urban art spaces today. The gallery covers 1700 square meters in the super bohemian and artsy Berlin-Friedrichshain district. They are dedicated to urban cultures through exhibitions, workshops and art store. They even have a super cool biergarten. Some of the exhibition opening nights tend to be super fun and edgy. Some are legendary.Their main mural is regularly curated to some of the most influential street artists in the world. Make sure to check it out. Check out their website for info on current exhibits and events. URBAN SPREE GALLERY’S WEBSITE