Berlin’s Gallery Scene

Berlin’s Gallery Scene

berlin gallery 5 (1)Since the fall of the Wall in 1989 Berlin has become the artistic magnet of Europe. Not only did affordable rents initially attract artists to this city, but also a semi-liberal artistic climate in combination with endless open space contributed to rise of Berlin as hotspot for the arts. Walking through the city, it seems as if art is literally unfolding itself like a colorful kaleidoscope on every corner. In recent years, a vivid and sophisticated gallery scene has emerged contributing vitality and diversity to the art world. Berlin’s unique gallery landscape spans from small private initiatives hidden in obscure courtyards and basements, to larger, more established ventures, and everything in between. In spite of the fact that Berlin hardly has an international buying clientele, cultural richness seems continuously to flourish nonetheless, and a global clientele is flown in twice a year during two important art fairs: The Gallery Weekend in the beginning of May and the Berlin Art Week in September—the former, a joint program of simultaneous openings across town clustering about fifty of the city’s galleries and the latter, a mixture of an art fair and a small biennale.

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Like most things in Berlin the gallery scene is fragmented and diverse. This exclusive tour brings you to the most important gallery hubs of Berlin, so we reserve the right to alter the course of the tour depending on the strength of current shows and on the major art events of the season.  For example, your art historian guide may decide to start your journey in Mitte, in the Auguststraße, where we will uncover a wealth of galleries and institutions. From Kunst Werke, a contemporary art institution founded in the early 1990s showing a wide range of art from mixed media retrospectives to giant installations and sound performances, allowing innovation and curatorial creativity running across five floors, we can move on to several smaller and more intimate galleries in the vicinity of this institution in both the Auguststraße and Linienstraße such as Eigen+Art and ifa Galerie. The tour route might also include festivals (such as the Berlin Biennale when its in town or the Berlin Art Week).

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Another potential focus of the tour (again at the discretion of your expert art historian guide) is Potsdamer Straße. Over the past five years this strip has gained increasing momentum caused by an enormous wave of gallerists which moved from Mitte to the area South of the Neue Nationalgalerie. Today, a true gallery mile includes about thirty galleries and project spaces scattered around an unpolished neighborhood. We may visit (again, depending on the exhibitions) renowned galleries such as Esther Schipper, Isabella Bortolozzi, Gitti Nourbakhsch, Guido Baudach, Arndt, Plan B, Tanya Leighton and Klosterfelde. Through your dialogue with an art historian familiar with the Berlin’s art world, this walk aims to give you insight into contemporary art practices within Berlin’s expanding art scene.

Lee Evans left his Eastern Washington home in the fall of 1986 on a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship. After his year in a quiet West German suburb of Osnabrück, he enrolled in University, but quickly left again to study Art History in Florence, Italy. During the fateful year of 1989, Lee was in Berlin when the Wall fell and saw the collapse of Communism first hand; demonstrating on Wenceslas Square during Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution. Lee has a Master’s Degree in Central European History and also studied Czech history and Literature at Charles University in Prague. At some point he managed also to spend significant time living on the island of Maui and in Munich. He is a well respected tour guide, working with Rick Steve’s Europe Through the Back Door. He has worked extensively on Rick Steve's Germany and is currently in charge of roughly half of the Fodor’s Germany guidebooks. Lee is the Programme Coordinator and Board Member of the Berlin Historical Association. Lee led the English language services of the German Railroad, is an expert in almost every aspect of European travel, and has helped thousands of travelers get the most out of their European experience.
f4Fabiola Bierhoff is an art historian and PhD Candidate in the History and Cultural Studies program at the Free University of Berlin. She received her Bachelor in Art History at Radboud University Nijmegen in 2006 and holds a Masters in Museum Curatorship summa cum laude from the Free University of Amsterdam. Her Master Thesis on the alternative East German art scene was awarded the Annual Master Thesis Award 2010. Since 2009 she has been an art writer for the bimonthly magazine De Witte Raaf. Fabiola is currently conducting research for her dissertation, which is provisionally entitled “The Role of Autonomous Art Criticism for Performance Art in the Last Decade of the German Democratic Republic”. Her research is funded by a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a research grant from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
DanHeadshotDan Borden grew up in Houston, Texas where he earned an architecture degree at Rice University. After getting his Masters degree from Columbia University, he worked as an architect in New York City for 15 years. His love affair with Berlin began when he visited as a student in summer 1987. After several more visits to the city, he settled in Berlin in 2006 where he works as a teacher, writer and filmmaker. He has contributed to books on the history of architecture and film. His monthly "Save Berlin" column in Exberliner magazine explores the city's architectural history and future.
Isabelle Daniel received her M.A. from Heidelberg University in January 2012. She is currently a fellow in a research project on Anti-Semitism in Europe during World War I at the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Technical University Berlin and holds a PhD fellowship from Heinrich Böll Foundation. Her PhD project is on anti-Semitic discourses in the Berlin based media during the Weimar Republic. Isabelle was a student of History and Political Science at Heidelberg University, Johns Hopkins University and Charles University Prague, and participated in a program for international students at Tel Aviv University. Focusing on Jewish History, International Relations and Resistance during her studies, she graduated with a Master’s thesis on the resistance of writers to the Communist systems of Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic. Beside her studies, she was a tutor for Foreign Affairs in the Political Science Department of Heidelberg University and has worked as a freelance journalist with a focus on Jewish culture and Eastern Europe related topics. Isabelle was an editor at the Prague based weekly “Prager Zeitung” and the German news media n-tv.de. She continues writing as a contributing author for the Goethe Institute and several German and international media. She is passionate about the Jewish history of Berlin, human rights and a member of “Reporters without Borders”.
Forrest Holmes was born in New Mexico but has lived, studied and worked in Europe for thirteen years, currently as a doctoral student at Freie Universität Berlin with an MA in German History from the University of Cardiff.  Since visiting Berlin for the first time on a research trip, he married a native and settled down in the German capital. Over the years, Forrest has become passionate about Berlin's abundant culture and delved into the museums, concert halls, art galleries, theaters, bars, bookstores, cabarets, cinemas, and cafes, savoring the international color and the diversity the city boasts. Berlin is also for him a city of history: rich, complex, dark, looming, echoing with creativity and inspiration, and issuing a clear and dire warning for the ages. Besides sharing research with those on his tours from books and archives and memorials, Forrest brings in the stories of Berliners themselves, many of them his in-laws and friends. Slowly he is coming to feel that he is a part of this city’s story too, as Berlin continues to transformed profoundly around him even over his short decade there  Forrest offer tours in both English and German and guides primarily in the Berlin area (including Potsdam and the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial), especially focusing on the Nazi regime and the Second World War (1933-1945), Berlin’s Jewish history, the Cold War and the years of division (1949-1990), art, architecture, or aspects of Berlin today.
Jean UlrickJean-Ulrick Désert is a conceptual and visual-artist. He received his degrees at Cooper Union and Columbia University (New York) and has lectured or been a critic at Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Humboldt University and l’école supérieur des beaux arts. Désert's artworks vary in forms such as billboards, actions, paintings, site-specific sculptures, video and objects and emerge from a tradition of conceptual-work engaged with social/cultural practices. He has exhibited widely at such venues as The Brooklyn Museum, Cité Internationale des Arts, The NGBK in galleries and public venues in Munich, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Ghent, Brussels. He is the recipient of awards, public commissions, private philanthropy, including Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (USA), Villa Waldberta/Muenchen - Kulturreferat , Kulturstiftung der Länder (Germany) and Cité des Arts (France). Désert established his Berlin studio in 2002.
f3Peter Bijl, born-Dutchman, originally a journalist, has been the initiator/driving force behind different cultural festivals, websites, platforms and exchange projects. After moving back to Berlin in 2008, the city that had gotten under his skin profoundly, he's been doing this internationally. In Utrecht he put up the 9-day Berlin festival Mitte Bitte!, in Berlin he initiated a similar 12-day program of Dutch/Flemish culture: Flachlandfest. Both festivals took place in 2008 and were initiated, developed, financed and produced in only a few months time. As a curator / artistic director, Peter’s highlight was the city-wide manifestation 'No Man’s Land'. A multidisciplinary weekend in November 2009 at 40+ locations in Utrecht, celebrating and commenting the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: a festival as a work of art, using space, creativity and personal stories in different disciplines to tell Berlin’s incredible story. In ‘No Man’s Land’ Peter let Berlin’s heavy history interact with its light and creative present, via the red thread of personal stories. After realizing these festivals, Peter moved on to connecting cultures and stories in a different way: by joining musician Tjerk Ridder in his Caravan Hitchhiking Project. Hitchhiking with a caravan, without(!) a car: the duo traveled Europe, from Utrecht to Istanbul, showing that 'You need others to keep you going'. Their art project had a large international appeal, with national tv reports in 8 European countries. Out of their journey, Peter and Tjerk created and published a book/DVD, which has been published in Dutch, English and German. A new book, a playful photo project on football culture, is on the way.
f2Jeroen van Marle is a geographer and travel writer from the Netherlands, who has lived in Berlin for 5 years. He has lived in 8 countries across the world, writing about dozens of destinations. He's the editor of a Berlin city guide that's published several times per year. A resident of Kreuzberg since 2011, he is fascinated by the varied history of this young district.
f1Madelief ter Braak is architectural historian and freelance writer/journalist. In 2011 she graduated cum laude with a Research Master Art History & Archaeology from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands). Fascinated by urban public space, she focuses on the use and representation of this everchanging aspect of the city in the past, present and future. In her research and writing she’s guided by unconventional sources in art, photography, literature, poetry, films and music. Cross-cultural interests and curiosity have led to several publications in very diverse (online) magazines. For Blauwe Kamer magazine on landscape development and urbanism, she writes the column ‘Standplaats Berlijn’. On her research she’s given lectures at the School of Architecture Groningen, the TU Delft and the Art historian Institute from the University of Groningen. Her masterthesis Flanieren in Berlin is written as a journey across east and west, in times of dictatorship and democracy.
Laureline van den Heuvel (1978) is an art historian and writer. She has a teachers degree in art (BA) and studied art history (MA) at the Free University in Amsterdam. Between 2007-2009 she worked as an independent art professional , doing research and writing texts for galleries and art fairs like Art Amsterdam. She is a published writer since 2005 for several on- and offline art magazines, like Metropolis M and 8weekly in the Netherlands and Freistutz Magazine in Berlin. At the Amsterdam Academy for the Arts she thought multiple courses like Contemporary Art, Art and Culture and was a guest lecturer for the Art Criticism course. After visiting Berlin for the first time in 2000, she got hooked and after many more visits, finally decided to make the move in march 2014. At the moment she works as a guide in the Jewish Museum and gives tours through Berlin’s lively gallery scene. The Berlin art circuit art makes her heart beat faster. Looking for galleries in Berlin feels like an Indiana Jones adventure, where a treasure can be just around the corner. You can read all about the treasure hunt in her blog Gallery Quest and come find out for yourself on a tour.
Joep de Visser recently completely an MA in German History at the University of Amsterdam. Due to his fairly extensive weblog about memorials and historical locations in Berlin, Joep is very up-to-date about the past of his new Heimat. In the upcoming year, Joep plans to write a historical novel that fleshes out the shocking changes that transformed Berlin's daily life during the first half of the 20th century. In his side-project--History of Hipsters--, he explores the phenomenon of today's alternative youth culture.

 

Additional Costs:
KW Institute for Contemporary Art Tickets   Individual: €6, students & seniors €4
(groups over 10)
Individual €5, students & seniors €3

Your guide will help you to purchase tickets at KW Kunst-Werke Berlin. KW is closed on Tuesdays, so gallery walks on that day do not include it.   If the tour occurs during the Berlin Biennale or Berlin Art Week and includes these festivals, your guide will help you to purchase tickets, which can range from a just few euros up to 16 euros for the Biennale.   Additional Information: our Art Historian guides have the right to alter the course of the tour according to the strength of current art shows and on the major Berlin art events of the season.   Meeting Point: (we will inform you which meeting point your tour starts from)   KW Institute for Contemporary Art Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin or Esther Schipper Gallery, Schöneberger Ufer 65, 10785 Berlin

 

Groups of over 10 should contact us at [email protected] in order to get a special rate for their party.

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