Berlin is full of recent history as well as a reluctance to look back at its past, and it is this reluctance that inevitably thrusts the city towards the future. This is why both modern and contemporary art are such an important feature of the German capital. Many different types of galleries, from local exhibits to larger institutes, continuously house displays and art exhibition previews on avant-garde or up-and-coming artists. For those wanting to keep up with the latest trends in the art world, Berlin is the ideal place to visit.
Here is our list of the most interesting modern and contemporary art galleries in Berlin.
1. Hamburger Bahnhof
The old train station that used to connect Berlin to Hamburg is the starting point for discovering contemporary art in Berlin. Here, in the place still today called "Hamburg Station", is the Museum für Gegenwart, which is dedicated to contemporary art (modern art spans the period between the end of the 19th century and 1960, with the contemporary art period starting from the 1960s up to the present day). Works by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly stand out from among the collection of paintings, but for total immersion in the "museum of the present day" (the literal translation of the building's name) there is also video art and photography.
2. Sammlung Boros - The Boros Bunker
There are still echoes of the Second World War in some parts of Berlin, but the initiative shown by artists and collectors has managed to transform even these sad memories. The Sammlung Boros museum, dedicated to contemporary art, is actually housed in what was a 1943 air-raid shelter. The German couple, Christian and Karen Boros, have transformed the cold building into a five-story exhibition space of contemporary art, containing the recent works of artists from all over the world. Visits to the collection can be booked online - advance booking is essential.
Sammlung Boros - By Jörg Zägel - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://www.sammlung-boros.de/boros-collection.html?L=1
3. Berggruen Museum
Modern art in Berlin is at home in the Berggruen museum. Situated in the elegant district of Charlottenburg, the exhibition space allows visitors to admire up close the paintings by Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Picasso, as well as sculptures by the Italian Alberto Giacometti. Nearby is historic Charlottenburg Palace, which dates back to 1713. Here visitors can enjoy the local art of the past.
4. SR Contemporary Art
There is also a touch of Italy in Berlin's artistic world. The contemporary art gallery SR was founded by Italian Sabrina Raffaghello in 2001. It still hosts art and photographic exhibitions by up-and-coming Italian artists, as well as others. This gallery showcases Berlin's diversity and open-mindedness towards other cultures, making it well worth a visit during a stay in the capital.
SR Contemporary art Berlino ( ©SR)
Known as the cool district par excellence of Berlin, Neukölln has many galleries and exhibitions dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Loophole, located in a former brothel, is almost like a social centre, hosting concerts as well as contemporary art exhibitions. The less chaotic venue KINDL contains many works by current German artists. This allows visitors to discover the current style of contemporary Germany. Plus the building, which is beautifully lit up in the evening, is another treat for the eyes!
6. König Gallerie
Kreuzberg is another fashionable district of the city, meaning it obviously isn't short of contemporary art galleries. In recent years this trend has led to special emphasis being placed on videos and artistic performances - two areas that are often explored in the König Gallerie. Here, visitors can see works by artists destined to make a name for themselves in future, such as Norbert Bisky and Julian Rosefeldt. Once outside, if you want to stay "on trend", you can try to get into the most famous discotheque in Berlin, the exclusive Berghain.
7. KW Institute
The KW Institute has been the cornerstone of contemporary art in Berlin for twenty-five years, an unmissable stop for lovers of this art period. The curators' ability to keep up with the times makes the KW an example for similar exhibition spaces in Germany and elsewhere. Photographic exhibitions and displays of paintings alternate in a continuously renewing cycle, which perfectly symbolises the art of our times.
8. C/O Berlin
The latest visual arts are displayed in the exhibition rooms of the C/O Berlin gallery in the German capital. Now a cult centre for local photographers, it is worth a visit for lovers of contemporary art during a visit to Berlin. At weekends there are convenient guided tours that cost EUR 5.
C/O Berlino (CC BY SA 4.0, di Raimond Spekking)
9. KB Künstlerhaus Bethanien
The KB is one of the most famous contemporary art galleries in Berlin. It is here that Marina Abramovic, the most well-known performance artist of recent years, presented her first works and began to make a name for herself in cultural circles. Today the gallery is still a hub for discovering new trends in modern methods of expression.
10. Blain Southern
Bill Viola, Damien Hirst and Fujiko Nakaya are well-known names to fans of today's art - worth discovering for those who want to acquaint themselves with the latest ideas from artists all over the world. The works of these and other creative artists are on display in the Blain Southern private gallery, which can be found in the lively Schöneberg district where culture and enjoyment work together in harmony - a feature it has in common with the rest of Berlin.