C/O Berlin | Photo: James Fancourt

The best contemporary art spaces in Berlin

Street art and murals are all over the streets of Berlin, and when it comes to typical exhibitions, the city also holds its own against other great cities of the world such as New York and London. Whether you’re hopping around small private galleries or visiting huge exhibition spaces housed within the wonderful architecture of former bunkers and breweries, there’s a huge variety of exciting, thought-provoking art to be seen across the city throughout the year.

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Robert Morat Galerie

Robert Morat Galerie is one of Berlin’s finest small private galleries, focusing purely on photography. Having been established in 2004 in Hamburg, Robert Morat moved the gallery to Berlin in 2015 and it soon became a key player in the city’s art scene. It puts on fantastic exhibitions throughout the year, presenting the work of new and emerging photographers from around the world, as well as many Berlin-based photographers. Instead of expanding to a larger location with a bigger staff, Robert has kept things small and focused, which makes it a very charming, intimate gallery to visit.

Robert Morat Berlin

Robert Morat | Photo: James Fancourt

Berlinische Galerie

The city’s museum for modern art is Berlinische Galerie. Exhibitions here range from pop art to photography, and the large hall near the entrance usually houses an impressive large-scale installation. The current exhibitions are always set out on the expansive ground floor, but after you’re done make sure to head upstairs to check out the excellent permanent collection — ‘Art in Berlin’—which covers the period of 1880 to 1980 and includes paintings, prints, sculptures, and a wonderful section on architecture.

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Sammlung Boros is definitely one of the stand-out art spots in Berlin, partly because it’s presented within the walls of a huge World War II bunker in Berlin’s Mitte district

Sammlung Boros

Sammlung Boros is definitely one of the stand-out art spots in Berlin, not just because it lets you experience an incredible privately-owned collection, but because it’s presented within the walls of a huge World War II bunker in Berlin’s Mitte district. The artworks on display change every four years and the only way to see it is by booking a tour (fortunately the groups are small) through their website. Be sure to plan ahead, however, as it’s often booked up for well over a month, but it’s certainly worth the effort to see incredible art from world-renowned artists like Kris Martin and Avery Singer.

Sonnenbrücke Berlin

Sonnenbrücke | Photo: Claudio Schwarz Purzlbaum

C/O Berlin

If you’re visiting Berlin and want to check out some photography, C/O Berlin is unmissable. This not-for-profit foundation showcases work from both upcoming and established photographers, with work by such artists as Sebastião Salgado and Annie Leibovitz having graced the walls of its 2000m2 exhibition space in recent years. Founded in Berlin in 2000, it moved to its current location at Amerika Haus in Charlottenburg in 2014. There are normally two exhibitions on at once (the price of entry nets you access to both), which change roughly every three months, allowing you to see a great variety of photography throughout the year.

C/O Berlin

C/O Berlin | Photo: James Fancourt

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At KINDL there’s a superb café and a beer garden that’s open during the warmer months

KINDL - Centre for Contemporary Art

Housed within a former brewery in Berlin Neukölln is one of the most impressive art spaces in Berlin—KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art—a huge site that boasts a vast 1600m2 of exhibition space. The last beer was brewed here in 2005 and the site was subsequently acquired by Salome Grisard and Burkhard Varnholt in 2011, who went on to renovate and open it as a non-profit space for art in 2016. After checking out an exhibition it’s worth sticking around, too. There’s a superb café (which is particularly impressive due to the six gigantic copper boilers leftover from the brewing days) and a beer garden that’s open during the warmer months.

Sprüth Magers, Berlin

Gary Hume, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, September 29 - November 10. 2018 | Photo: Timo Ohler

f3 - Freiraum für Fotografie

A relatively recent addition to Berlin’s art scene is f3 – Freiraum für Fotografie, which was set up by the non-profit organisation Gesellschaft für Humanistische Fotografie (Society for Humanistic Photography). Their 200m2 exhibition space in Kreuzberg opened in the spring of 2017 and they put on around five or six exhibitions a year. Whether it’s a solo show or group show bringing together different photographers working under a shared theme, the resulting exhibitions are often powerful and sure to leave a lasting impression.


Photo: Daniel Brosch

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Buchmann Galerie

Another of Berlin’s excellent private art galleries is Buchmann Galerie, located close to Checkpoint Charlie in the fancier part of Berlin Kreuzberg. Established in 1975 and based in Berlin since 2005, the gallery represents a wide range of artists such as the sculptor Wolfgang Laib and the photographer Joel Sternfeld. The space is bright and airy, allowing you to focus on the most important thing—the artwork itself. Buchmann Galerie typically puts on around 6-8 exhibitions per year, covering a wide variety of mediums including sculpture, painting, and photography.

Buchmann Galerie Berlin

Buchmann Galerie | Photo: James Fancourt

Daimler Contemporary

Daimler Contemporary is quite an odd inclusion as it’s an exhibition space for the art collection of the international automobile company Daimler AG. What started in the 1970s as a small collection for dressing the walls of their corporate offices grew throughout the years, eventually culminating in the opening of a 600m2 public exhibition space at Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz in 1999. The collection consists of art from the 20th century to the modern-day and includes work from hundreds of artists, including well-known names like Andy Warhol. Several themed exhibitions take place each year, often with a focus on minimalism and abstraction.

Sprüth Magers

Sprüth Magers is one of the world’s most influential galleries, representing around sixty artists including names such as Andreas Gursky that are well known outside of the art sphere. Originally two separate galleries, Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers merged their efforts, eventually opening their first gallery together in Berlin in 2008. There tend to be around ten exhibitions per year, and as it’s bigger than your average private gallery there are often three showing concurrently, making it well worth a visit.

Sprüth Magers Berlin

Astrid Klein, 'CUTS', Sprüth Magers Berlin, February 1 - April 6, 2019 | Photo: Timo Ohler

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