10 Contemporary Art Galleries You Should Visit in Dresden

Photo of Culture Trip
17 October 2016

Located in the valley of the magnificent River Elbe, Dresden has long been a cultural and artistic hub that culminated in its Golden Age of the 18th century, and led to its nickname, the Florence of the Elbe. Today, this German city is vibrant and on the rise again, with new galleries and fresh creative spaces that take a modern spin on this historic city. Here are ten of the best galleries and exhibition spaces for contemporary art in Dresden.

© Pexels | © Pexels

Kunsthaus Dresden

Kunsthaus (literally ‘art house’) is a municipal exhibition space for contemporary art and events, including screenings and talks organized in conjunction with the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden. Its location in inner Neustadt, the heart of the city, makes it an accessible venue for its six to seven yearly exhibitions in addition to its more permanent displays. Visitors can expect high quality international art, often based upon thematic developments in the art world. Established in 1981, it has been host to a number of artists around the world, including Dominik Lang and Natsuko Uchino; speakers have included Goldsmith’s Astrid Butterfly and Charlotte Klonk.

Kunsthaus Dresden, Rähnitzgasse 8, Dresden, Germany, +49 351 8041456

Galerie Gebr. Lehmann

In 1992, Frank and Ralf Lehmann founded this powerhouse gallery, a classic white contemporary space in Neustadt that highlights a variety of German and other foreign artists. Though the gallery seemed to begin with an emphasis on painting, today it displays many different media including photography and installations. It has been so successful that another location has opened in Berlin. A selection of artists that have exhibited here includes Georg Baselitz, Eberhard Havekost, Tatjana Doll, and Olaf Holzapfel. Galerie Gebr. Lehmann also displays work that reflects Dresden’s burgeoning urban culture, representing young artists as well as artists who have had their start in street art, such as Martin Mannig.

Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Görlitzer Straße 16, Dresden, Germany, +49 351 8011783


Located in the Ostragehege neighborhood of Dresden since 2007+ the Ostrale is the exhibition of contemporary art in Dresden. Housed in an old slaughterhouse and abattoir that was featured in Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, the exhibitions can often include a comment on the nature of the space that they are housed in. Sarah Key’s recent exhibit focused on this theme by using imagery from the Second World War to explore the relationship between the architecture of the complex’s buildings and the art. The Ostrale is supported both publicly and privately, and curators often feature up-and-coming talent within Dresden and beyond, though the exhibitions are usually displayed for a three-month period. The 2015 edition takes place between 10 July and 27 September.

Ostrale, Ostragehege, Dresden, Germany, +49 351 6533763

Axel Anklam, Honeys, Ostrale

Axel Anklam, Honeys | Image courtesy of Ostrale

Galerie Baer

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Founded in 2003, Galerie Baer has been at the forefront of the Dresden contemporary art scene. Several big displays and art fairs have been held at Galerie Baer, including recent works from Martin Wolf, Stefan Krauth, and Theo Boettger. Another recent display by Sebastien Hempel entitled Kinetic Objects made use of a motion sensor to engage the viewer in the movement of pixels on a two-dimensional plane, constantly changing the visual effect. All of the artists represented by the gallery have graduated from the University of Visual Arts in the city and are emerging onto the scene. The artwork the space in which it is displayed is thus distinct to Dresden, and you can see many of the up-and-coming talents of the city at various exhibitions here.


Motorenhalle, the ‘engine shed,’ is a 600 square-meter art space that shows local artistic talent in an effort to revamp Dresden’s cultural significance. In this space, home to Riesa Efau and a part of the city’s Cultural Forum Initiative, the emphasis is not only upon the experience of artwork, but also on education. Each year, four exhibitions are put on in the Motorenhalle, involving guest artists and curators with a recent example including Judith Karcheter’s exhibit on space and visualization. A variety of media has been showcased here to date, such as photography, text, installation, and video. The space also holds performances and screenings of films and videos for visitors throughout the year.

Motorenhalle, Wachsbleichstraße 4, Dresden, Germany, +49 351 8660211

The Nature of Colour in the Political Space Exhibition at Motorenhalle Project Centre Dresden 2010/11

The Nature of Colour in the Political Space Exhibition at Motorenhalle Project Centre Dresden 2010/11. Artists in the picture: Igor Grubic (HR), Wolfgang Smy (D) and Sebastian Hempel (D) | © Andreas Seelige/Motorenhalle

Altana Galerie

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Altana Galerie is part of the Dresden University of Technology and, accordingly, affords focus upon cross-disciplinary approaches to both contemporary art practice and technology. The permanent collection contains over 3,000 works of art in addition to a focus on the history of technology. The temporary and current exhibitions focus on the more modern interface between the disciplines, with recent displays including cutting-edge student work involving sustainable design. There are mediums beyond the visual, with another recent exhibit, Eurydice, containing both musical and visual elements in an historical narrative. In addition to being an art space, Altana Galerie sees itself as a point for discussion for all members of the University and public and encourages dialogue from diverse fields to sustain its atmosphere.

C. Rockefeller Center for the Contemporary Arts

Art Gallery
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C. Rockefeller Center for the contemporary Arts, Dresden
C. Rockefeller Center for the contemporary Arts, Dresden | © C. Rockefeller Center
This gallery off-space, with its widespread, high beamed ceilings is one of the more intimate galleries in Dresden. The Rockefeller’s philosophy relies upon a discerning eye for talent rather than mere business, and the quality is certainly visible in the aesthetic of the gallery space that was founded in 2010. At 90 square meters, every detail matters, and the vision of Clark Rockefeller to manifest a paradisaical space allows room for more open and bold forays into contemporary art. The gallery has hosted Vladimir Turner and Mathieu Tremblin’s exhibit on the Waldschlösschen Bridge which was a polarizing issue since it led to the removal of the Elbe Valley from UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Galerie M2A

Nestled in heart of Neustadt sits Galerie M2A, a multi-room space for a promising and talented young generation of artists. With a focus specifically upon those artists from eastern Germany, the gallery aims to sift through the wide ocean of talent to represent the best. There is a striking visual style to many of the works displayed at the gallery, with bold and interesting uses of color and form. Recent exhibits include Denise Richardt’s Canon and Christian Thoelke’s Lost in Transition. Galerie M2A was also a part of the art fair Preview Berlin and PULSE art fairs in New York and Miami in order to gain wider recognition for their artists across the world.

Galerie M2A Königsbrücker Str. 70, 01099 Dresden, Germany (+49) 0351 43888171

Art @ SAP

SAP, a Berlin-based enterprise founded in 1972, launched the art SAP initiatives to display contemporary works owned by the company. The types of media include more traditional painting and newer, digital art. At art @ SAP Dresden, founded in 2012, collaborations abound between local institutions, such as the Academy of Fine Arts to show student and graduate work. A recent exhibition included works by Manfred Peckl, Jan Grossman, and John Weiss, where Grossman created large colored geometric sculptures while Peckl worked on collaged sculptures that incorporated images from space. Still, both seemed to pose questions on form and pattern. The nature of art @ SAP means that it can act as the intersection between art and industry, while advancing the Dresden art scene.

Art @ SAP, Postplatz 1, Dresden, Germany, +49 351 48110

Galerie Sybille Nütt

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For a glimpse into works that represent the Dresden Painting School, visit Galerie Sybille Nūtt in the Baroque quarter, where you can see works of both contemporary and past Dresden artists. It was founded in 2002 and has since held four to five exhibitions a year, with an accompanying catalogue for each one. Artists represented by the Galerie include Antje Krohn, Beate Debus, and Helene B. Grossman. A recent exhibit entitled Winter Pictures featured work from fourteen different artists; also at the gallery was a retrospective of Detlef Schweiger, a contemporary artist whose work spanned the styles of painting, sound, installation, photography, and sculpture.

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