Emerging from nearly 30 years of separation as a ‘poor but sexy’ city, artists have consistently felt the magnetic pull of Berlin’s innovative energy—as a city that’s in constant flux, the creative cravings of its locals have cultivated an effervescent art scene. Among the city’s 440 galleries, scores of world-class collections and fawned-over festivals, art lovers will find themselves in fine company when wandering Berlin’s revered artistic haunts, though veering off the beaten track also promises plenty to delight in.
BC Gallery was founded in 2013 by the independent art lover, collector and sound designer, Nick Bargezi. The gallery is dedicated to fresh, high-end urban and contemporary art and located in Friedrichshain. Featuring regular solo and group shows by both established and up-and-coming artists, the gallery provides artists and collectors with a sustainable and reliable platform, lending itself as a cornerstone for Berlin’s constantly evolving art scene. Contemporary and urban art enthusiasts will find plenty to fawn over here.
Nestled in a suburban area of Neukölln, KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art is a former brewery-turned-café and contemporary art gallery. Spanning three floors, the KINDL Centre presents international contemporary art, mostly from emerging artists. An artist is chosen annually to present a single piece of work in the brewery’s Kesselhaus, allowing the industrial space to be transformed for a thematic exhibition.
An interdisciplinary cultural agency, female-run Niche has been guiding Berlin’s art and architecture aficionados since 2009. The custom-made tours offer off the beaten track insights into Berlin’s art scene and less-well-known architectural gems. Niche focuses on overlooked highlights and each tour is customised according to the newest developments and the client’s personal interests. Visitors can ask for a specific topic, style or district, or let Niche choose the most exciting spots of the moment. The brainchild of Stefanie Gerke, Nele Heinevetter and Katharina Beckmann, every tour is guided by the skilled and charismatic artists, architects and art historians, who are apart of the Niche team. Booking is required a few weeks in advance so the Niche team can cultivate the perfect custom art, architecture (or both) tour for you.
Tropez is a mixed bag of delights. Located inside the public pool, Sommerbad Humboldthain, the part-kiosk, part-contemporary art space is run by Nele Heinevetter, part of the female-run Niche. An avid swimmer, Nele has transformed the poolside kiosk into a summer haven for artists, performers, musicians, authors and curators, giving them a space to mingle and create with the gallery’s curated summer exhibition program. But that’s not all—Tropez also serves up its art with a side of fries and a Capri Sun.
Operating under the banner of ‘connect, create, care’, the Urban Nation museum is a space for urban contemporary art. Utilizing both internal and external spaces, artwork can be found along the building’s facade, as well as in its indoors, making it one of the coolest street art and urban projects in the city. Urban Nation creates a space for artists to shape urban spaces around the globe, hosting workshops, events and exhibitions. Creative Director Yasha Young helped make the gallery a reality in 2013 and continues to propel the non-profit education and networking platform to support artists.
The art of typography is at its most visceral at Buchstabenmuseum, the world’s first museum to collect letterforms from public spaces. This museum delves into urban history with a completely fresh perspective, preserving and documenting three-dimensional letters and signages, as well as their histories, to create a captivating collection that is entirely unique.
One of the most exclusive and thrilling art collections in Berlin, the Sammlung Boros Collection, or Boros Bunker, is enveloped in an aura of mystery, history and cutting-edge creativity. The structure was built in 1942 and served as a bomb shelter and since then, it has subsequently been used as a prison, a banana storeroom and as an S&M fetish club. Eventually, it found its way into the hands of Christian Boros and his family, who transformed it into the contemporary art gallery it is today. Boasting works from established contemporary artists like Olafur Eliasson, Wolfgang Tillmans and Tracey Emin, the secluded space offers a treasure trove for art lovers to lose themselve in.