Zurich’s Best Contemporary Art Galleries

| © Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Home to over 50 museums and 100 art galleries, Zurich is without a doubt Switzerland’s cultural center, and the place to watch for cutting-edge contemporary art. The birthplace of the dada movement and Le Corbusier’s last great work, Zurich is a fantastic city to explore Swiss, European and international art. Its Löwenbräu complex, a former brewery and warehouse, is now home to numerous pioneering galleries and museums. Here are ten of the best contemporary art galleries and spaces in Zurich.

1. Galerie Eva Presenhuber

Art Gallery

Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Nestled in an industrial warehouse built in the early 1900s, Galerie Eva Presenhuber is a spacious and forward-looking art venue located in the former Maag Areal, in Zurich’s new urban development zone. Owner Eva Presenhuber has years of curatorial experience under her belt. The first gallery she founded was Walcheturm Gallery, launched back in 1989. Her mission is to showcase artists whose merit stretches beyond the commercial, allowing conceptual and experimental works to take center stage. Mixed-media artist Valentin Carron, who represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale in 2013, has been a regular fixture at the gallery ever since his first show there in 2005, but artists represented by the gallery also include New York-based conceptual artist Trisha Donnelly and Swiss-born Ugo Rondinone, whose mixed-media installations push the boundaries of scale and space. A sister gallery, whose aim is to complement the shows at the original space, opened in Zurich’s Löwenbräu Areal in November 2012.

2. Kunsthalle Zurich

Art Gallery

© Annik Wetter / Courtesy of the artist and Kunsthalle Zürich
Kunsthalle Zurich does not keep a permanent collection. Instead it chooses to exhibit a variety of new and established artists, allowing it to transform its identity as a space for experimental and provocative art. It holds five major individual or group exhibitions, plus three to five rotating shows per year, exhibiting artists who make a substantial contribution to the current discourse in the art world through their work. Recent exhibitions include a solo show by Ed Atkins, whose video art and installations question the relationship between the virtual side of our perception of the world and its corporeal counterpart, and a show by the stunning Slavs and Tatars art collective whose work, regularly featured at Kunsthalle, investigates language, socio-politics and time. The gallery sits comfortably in the very heart of Zurich’s artsy Löwenbräu complex.

3. Galerie Gmurzynska

Art Gallery, Museum

Large scale triptychs using images of his current muses, Theopholis London and Aymeline Valade, are on view at the Karl Lagerfeld: Fire Etchings exhibition at Gmurzynska Galerie
© Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo
In 2005, while celebrating its 40th anniversary, Galerie Gmurzynska relocated its headquarters from Germany to Switzerland. The gallery now boasts three exhibition spaces across Switzerland – in Zurich, Zug and St. Moritz – and prides itself on presenting a number of museum-quality exhibitions each year. Although it is widely considered as a pioneer in the field of the Russian avant-garde, Galerie Gmurzynska’s focus actually lies more generally in contemporary art, and embraces artists as diverse as architect Zaha Hadid, painter Fernando Botero, and Yves Klein, the foremost exponent of nouveau realism. With a history of over 150 exhibitions and numerous published catalogues, Galerie Gmurzynska is at the forefront of Switzerland’s contemporary art and continues to produce carefully curated shows from its central location on Zurich’s prestigious Paradeplatz.

4. Galerie Francesca Pia

Art Gallery, Brewery

nstallation view, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Galerie Francesca Pia, 2021. Photo: Annik Wetter
© Annik Wetter / Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Francesca Pia
Galerie Francesca Pia is known for the discovery and promotion of emerging artists. Owner and director Francesca Pia often relies on her own intuition when selecting the works to be featured, and rightly so. Her sense for picking fascinating, thought-provoking works must be at least partly due to her artistic upbringing and education. Pia opened her current gallery in 2012, choosing to locate it right next to Kunsthalle Zurich in Löwenbrau, a former brewery that is now home to Zurich’s lively contemporary art scene. The exhibitions shift between group and solo shows, and present the works of both international and Swiss artists, such as Lausanne-based Philippe Decrauzat whose works flirt with perspective, color and geometry, and established German artist Thomas Bayrle, who uses his background in graphics to create mesmerizing installations and illustrations.

5. Hauser & Wirth

Art Gallery

lowres jpg 72dpi-Hauser---Wirth-Ra-mistrasse
© Sim Canetty-Clarke / Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth

With gallery spaces in Zurich, London, New York and Somerset, Hauser & Wirth is a widely respected gallery that aims to showcase the best of modern art from across the world. The impressive exhibition programme at the Zurich space presents around ten exhibitions per year, all featuring museum-quality works. Recent shows include a rare look into German artist Martin Eder’s sculptural work, a video and sound installation by Peruvian David Zink Yi, and an exhibition of works by Polish painter Wilhelm Sasnal, whose dynamic social commentary shines through his stark palette. Nestled in the Löwenbrau complex, directly in the heart of Zurich’s most dynamic art complex, Hauser & Wirth continues to be a household name on Switzerland’s contemporary art scene.

6. Galerie Mark Müller

Art Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Mark Müller
Ever since its launch in 1990, Galerie Mark Müller has offered a solid program of exhibitions by Swiss and international contemporary artists whose work ranges from the conceptual to the radical, and experiments with a range of media and styles. The gallery places great importance on its long-standing collaborations with established artists, such as François Morellet, but it also eagerly supports up-and-coming talent. In addition to about ten solo and group shows organized each year, some of them thematic, Mark Müller gallery is also a regular presence at art fairs, among others Art Basel, where the gallery has exhibited every year since 1993.

7. Mai 36 Galerie

Art Gallery

Mai 36 Galerie
Courtesy of Mai 36 Galerie
Mai 36 exhibits international contemporary art, in media from painting, drawing and sculpture to photography, video and installation. Shows generally focus on artists whose work has roots going back to the 1960s and 70s, with pop art and conceptual art exponents regularly featuring on the exhibition program. Some of the thematic favorites at Mai 36 include the perception of art as a form of communication, and the questioning of the importance and function of art in our society. Mai 36 holds around six exhibitions a year, of both national and international, and new and established artists, with the hope of surprising Zurich’s cultural scene. The gallery also works closely with the artists and presents their work in individual exhibitions, publications and at international art fairs.

8. Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst


Courtesy of the artist and Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
The Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst is both a traditional museum with a high quality art collection, and a pioneering center for contemporary art. The museum exhibits numerous important, contemporary artists from the 1960s onwards, holding four to five exhibitions per year, all of which are organized in close cooperation with the artists involved. Featured artists, such as Jimmie Durham, along with Andrea Fraser and Esther Eppstein, participate in artist talks and events, in line with the museum’s educational focus.

9. Heidi Weber Museum – Centre Le Corbusier

Art Gallery, Building, Museum

Switzerland, Zurich, Centre le Corbusier, museum, Heidi-Weber-Haus
© Westend61 GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
The Heidi Weber Museum was built by and is dedicated to the works of Swiss architect Le Corbusier, and showcases his architectural and artistic accomplishment that spans sculpture, painting, furniture design and writing, in a single and self-inclusive work of art. The fruit of a longstanding collaboration between the artist and Heidi Weber, a Swiss gallerist, the museum is a stunning example of Le Corbusier’s work that highlights his lifelong dedication to modern form, spatial proportion and sensibility. A walk through the art space marks an entrance into his world and reveals much about the architect’s technical prowess and creativity. Established two years after Le Corbusier’s death, in 1957, the museum is perched on the shore of Lake Zurich in the city’s Seefeld neighborhood.

10. Galerie Bob Van Orsouw

Art Gallery, Building, Museum

Artists Eva (L) and Adele of ?Eva & Adele? take a look at exhibits from the gallery ?Bob van Orsouw? in Zurich
© dpa picture alliance archive / Alamy Stock Photo
Located in the same building as Zurich’s artistic giants: the Migros Museum, Kunsthalle Zurich and Hauser & Wirth, the much smaller Galerie Bob Van Orsouw still manages to impress with its fresh approach to contemporary art. Despite its modest beginnings in 1988 as a small art space in a private flat, the gallery has grown into a key player on Zurich’s art scene, bringing emerging and established artists to the public – in that, it still retains its original mission to fuse everyday life with an appreciation of the arts. Having featured well-known artists such as Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, or painter Philip Akkerman who creates only self-portraits, as well as younger artists like Julia Dault, Galerie Bob Van Orsouw offers well curated insights into the dynamics of contemporary art.

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