The Unconventional City of Art
In Berlin, it is still possible to find undiscovered spaces with provisional charm. An ever-popular trend: converting former factory buildings into exciting locations for art. In April 2017, Reinbeckhallen opened its doors in the city’s southeastern district of Oberschöneweide—in a former transformer factory featuring 5 000 square meters of space for exhibitions, workshops, and artist studios. The German and Swiss couple Burkhard Varnholt and Salome Grisard run the Kindl – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst inside a former brewery in Neukölln. A pulsating international art scene gathers at openings in the galleries of Mitte, Tiergarten, Charlottenburg, or Kreuzberg, where the architectural dimensions also make more of an impression than in other locations around Germany: König Galerie presents exhibitions in the roughly 800-square-meter space of a former church, Sprüth Magers occupies a former dance hall, and Esther Schipper the old Der Tagesspiegel printing plant. The Martin-Gropius-Bau always attracts visitors with prestigious exhibitions of artists like Ed Atkins or Philippe Parreno. And C/O Berlin dedicates exhibitions to world famous photographers such as Sebastião Salgado or Irving Penn in the former Amerika Haus, just across from the Bahnhof Zoo train station. Since 1998, the Berlin Biennale has instigated contemporary discourse with new artistic positions. But new impulses can always be found: almost every evening, art enthusiasts can take part in intellectually stimulating events—artist talks, performances, or video screenings. And the art market? Gallery Weekend, which takes place around May 1, attracts hundreds of international collectors to the city. Via VIP shuttle or bike, visitors can hit about fifty galleries. At the start of the fall art season, in September, there’s Art Berlin, the centerpiece of Berlin Art Week, which every year offers an explosive array of openings, performances, and talks. This much is clear: a regular visit to Berlin is mandatory for all art fans.