With Berlin Art Week starting tomorrow, the city’s museums, institutions, fairs and project spaces will hold the third edition of the annual art festival with a wide variety of exhibitions, performances, talks, movie screenings and a lot of parties, of course. While the official event, which was created in a joint effort by some of Berlin’s vibrant art scene’s major players to establish both a big kick-off for the new season and a counterbalance to spring’s Gallery Weekend, attracts many professional and casual visitors from far and wide, several galleries and collectors seize the occasion to showcase their art as well.
As if the usual amount of exhibitions and related events wasn’t enough, the increased number of events is plain confusing during Berlin Art Week. We picked the best events so you won’t grow regret missing the ones everyone talks about.
Berlin’s one and only serious art fair (no, we’re not grieving about Artforum’s demise as everybody else is) is always a safe bet and the best option to get an update and a good overview about what’s going on in Berlin’s galleries – which newcomer artists finally entered the big stage and who’s advanced their work, who bought that obscenely overpriced, hideous large-size painting, and who kept stayed relaxed after days of constant tension.
If your feet tend to demand mercy after endless weekends of vernissage hopping and champagne hunting, abc’s opening event on Thursday (4:00 – 9:00 pm) will offer incredibly short distances to trudge around more than 110 booths of local, national and international galleries, a barbecue in the courtyard and many people to chat with. If you’re more inclined to a less flustered visit, consider going to abc the next day when everybody else is either at work or trying to get over their hangover.
abc art berlin contemporary
Luckenwalder Straße 4 – 6
10963 Berlin (U Gleisdreieck)
Thursday: 4:00 – 9:00 pm,
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Various ticket options for abc only available as well as combined tickets for Berlin Art Week.
Akademie der Künste (Hanseatenweg branch)
Well known for its encompassing, often political exhibitions, Akademie der Künste will dedicate their most recent show to the condition of truth in contemporary art as a constructed and deconstructed matter of different perspectives. “Schwindel der Wirklichkeit” (swindle of reality) assembles art works that strategically use the viewer’s perception in order to create reality, confusion or deception, often about political and social issues. Works by an eclectic roster of highly acclaimed international artists who are primarily concerned with this matter – among them Marina Abramovic, Thomas Demand, Harun Farocki, Nam June Paik, Tino Sehgal and others – are featured in a comprehensive program of performances, talks and discussions.
Akademie der Künste
10557 Berlin (S Bellevue, U Hansaplatz – the Mitte branch will be closed during Berllin Art Week)
Tuesday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
You might not feel too inclined to leave the city center if it’s not absolutely necessary, but truth be told, there are some gems outside the S-Bahn ring, generally speaking and when it comes to art. Haus am Waldsee is a former mansion in the secluded and more upscale (well, for Berlin standards) neighborhood of Zehlendorf, that is now being used to display art in an environment that fits the expensive exhibits. But in case you expect posh and dry high-society gatherings, you can rest assured as we warmly recommend the Michael Sailstorfer show that takes place during Berlin Art Week.
The German artist is best known for his witty, amusing and often surprising installations, where he repaints and reattaches a tree’s foliage, builds machines that constantly wear off tires, has a wooden hut dismantled and burnt in its own chimney or launches trees into the air. Haus am Waldsee will also offer a tour guided by the curator and the artist on Saturday at 10:00 am.
Haus am Waldsee
Argentinische Allee 30
14163 Berlin (U Krumme Lanke)
Tuesday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
This eclectic non-profit initiative is easily overlooked, yet one of the few gems among Berlin’s project space, well-known among the young avant-garde art crowd for its sophisticated and thought-provoking exhibitions. Needless to say, the space was selected as one of the nine associated project partners by Berlin Art Week’s jury to take part in the joint festival.
Import Projects will show a solo exhibition by Marguerite Humeau, who combines prehistoric fossils, occult biology and science-fiction dystopia into an uncanny spectacle in order to create a communicative approach to both extinct, present and future life forms on earth and beyond. An artist talk will be held on Thursday at 7:00 pm.
10787 Berlin (U Wittenbergplatz)
Thursday – Sunday: 1:00 – 5:00 pm
Berlin’s art scene can be a confusing clutter to anybody who hasn’t had the chance or the time to discover all the big and small galleries, the often hidden project spaces and pop-up rooms. It can be all the more overwhelming, as they simultaneously demand one’s attention during Berlin Art Week. Guided tours through the art jungle can be useful these days – some of the most diversified and deeply immersing ones offered by Nice Art & Architecture Tours. As in the last years, the expert team offers special tours to some of the week’s more interesting institutions and project spaces. Make sure to sign up beforehand!
Niche Art & Architecture Tours Berlin
Saturday: spaces in Kreuzberg (2:00 – 4:00 pm), Sunday: spaces in Mitte (2:00 – 4:00 pm) – 15€ each
One of Berlin’s most unconventional project spaces that goes by the enigmatic name team titanic and had branches in Mogadishu and Kairo, moved to a former church in Berlin’s Mitte district to host their group exhibition “Profit | Prophet.” Selected as one of this year’s cooperating project spaces, team titanic will dedicate this show to the meandering intertwining of a quasi-religious utopia made of CGI, 3D and synthetic high-tech materials with artistic notions of anonymity, collectivism, self-marketing, virtual and dystopic realties. The vernissage with several performances will take place on Saturday at 6:00 pm.
team titanic at St. Evangelist church
10117 Berlin (U Oranienburger Tor, S Oranienburger Straße)
Saturday: 6:00 – 11:00 pm, Sunday: 2:00 – 7:00 pm
As one of Berlin’s oldest institutions, the Kunstverein and its often profoundly designed exhibitions are integral components of Berlin’s art scene. They invited German artist Katharina Grosse for this year’s Berlin Art Week who is internationally acclaimed for her large-scale color explosions she sprays on various installations and surfaces. Using a wide range of intense pigments, she creates psychedelic indoor dunes of colored sand and dust, and works outside of the gallery as well, e.g. painting the abandoned buildings, slopes, trees, and bushes alongside a busy roadbed so train passengers can pass through a dreamy countryside that is nothing short of a contemporary wonderland that Alice would feel at home in. It’s not clear yet, what Grosse devised for her show at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein’s showroom (it’s supposed to be painting or a loose concept thereof), but it’s safe to say it includes bright colors and a vivid visitor’s experience.
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
10115 Berlin (U Oranienburger Tor)
Showroom on first floor is open Tuesday – Friday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Thursday until 8:00 pm
Thomas Demand’s solo exhibition at Sprüth Magers may not be part of Berlin Art Week’s official program but as so many others, the prestigious art gallery took the occasion to attract the increased stream of visitors. Demand is a German artist highly acclaimed for photographing his meticulously built cardboard replicas of real rooms which often bear social and political meanings. Sprüth Magers will exhibit one of his oldest yet seldom seem series “Dailies,” photographs developed from pictures he took with his smart phone. Focusing on the mundane, Demand reflects the pervasive habit of casual photo-snapping (and sharing on Instagram) by abstracting these simple objects in their ordinary surroundings. Make sure to also visit the coinciding Thomas Scheibitz and Arte Povera exhibitions at Sprüth Magers’ Mitte branch.
Oranienburger Straße 18
10178 Berlin (S Oranienburger Straße, S Hackescher Markt)
Wednesday: opening at 6:00 – 9:00 pm, regular hours Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Berlin Art Weeks offers combined tickets for all the participating venues. Buy them online here or at any of the venues.