The World to the Fair: Berlin

A changing map of the city’s gallery scene

In a 5-part series from the upcoming issue of Frieze Week magazine, Chicago, São Paulo, Berlin, Tokyo and Los Angeles come to Randall's Island. 
 
Berlin’s art scene is still driven mainly by galleries and artist-run initiatives. Within the last five to ten years the city has reversed the trend of the post-reunification 1990s, when everyone wanted to move east. Now some of the formerly neglected western boroughs have attracted interest and investment. Today the city’s main gallery cluster is to be found in Schöneberg, along Potsdamer Strasse and Kurfürstenstrasse (in an area formerly close to the wall and in the shadow of Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie, which is closed for renovation). 
 
Isa Genzken, Hallelujah (Installation View), 2012, Schinkel Pavillon Courtesy the artist and Schinkel Pavillon

Isa Genzken, Hallelujah (Installation View), 2012, Schinkel Pavillon Courtesy the artist and Schinkel Pavillon

 
The area brims with some of the city’s most interesting galleries—Société, Esther Schipper, Barbara Wien (the latter having a great art bookshop, too), and the likes of Micky Schubert, Supportico Lopez, Tanya Leighton, and Exile. Not far away, in Kreuzberg’s Monumentenstrasse, is one of Berlin’s more interesting artist-run spaces, The Duck. Kreuzberg is also home to what may be Berlin’s most stunning gallery space: König Galerie’s premises, in
an old, concrete-brutalist church built by architect Werner Düttmann in the 1960s, which took years of renovation.
 
Even farther west—past Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten—you’ll find the neighborhoods of Wilmersdorf and Charlottenburg. Walking the broad streets, with their tasteful fin-de-siècle houses—only occasionally interspersed with postwar buildings, hastily thrown up to plug the bomb craters of World War II—you’ll find your way to galleries like Galerie Max Hetzler and Buchholz or, a few streets down, Mathew Gallery, run by David Lieske and Peter Kersten, whose music label Dial has been responsible for some of the finest house music to come out of Germany in the last 15 years.
 
Back in Mitte, a former East-Berlin district, you’ll find KW Institute for Contemporary Art, location of the Berlin Biennale (this year’s edition is curated by DIS), and dealer Gerd Harry “Judy” Lybke’s Galerie Eigen + Art. Five minutes’ walk away is Galerie Neu, Galerie neugerriemschneider and Sprüth Magers’ massive headquarters. Next door to the latter, pay a visit to the great Image Movement, a Rosemarie Trockel- and Thea Djordjadze-designed shop for artists’ records and films. One last stop on the way east: Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler—hard to find on the upper floors of a newspaper building, but definitely worth a visit!
 
Exterior of König Galerie Courtesy König Galerie Photograph: Ludger Paffrath
Top Image: Isa Genzken, “Hallelujah” (installation view) Schinkel Pavillon, 2012 Courtesy the artist and Schinkel Pavillon

Exterior of König Galerie Courtesy König Galerie Photograph: Ludger Paffrath

Top Image: Isa Genzken, “Hallelujah” (installation view) Schinkel Pavillon, 2012 Courtesy the artist and Schinkel Pavillon

 

The full article appears in the first New York edition of Frieze Week magazine available here or with your tickets to Frieze New York.

Read Part I: Chicago
Read Part II: São Paulo
Read Part IV: Tokyo

Read Part V: Los Angeles

Frieze Week magazine is the insiders’ guide to our art fairs with a preview of the best works on view, news of curated projects and talks, and tips on the most important exhibitions and events taking place around town. Frieze Week is published in anticipation of Frieze New York in May and Frieze London & Masters in October.

Dominikus Müller is a freelance writer based in Berlin.

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