Where to see art in Berlin

Berlin is an art lover’s paradise – find out for yourself with our expert’s guide to the best galleries in town

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London has its pubs, New York its delis and in Berlin, it's impossible to fling a currywurst without hitting an art gallery of some kind. Yes, long feted for its gallery scene, Berlin's galleries span a gamut from ridiculously, romantically ramshackle to aristocratic marvels of architectural splendour, all making up the heady brew that is the Berlin art scene. 


Post-reunification, the influx of artists and those who need to be around them, has meant a twenty-year boom in creativity in the capital. Today, just about every corner of the city is riddled with art, in some shape or form. And despite Berlin's economic woes and dramatic history, creativity and cultural richness continues to flourish.


Like most things in Berlin, the gallery scene is fragmented and diverse. A few days pounding the streets of Neukolln, Kreuzberg, Schoenberg and Mitte will uncover a wealth of galleries, from the scruffy, punk-infused atmosphere within the south of the city where smaller, off-beat spaces thrive to the leafy boulevards of Charlottenburg to the west, where one finds the older, more distinguished establishments.  Through the central drag of Mitte, which sprawls eastwards from Potsdamerplatz to the gentrified politeness of Prenzlauerberg in the former East, one discovers top-tier establishments that have in recent times, congregated along the Potsdamerstrasse area into the East, where areas around Rosenthalerplatz and Augustrasse offer the art-hungry visitor rich rewards.


Recent years have been turbulent in the art gallery scene. A few years ago, the city's state-backed art fair, Forum imploded into a cloud of internecine back-stabbings and politics. Into the breach stepped Art Berlin Contemporary and Gallery Weekend - two annual independent initiatives that saw gallery-led consortia drive new models of collective exhibition and marketing. Ultimately, these two events - the former, a sort of cross between a mini-biennale and fringe art fair, the latter, a concerted programme of openings across town, bringing together 51 of the city's galleries. The highlights of the year, nevertheless, most weekends see a raft of openings around town and there's usually a fantastic party or two to be had afterwards... just follow the crowds.  In the meantime, before the cheap beer and fug of cigarette smoke descends over the party time crowd, here's our pick of some of the city's coolest new (and old) galleries.


Galerie Crone

  • Critics choice

Founded in Hamburg in 1982, Galerie Crone has been a Berlin mainstay since setting up in the Rudi-Dutschke-Str 26 in 2004, neighbouring other recommended institutions such as VeneKlasenWerner and Alexander Levy. A powerhouse of German and European contemporary art,

  1. Rudi-Dutschke-Strasse 26
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Contemporary Fine Arts

  • Critics choice

One of Berlin’s best-known spaces, Contemporary Fine Arts has been presenting idiosyncratic art from around the world since 1992. Run by Bruno Brunnet, Nicole Hackert and Philipp Haverkampf, CFA’s programme blends the outré and fresh with eminences, in their

  1. Am Kupfergraben 10
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Galerie Eigen + Art/Lab

  • Critics choice

Gerd Harry ‘Judy’ Lybke is one of the more idiosyncratic characters of the Berlin art scene. A charismatic, compact colossus in the post-Reunification German art scene, Lybke – along with Christian Ehrentraut and tutor Matthias Kleindienst – nurtured the

  1. Auguststrasse 26/11-13
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Galerie Capitain Petzel

  • Critics choice

Housed in a dramatic, Soviet-era Modernist block at the top of the Frankfurter Allee in former East Berlin, Capitain Petzel is a light, bright and airy space that, in a former life, was used to showcase ideologically-friendly art during the DDR era. Today, thanks to

  1. Karl-Marx-Allee 45
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KW Institute for Contemporary Art

  • Critics choice

Housed in a former margarine factory and sporting a social event-friendly courtyard designed by Dan Graham, Kunst Werke has been a major non-profit showcase since the early 1990s. Recently, the institution embarked upon a new phase in its 20-odd year history with a new

  1. Auguststrasse 69
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Galerie Thomas Schulte

  • Critics choice

If you are biking along Mitte’s Charlottenstrasse – a rather dull stretch of street, parallel to Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse – you will suddenly encounter a corner building with wraparound glass windows, containing anything from a teetering mass of

  1. Charlottenstrasse 24
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Johann König

  • Critics choice

König (half-brother of New York gallerist Leo and son of museum-man Kaspar) is one of Berlin’s bona fide iconoclasts. Upon opening his gallery at the age of 21, in 2002, he promptly eschewed convention by inviting his friend, artist Jeppe Hein to install a wrecking

  1. Dessauerstrasse 6-7
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DAADGalerie

  • Critics choice

A bit of a local institution, DAADGalerie, founded with funding from the USA’s Ford Foundation, is steeped in postwar Berlin history. Now financed by the city, the ongoing Berliner Künstlerprogramm sees 20 artists take an annual residence, the fruits of which are

  1. Zimmerstrasse 90-91
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Klemm’s

Back in 2007, when Sebastian Klemm and Silvia Kaske founded Klemm’s, Mitte’s Brunnenstrasse was one of the hottest parts of town for your socially-agile, well-heeled urban warrior to deploy their finely-tuned art chops. But in Berlin as elsewhere, fashionable

Alexander Levy

Scion of legendary Hamburg and Berlin dealers, Alex Levy took over this boxy gallery space in the Rudi-Dutschke-Strasse 26 building, from his father’s Gallery Levy in 2011, repositioning it as a dynamic and progressive institution that continued the family trait of

Peres Projects

  • Critics choice

Berlin’s Peres Projects has occupied the nexus of art, fashion, cinema and celebrity for seven years. Uniting the American West and East coasts with Berlin, expat Javier Peres remains something of a legend around town, known as much for his peripatetic art spaces as

  1. Karl-Marx-Allee 82
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Sexauer

  • Critics choice

Launched in summer 2013, by lawyer-turned-dealer Jan Sexauer, this discreetly located gallery is in Weisensee, north of Prenzlauerberg. It’s slowly becoming a bit of an art district, with influential players on the Berlin scene such as Jonas Burgert and John Isaacs

  1. Streustrasse 90
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Sammlung Boros

  • Critics choice

More a museum than an actual gallery, this concrete World War II bunker has been transformed into a 3,000sq m space containing the formidable collection of advertising mogul Christian Boros and his wife Karen. Works on view include contemporary greats such as Olafur

  1. Reinhardtstrasse 20
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Galerie Daniel Buchholz

  • Critics choice

A hushed repository of West Berlin elegance and refinement, in 2008 Galerie Daniel Buchholz moved to Berlin after twenty years in Cologne. Today, the gallery represents a raft of well-known names such as 2006 Turner Prize winner Tomma Abts, Wolfgang Tillmans, Aaron

  1. Fasanenstrasse 30
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Galerie Guido W Baudach

  • Critics choice

Founded in 1999 by Guido W Baudach, Martin Germann, Peter Koch and originally named Maschenmode (it was situatued in a former knitting factory in East Berlin) Baudach is one of Berlin’s pioneering galleries. Over its 14 years, the gallery has evolved its focus and

  1. Potsdamer Straße 85
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Galerie Volker Diehl

  • Critics choice

The Berlin side of the Russian-German gallery Volker Diehl has long been a prominent member of the international art world. A founding father of the now defunct Berlin Forum fair, Volker Diehl is still the place to go for international talents, with a roster that

  1. Niebuhrstrasse 2
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Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler

  • Critics choice

Art dealers Amadeo Kraupa-Tuskany and partner Nadine Zeidler are behind this unusual little space, situated halfway up an office block in the heart of former East Berlin at Alexanderplatz. Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler exhibit artists operating on the fringes, often focusing

  1. Karl–Liebknecht–Straße 29
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Chert

  • Critics choice

Launched in Kreuzberg in 2008, Chert’s multi-national aspect means that there’s always something of interest on show, from points right across the globe. With a current roster of around ten artists, including Mexico’s Alejandro Almanza Pereda, the British

  1. Skalitzer Straße 68
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Users say

2 comments
Daniel G
Daniel G

Does anyone reading know of any galleries in Berlln with a special interest in American Indian art?

Daniel G
Daniel G

Any gallies in Berlin with a special interest in American Indian art? Or elsewhere in Germany?

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