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Though the low-ish cost of living gives young artists room to experiment, the old ‘poor but sexy’ maxim no longer applies in Berlin’s art scene, which has witnessed a slow but steady flow of collectors and capital from the West since the city’s reunification in the 1990s.
While gallery owners and artists remain ambivalent about these developments, there’s no question that world-class talent continues to emerge at the very best art museums and galleries in Berlin. There’s still evidence of the city’s scruffy underside around Kreuzberg and Neukölln, of course, and a smattering of art collectives are thriving there, too – notably the ‘aggressively humanist’ Centre for Political Beauty. And let’s be honest, many camera-wielding tourists appear to come to Berlin just for the city’s first-rate street art scene.
We’d highly recommend planning a trip to coincide with one many brilliant arts events in Berlin – perhaps for Berlin Art Week in September, or the Gallery Weekend in late April, when dozens of the hottest galleries open their doors to the public. Our top tip: don’t arrive hungry, lest the vernissages’ free-flowing wine gets the better of you. Instead, pair a trek out to well-heeled West Berlin (where the majority of galleries are found) with a meal at a restaurant in Berlin’s Chinatown, like Lon Men’s Noodle House.
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