As well as being home to world-class museums like the Pergamon and Neue Nationalgalerie, in the years since Reunification Berlin has also become an important center for both producing and selling contemporary art. After the Wall fell, many galleries set up on and around Linienstrasse in the Mitte district, still a major destination for serious collectors and curious passers-by alike.
But with rents increasing and the fickle art crowd craving new kicks, the center of gravity for the contemporary art scene has been moving slowly south, first staking out the streets around Checkpoint Charlie and more recently moving onto Potsdamer Strasse, formerly known for its streetwalkers.
With galleries scattered over these three areas and well beyond, just finding them is challenge enough. And once across the threshold, many visitors find themselves intimidated by the monastic quiet, air of exclusivity and often impenetrable artworks. That’s where the Gallery Weekend (this year, April 26 to 28) comes in. It’s an attempt at breaking down this elitist image by opening up these spaces to a wider audience over three days. Participating galleries will be putting on special events and openings, staying open late to maximize outreach to contemporary art agnostics.
Over 50 galleries are taking part, ranging in size from tiny storefront exhibition spaces to big-time players like Galerie Eigen + Art and Contemporary Fine Arts. Likewise, the range of artists on display reaches from major names like Julian Schnabel and Jenny Holzer to the kind of up-and-coming local creative talent for which Berlin is so renowned.