Some of the most compelling art collections aren’t put together over decades by committee, but rather express the personal vision of an individual collector: think of such maverick institutions as New York’s Frick, London’s Saatchi or Venice’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection. And over the last three years, Berlin’s cultural landscape has also been enriched by a trio of collections bearing a distinctly individual stamp, spanning everything from Renaissance amber to contemporary video art.
The Boros Collection enjoys a spectacular location in a World War II-era bunker with six foot thick concrete walls, its whitewashed interior featuring works by the likes of Olafur Eliasson, Damien Hirst and Elizabeth Peyton. The world-class contemporary collection, assembled by advertising executive Christian Boros, can be viewed on Fridays and weekends by appointment only.
Friedrich Christian Flick, scion of a prominent industrialist family, amassed a huge collection of works concentrating on the period between the 1960s and the present day. In 2008 he turned much of it over to the city of Berlin, where it is housed in the former railway station Hamburger Bahnhof. It wasn’t a universally applauded gesture; the Flicks were active supporters of the Nazis and some thought the family insufficiently repentant about the use of slave labor during the war.
Meanwhile Me Collector’s Room, a huge purpose-built space amongst the commercial galleries of Mitte, reflects the private obsessions of Wella heir Thomas Olbricht. The “Wunderkammer” section is an exquisite display of morbid curios, a modern interpretation of the great princely “cabinets of curiosity” of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. But if death predominates upstairs, downstairs in the temporary exhibition space it’s all about sex, or at least it is until early May. The aptly-titled show “X-Rated” features the garishly erotic, Pop Art-influenced visions of cult artists William N. Copley and Andreas Slominski.