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What's on

Berlin art: What exhibitions are on now?

What's going on in the art world and which Berlin exhibitions should you check out right now?

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Nancy Holt: Circles of Light

Holt completes construction of her most discussed work, Sun Tunnels in Utah’s Great Basin Desert. © Holt/Smithson Foundation, photo: Ardele Lister, 1976

For more than five decades, Nancy Holt used her practice of large-scale, often outdoor installations, as a way to understand our relationship with the spaces around us. ‘Circle of Light: Experiments with Sound, Image, Objects 1966-1987’ is the most comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work in Germany to date, and traces the stories of some of her most impactful artworks.

  • Gropius Bau, Niederkirchnerstr. 7, Kreuzberg-Mitte, details.
  • 22.03 – 21.07.24
  • €15 (€10 reduced)

Last Chance

Lee Ufan

Lee Ufan, Portrait © Lee Ufan. Photo: Courtesy of Studio Lee Ufan / Jacopo La Forgia

In his practice, Lee Ufan has always engaged with classical painting, including works by Rembrandt. As a special highlight for this major retrospective, the Hamburger Bahnhof will be borrowing Rembrandt’s famous Self-Portrait with Velvet Beret (1643) from the Gemäldegalerie, to show alongside Lee’s large-scale installation Relatum: The Mirror Road (2016-2023).

  • Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstr. 50-51, Mitte, details.
  • 27.10.23 – 28.04.24
  • Price: €12 (€6 reduced) for entrance to all exhibitions at the Hamburger Bahnhof.

Richard Frater: What remains of a naturalist

Ricard Frater, ‘What remains of a naturalist’, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

In the glorious remnants of the Klosterruine, New Zealand artist Richard Frater is building a responsive installation for the local raptor population. It includes a reflective new video work, focusing on the vulnerabilities of these birds and their shrinking territories, juxtaposing shots from Aotearoa (the Māori term for New Zealand) with those from the high-rise habitat around the monastery.

  • Klosterruine Berlin, Klosterstr. 73a, Mitte, details.
  • 09.12.23 – 27.04.24
  • Price: Free admission

Josephine Baker: Icon in Motion

Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA/Keystone

An icon of film, music, performance and art, Josephine Baker’s cultural impact can’t be understated. ‘Icon in Motion’ explores how her larger-than-life persona was shaped through photography, film and news media. Giving audiences a look into Baker’s work, this exhibition celebrates the influence of a truly iconic performer.

  • Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Str. 50, Mitte, details.
  • 26.01 – 28.04.24
  • Price: €14 (€7 reduced) for entrance to all exhibitions at the Neue Nationalgalerie.

Omar Victor Diop & Carla Chan

Omar Victor Diop, Albert Badin 1747-1822 (2021) © Omar Victor Diop. Commissioned by Autograph
Still from Black Moves © Carla Chan

In the exhibition ‘Allegoria, Diaspora, Liberty’, Senegalese artist Omar Victor Diop draws inspiration from the staging of historical European portraiture to reimagine moments of Black revolution. 

An immersive video installation from Carla Chan, ‘Black Moves’ frames the overwhelming force of nature against our own seemingly fleeting existence through an interplay between elements of the natural and digital world.

  • Fotografiska, Oranienburger Str. 54, Mitte, details.
  • 19.01 – 28.04.24
  • Price: €14 Mon-Wed, €15 Thurs-Fri, €16 Sat-Sun (€8 reduced) for entrance to all exhibitions. Free entrance on the first Tuesday of the month.

Rare Prints: Cy Twombly, Roy Lichenstein, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Emma Stibbon

Roy Lichtenstein, part of ‘Perfect/Imperfect’ series (1978-95).

Make an afternoon trip out to Dahlem and get up close and personal with little-known works by some of the most influential Modern and contemporary artists out there. As Galerie Bastian’s first exhibition dedicated entirely to printmaking, this showcase of rare graphic works is not one to miss.

  • Galerie Bastian, Taylorstr. 1, Dahlem, details.
  • 03.02 – 20.04.24
  • Price: Free admission

Preview – From Odessa to Berlin: 16th to 19th Century European Painting

Gabriel von Max, Light, detail, early 1870s © Odessa Museum für westliche und östliche Kunst / Photo: Christoph Schmidt

As part of an exciting collaborative project between Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie and the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art, this showcase presents twelve unique paintings as a preview of the upcoming main exhibition, which opens in January 2025.

  • Gemäldegalerie, Matthäikirchplatz, Tiergarten, details.
  • 13.02 – 28.04.24
  • Price: €12 (€6 reduced) for entrance to all exhibitions at the Gemäldegalerie.

Tony Cragg, Sculpture

Installation view, Tony Cragg, Sculpture. Photo: Buchmann Galerie

Artists have been trying to capture movement with static materials like stone, wood and bronze since antiquity. The stunning sculptural works that make up Tony Cragg’s current exhibition at Buchmann Galerie examine the ways in which we perceive space and time, and the dynamic tensions that exist between them.

  • Buchmann Galerie, Charlottenstr. 13, Kreuzberg, details.
  • 24.02 – 13.04.24
  • Price: Free admission

I Opened the Curtain to See What Lays Behind

Installation view, I Opened the Curtain to See What Lays Behind, Photo: © Andrea Rossetti 

A group exhibition with works by artists including Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Asta Gröting, Lexia Hachtmann, Pakui Hardware and Laura Lima, ‘I Opened the Curtain to See What Lays Behind’ explores human gesture and the politics of unspoken language. The works in this exhibition propose the idea of art and art-making as a kind of absent gesture – one that’s somehow both foreign and always familiar. 

  • carlier | gebauer, Markgrafenstr. 67, Kreuzberg, details.
  • 24.02 – 13.04.24
  • Price: Free admission

Amelie von Wulffen: I Think We Did a Great Job

I Think We Did a Great Job, 2024, Amelie von Wulffen, oil on canvas, 60x80cm

Mixing folklore with picturesque scenes of (grotesquely) idyllic Bavarian life, all seeped in the repressive shadow of German post-war guilt, Amelie von Wulfen’s unsettling paintings mine the darker side of the German psyche.

  • Galerie Barabara Weiss, Kohlfurter Str. 41/43, Kreuzberg, details.
  • 09.03 – 13.04.24
  • Price: Free admission

Coming Soon

Yulia Mahr, Unbecoming

Yulia Mahr, The Quiet Uncertainty of Stone

As its name hints at, ‘Unbecoming’ is a study of things which are both unsightly and in the process of becoming onedone. Through this collection of photographic work, Hungarian-born and UK-based artist Yulia Mahr aims to uncover the beauty hidden underneath the moments we often find most ugly and disturbing – death, decay, the process of ageing and even the pain and gore of childbirth.

  • Wehrmuehle, Wehrmühlenweg 8, Biesenthal, details.
  • 27.04 – 26.05.24
  • Price: Free admission

Marianna Simnett: Winner

Marianna Simnett, The Severed Tail, 2022, Venedig © Courtesy: the artist, La Biennale di Venezia and Société, Berlin / Foto: Roberto Marossi

‘Winner’ is a multichannel film installation commissioned for the art and culture programme of the UEFA EURO 2024 tournament. It explores the beautiful game through a three-act ballet, looking at football’s socially constructed power hierarchies, crowd psychology, and constant pressure to perform.

Simnett adapted the film from the 1954 short story The Destructors by British author Graham Greene, and her adaptation is performed by a group of contemporary dancers playing fans, players, ticket officers and wardens. The film’s hallucinatory world extends beyond the screen into the exhibition space and museum garden, as visitors are guided through the installation by barriers, like those you would find in a stadium, as the film itself spreads around the space. You’ll even be occasionally interrupted by vendors offering hotdogs and beer.

  • Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstr. 50, Mitte, details.
  • 17.05.24 – 03.11.24
  • Price: €12 (€6 reduced) for entrance to all exhibitions at the Hamburger Bahnhof.

Nan Goldin: This Will Not End Well

Nan Goldin, Picnic on the Esplanade, Boston, 1973, detail, courtesy the artist.

After winning the Käthe Kollwitz Prize in 2022, artist and activist Nan Goldin is getting one of the greatest prizes of all: a full-scale retrospective at Berlin’s most prestigious art museum. ‘This WIll Not End Well’ showcases the photographer’s work at the end of the twentieth century, when she captured her friends and lovers immersed in a fluid, hedonistic bohemia, full of joy, sensuality and suffering.

  • Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Str. 50, Mitte, details.
  • 23.11.24 – 23.02.25
  • Price: €14 (€7 reduced) for entrance to all exhibitions at the Neue Nationalgalerie.

Now Showing

Soft Power 

Hamid Zénati stages one of his textile works as a performative sculpture in the ocean during his travels, 1990s © Hamid Zénati estate. Photo: Hamid Zénati

Often dismissed as lowly womens’ work fit only for the domestic sphere, textile art is being put in the spotlight with the exhibition ‘Soft Power’. Celebrating the ways in which textiles, fibre art and soft sculpture-making have been used as disruptive forces against traditional styles of cultural production, this exhibition also examines the webs of productions and trade that continue to transport textiles and the people who produce them across continents.

  • DAS MINSK, Max-Planck-Str. 17, Potsdam details.
  • 16.03 – 11.08.24
  • Price: €10 (€8 reduced)

Michelle Jezierski, Verge

Michelle Jezierski: Lapse, 2024, diptych, oil and acrylic on canvas 9180×400cm). Photo: Marcus Schneider

It’s worth the heading down to Steglitz to see this Berlin-based painter’s first solo institution exhibition. A well-known figure on the scene, Jezierski’s wonderfully evocative canvases mix gestural freedom with tight geometric ruthlessness.

  • Schwartzsche Villa, Grunewaldstr. 55, Steglitz, details.
  • 22.03 – 18.08.24
  • Price: Free entry

Joseph Beuys: Sammlungspräsentation 

Joseph Beuys, Das Kapital Raum 1970–1977, detail, 1980, State Museums in Berlin, National Gallery, Marx Collection © State Museums in Berlin, National Gallery / Thomas Bruns © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

One of the most influential figures in Modern art, Joseph Beuyes is being celebrated with a large-scale new exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof. Made up of around 15 works, including important installations like Tram Stop: A monument to the future (1976) and Das Kapital Raum, 1970-1977 (1980), the exhibition showcases the complex life and work of Beuys.

  • Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstr. 50-51, Mitte, details
  • 22.03.24 – Until further notice
  • Price: To be confirmed

More Than Human: Design After the Anthropocene

Co-culture experiment for fungal biomaterials with mycelium from Ganoderma lucidum and Pycnoporus sanguineus Photo credit: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstgewerbemuseum

Get excited for a new discursive programme of pop-up exhibitions, lectures and workshops exploring the complexities of non-human life. 

  • Kunstgewerbemuseum, Matthäikirchplatz, Mitte, details.
  • 22.03.24 – Until further notice
  • Price: €10 (€5 reduced)

Shirin Neshat, The Fury

Flavia, from The Fury series, 2023 © Shirin Neshat, courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

Through a series of stunning black and white video and photo works, Neshat aims to tell the stories of sexually exploited female political prisoners in the Republic of Iran.

  • Fotografiska, Oranienburger Str. 54, Mitte details.
  • 08.03 – 09.06.25
  • Price: €14 Mon-Wed, €15 Thurs-Fri, €16 Sat-Sun (€8 reduced) for entrance to all exhibitions. Free entrance on the first Tuesday of the month.

Echoes of the Brother Countries

Verena Kyselka, Stimmen von Künstler:innen [Voices of artists] (2023), film still showing Dito Tembe in Schwerin in 1986 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024.

While in many ways life in the DDR was incredibly isolated, the government of the Deutsches Democratic Republic actually facilitated many political, educational and artistic exchanges with socialist and socialist-friendly nations around the world. But the DDR’s relationship with these so-called Brüderländer (‘brother countries’) and their citizens was anything but simple. This exhibition examines the complex socio-cultural dynamics that came to the fore in this often forgotten aspect of DDR society.

  • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, Tiergarten, details.
  • 02.03 – 20.05.24
  • Price: €8 (€6 reduced), free on Mondays.

Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years

Audre Lorde in the park “Im Schwarzen Grund”. Photo: Dagmar Schultz, 1984

The influential queer, African-American poet and activist Audre Lorde spent a number of influential years in West Berlin between 1984 and 1992. This photo-exhibition features images taken of Lorde by her friends and colleagues, both in her personal and private life, and tells the story of the influential figure’s time here.

  • FHXB Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum, Adalbertstr. 95A, Kreuzberg, details.
  • 20.02 – 30.06.24
  • Price: Free admission

Chronoroma: Photographic Treasures of the 20th Century

Helmut Newton, Patti Hansen in YSL, Promenade des Anglais, Nice 1976 © Helmut Newton Foundation, courtesy Condé Nast

Iconic scenes from 20th century fashion history, glamorous portraits and classic architectural shots. The images that make up this exhibition span six influential decades and include renowned works from the archive of Condé Nast.

  • Museum für Fotografie, Jebensstr. 2, Charlottenburg, details.
  • 15.02 – 20.05.24
  • Price: €12 (€6 reduced)

VALIE EXPORT, Retrospective

TOUCH CINEMA, 1968, The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna – The ESSL Collection © VALIE EXPORT, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023; Photo: Werner Schulz

With a box strapped to her naked chest, Austrian media and performance artist VALIE EXPORT invited passersby to reach their hands inside and touch her breasts. TAPP und TASTKINO (Touch Cinema) (1968) – one of EXPORT’s early “expanded cinema” actions – was designed to challenge notions of the voyeuristic gaze on the female body. It’s just one of the highlights of this major retrospective, which presents a comprehensive overview of the artist’s career.

  • c/o Berlin, Hardenbergstr. 22-24, Charlottenburg, details.
  • 27.01 – 21.05.24
  • Price: €12 (€6 reduced)

George Grosz: A Piece of my World Without Peace – The Collages

Cookery Class (1958) collage, George Grosz Estate

Uncovering the artist’s lesser known collage works, a new exhibition from this eponymously named little museum traces Grosz’s early photomontages. Just as witty as his drawings and paintings, these collages illustrate the hustle and bustle of the artist’s life in Berlin, as well as his wry perspectives on his exiled years in America.

  • Das Kleine Grosz Museum, Bülowstr. 18, Schöneberg, details.
  • 11.01 – 03.06.24
  • Price: €10 (€6 reduced)

Extreme Tension: Art between politics and society – Collection of the Nationalgalerie 1945 – 2000

Barnett Newman: Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue IV, 1969/70, Staatliche Museen zu
Berlin, Neue Nationalgalerie, 1982. Acquired with the support of the Verein der Freunde der National Galerie. Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023 / Photo: Vog

An expansive survey of art created during the second half of the 20th century, ‘Extreme Tension’ showcases a number of daring and diverse artworks. Political and social unrest characterised the post-war collection, which features key works from East and West Germany, Western Europe, the Soviet Union and the USA.

  • Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Str. 50, Mitte, details.
  • 18.11.23 – 28.09.25
  • Price: €14 (€7 reduced) for entrance to all exhibitions at the Neue Nationalgalerie.

Flow: The Exhibition on Menstruation

Sanitary belt, worn in Berlin, probably 1960s © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen / Christian Krug

Combining personal accounts, archival objects, interviews, music, film and art, ‘Flow: The Exhibition on Menstruation’ examines the discourses, debates and culture around periods. Why is there still a stigma about menstruation? How can we dismantle the culture of shame? And why does modern science still have so far to go in this field? These are just a few of the questions at the core of this exhibition.

  • Museum Europäischer Kulturen, Arnimallee 25, Dahlem, details.
  • 06.10.23 – 06.10.24
  • Price: €8 (€4 reduced)

Unbound: Performance as Rupture

Julien Creuzet, installation view, UNBOUND, JSF Berlin. Photo: Alwin Lay

A group exhibition examining how artists of different generations have related to the body, ‘Unbound: Performance as Rupture’ focuses on significant works of video art and (recorded) performance art. 

  • Julia Stoschek Foundation, Leipziger Str. 60, Mitte, details.
  • 14.09.23 – 28.07.24
  • Price: €5

Roads not Taken

Nocturnal thermonuclear explosion in Nevada USA, 5 July 1957. Photo: National Archives, Washington, D.C. / Public Domain

This new exhibition at the Deutsches Historisches Museum looks back at a series of decisive historical events throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, imagining what would have happened if things had turned out differently. Exploring alternative outcomes to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first presence of tanks at Checkpoint Charlie, the Nazi’s election victory and more. For the exhibition, staged pictures are juxtaposed with documentation of real events, such as the nuclear explosion in Nevada in 1957.

  • Deutsches Historisches Museum, Unter den Linden 2, Mitte, details.
  • 09.12.22 – 24.11.24
  • Price: €7 (€3.50 reduced), free admission for visitors under 18.