1. Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art
One of Berlin’s largest and undoubtedly most important artistic ventures was the construction of the KW Institute. Labelling itself as more collaborative creation space than a gallery, the exhibitions are dynamic, fascinating, and at the forefront of artistic movements.
It was here that Berlin’s most important artistic event, the Berlin Biennale, got its start in 1996, and to this day, the KW Institute continues to promote and advance contemporary art and culture in the city.
2. Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery
Created by Bruno Brunnet, Philipp Haverkampf, and Nicle Hackert and now occupying a distinctively impressive site near Museum Island, CFA has carved out an exciting niche for itself.
Showcasing the most dynamic and diverse up-and-comers, mostly from in or around Berlin but also from around the world, a visit here is a chance to get a first look at those who will be changing the art scene in a year or two.
For a unique taste of Berlin’s true eclectic heart, the Grimmuseum is essential. Completely not-for-profit and run by the artists themselves, this is Berlin’s most open exhibition space, incorporating artist residencies, touring exhibitions, and interdisciplinary performances from Berlin’s most offbeat and exciting young artists.
Though only opened in 2009, in the few years since, the Grimmuseum has quickly become the shining star or Berlin’s underground art scene.
4. Carlier Gebauer Gallery
When it comes to independent art galleries, there’s little doubt that the Carlier Gebauer Gallery is the most significant. Founded in 1991 and set in Berlin’s gallery district, Carlier Gebauer stands well above the rest in the high quality of its expositions.
An ideal balance between emerging and established interdisciplinary artists are displayed in the three plain white exposition rooms and cinemathek, keeping the focus on the art.
5. Berlinische Galerie
Proclaimed as the favourite of the artists themselves, the Berlinische Galerie’s deceptively simple design allows for one of the best gallery experiences in town.
Offering a dynamic list of expositions by new local artists, first-rate retrospectives, and an extensive permanent collection that presents Berlin’s art history since 1870, this is the perfect place to get a feel for Berlin’s ever-changing artistic environment.
6. Sammlung Boros Collection
Among Berlin’s most closely guarded—and consequently most exciting—secrets is the Sammlung Boros Collection. Once a WWII bomb shelter, the imposing space conceals an extraordinary collection of over 150 works by world-leaders of contemporary art.
Tours run only on weekends and must be booked in advance, but that’s all part of what makes the charm of this unique gallery.