Refik Anadol, König Galerie.
With venues currently reducing their events and clubs canceling their parties due to the current rise of infections, the fear is pretty big that we’re heading into another long and boring Winter of nothing much to do. But before you book your flight out of the impending doom, hear me out: Berlin still has a lot going on. There are still a lot of theater shows and exhibitions going on this December that you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.
With our latest guide, we want to shine a light on some current highlights from the world of contemporary art that can be enjoyed here in Berlin. We took a look around to some of our favorite museums and galleries and found a plethora of amazing exhibitions that we want to share with you here. The iconic St. Agnes a.k.a. König Galerie is of course part of it – as per usual since this is our favorite gallery – but also the nearby Berlinische Galerie, Neukölln’s KINDL brewery as well as the beautiful Schinkelpavillon in Mitte. Expect some bizarre Alien sculptures, digital art from the world of NFTs, some latex rubber suits à la American Horror Story and a portrait show questioning masculinity.
I’m sure that for many of us, Airbnb has completely changed the way we travel and experience cities and places over the past few years. Airbnb has opened doors to private homes, people’s lives and otherwise hard to reach places, giving us a more immersive travel experience than we could have ever imagined.
For some time now, Hosts can not only offer their homes on Airbnb, but also experiences. Just like the many unique stays on Airbnb, these experiences are offered by Hosts around the world who offer their guests authentic adventures for every conceivable interest.
Berlin is really overperforming on the immersive group exhibition front these days, and we’re totally here for it. There was and is so much going on this fall, such as the i8i show Infinite Scroll, the Metabolic Rift show at Kraftwerk or the Sun Machine is Going Down art festival at ICC, to name only a few.
With the Corona Culture exhibition at Alte Münze another big one just opened last week and this might actually be the biggest one featuring over 120 artists and creatives involved. And it was a long way coming for this one. The initial exhibition concept was already conceived during the first lockdown in 2020 and there were several openings planned since then with several delays due to new lockdowns happening. But over time the exhibition just kept growing, until it finally was able to open last week. And I would say the wait and extra time that went into it was worth it.
photo: Camille Blake.
Having lived in Berlin for so long and having seen so many things at the intersections of nightlife, culture, and art, you can trust me when I tell you this was quite something else. And I mean that in the best, most stimulating way.
I’ve been a big fan of Trauma Bar und Kino now since their early days and really love and trust their progressive and multi-disciplinary programming. To me, they have accomplished, what many have tried bringing together the most innovative talents into one space and creating immersive and inspiring experiences that go far beyond a regular club night, concert, or exhibition opening. Check out this event for instance that brought together avant-garde fashion and contemporary dance.
Inviting the newly formed i8i collective of interdisciplinary artists to take over their space was a great choice because they created something so next level – even for Trauma’s standards. And this is the part where it gets hard to continue this article because describing what happened at the opening event of their show Infinite Scroll is almost impossible.
Berlin has a lot of really affordable art and culture events all around the city. Urban Art and most Galleries a free, many performances are free of charge and now even all museums are free on every first Sunday of the month.
Going to the theater, opera or the ballet is yet not always affordable. Especially if you are not a student or if you want to have really nice seats and see the stage up close. That is why the new initiative from Staatsoper Berlin is something that we really think celebrate the spirit of the city of making the arts available for everyone, despite their income.
For only 12€, everybody under 30 can book any available ticket on the website of the opera for the shows in between the 9th of October and the 21rst of November. Especially during the first period of autumn darkness, going to magical lights of the opera is something that can brighten up your evening. The special sale starts on the 7th of October at 12.00 am. On the program of this month are a ballet piece, instrumental concerts and several operas to choose from. Choose quick, because tickets are usually sold-out pretty fast.
photo: Frankie Casillo.
The old power plant Kraftwerk has proven to be a magnetic event space over and over again. This time, the great halls will feature Metabolic Rift, an immersive experience organized by Berlin Atonal that is supposed to fuse the elements of a festival, an exhibition, a tour, and a performance.
Kraftwerk is a venue especially suited for immersive exhibitions. You might agree if you remember either the audio-visual experience Skalar or the laser and sound installation Deep Web. Next week, yet another immersive exhibition will transform these halls – an artistic parallel universe that promises to show you around Kraftwerk’s “unexplored areas”.
photo: Tadeo Cern.
One of the major qualities of Berlin is that it never stops coming up with disused old breweries, factories, or power stations that all of a sudden get a new lease on life as event and exhibition spaces. These places are usually massive and thanks to that the things that can happen here can go so far beyond what’s possible in a small gallery in Mitte.
That’s why we are so excited to see what the LOST ART Festival will come up with at their latest edition that will happen on September 24-26, 2021. They are using 6000 square meters of industrial halls of the old powerhouse in Reinickendorf to present the work of 80 artists in a 48h long art happening. A 1km long route through 24 dark rooms will create an ambiance of mystery and surprise. And you know we love a good surprise in the dark 😉
Yayoi Kusama at Gropius Bau 2021, photo: Luca Girardini.
Once again Berlin’s museums and cultural venues have had to close their doors due to lockdown restrictions. However, there are still a few hidden gems around for us to continue exploring the artistic side of the city and get inspired in a safe way.
Gallery Weekend took place a couple of weeks ago and many of the participating galleries are still open to the public as long as you contact them in advance and have a negative COVID test. You can check out Gallery Weekend’s website for a full list of participating galleries and artists.
Additionally, we can look forward to some larger exhibitions that have unfortunately had to close for now, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye out for when tickets will be available for purchase again.
Here is a list of some fantastic exhibitions – some that you can currently check out, including participants of Gallery Weekend, and some to visit in the (hopefully) near future!
Even though clubs have been closed for over a year now, surprisingly, we haven’t really run short on news about Berlin’s famous nightlife places. From photography projects on clubber outfits, empty dancefloors, or outdoor raving, to virtual clubs and nightlife activism – there is always something to write about. And we are glad to keep the spirit alive this way, even though we’re all really craving for a party right now.
Artist and illustrator Nicola Napoli has also dedicated some of his time during the lockdown to work on a new nightlife-related piece. He’s blessed us already with various party-themed artworks in the past, but his most notable work might be the iconic line at Berghain that he first came out with back in 2014. It was one of our most successful articles of the time and it prompted a collaborative event and exhibition that we hosted together with him showcasing a new elaborate 10-meter long artwork.
photos: Aja Jacques.
It takes a lot of effort for an artist to build up a career. Berlin has undoubtedly been a center of avant-garde artists from all around the world, offering a unique platform for innovative and unstigmatized arts. However, during the last year of the Covid lockdowns, they had to sacrifice what they have built-in years. Berlin artists embellished our nightlife and arts scene with their diverse and original touch but now with no jobs, no stages, and no live audiences, they are stripped off of their platforms even though their art still radiates talent and creativity.
The photographer and former performance artist Aja Jacques created Berlin Offstage after spending the last three months interviewing and photographing some of these artists in their homes and leads us through a series of vignettes of their fears and concerns. Jacques aims to create an open space for public discussions about the struggles of the art community in Berlin that has been left in the lurch during the pandemic.