KW Institute for Contemporary Art: Art in a former butter factory
Right in the middle of Mitte you can still smell butter if you close your eyes at Auguststrasse 69. But when you open them, you will find interesting exhibitions in this former margarin factory.
Keen eye for promising artists at KW Institute for Contemporary Art
When the Berlin Wall fell the butter factory was nearly falling apart. But they renovated KW Institute for Contemporary Art beautifully and the 2000 square feet of exhibition space is well worth a visit.
The curators of KW Institute for Contemporary Art even initiated the now well known Berlin Biennale and work together with New Yorks MoMA. Editors of Berlin based magazines Tip and Zitty often refer to KW Institute for Contemporary Art for the most interesting exhibitions of the year. Not that strange: KW Institute for Contemporary Art has a keen eye for ludicrous and promising artists.
Different visions on life at KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Years later after the Berlin Wall fell it’s hard to imagine how rough this neighborhood was with all the glamorous galleries in this area, but KW Institute for Contemporary Art still knows what art is all about. Not to glamorize, but to show different, sometimes dire visions on life.
They shocked people with a raw exhibition on the RAF. And the exhibition Absalon for example showed us a dire, oppressing vision on architecture, with white houses, white furniture, white wallpaper that made everything so squeaky clean it became unbearable to live in.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art also has a very nice bar, just outside the exhibition space, Cafe Bravo
You love art and history and are in Berlin right now. Or you are planning a visit to Berlin soon. But you have no idea where you can find all those interesting Berlin museums. We don’t blame you. If you only go to Museumsinsel it will take a whole day to see all the art inside. And Museumsinsel is not the only place in Berlin to be to find art and interesting history.
We will help you out with a short summary of all the museums we write about. Or just click on the photos of all the different museums and find all the info there on what museum you can find where and how, and what is inside.
When you stand in front of the Altes Museum on Museumsinsel you will feel like you are in Rome. The huge iconic columns look just like an impressive Roman temple. The Romans didn’t build Altes Museum, but inside you will discover the ancient world and artifacts created in the burning sun of Greece, Rome and Egypt.
The Alte Nationalgalerie at the Museumsinsel looks a lot like a Greek temple. You would not be surprised if a Greek beauty or even the uppergod Zeus would wander the premises of Alte Nationalgalerie. The gallery has prominent pillars and Greek statues surrounding the building. Inside there is no Greek art though, but romantic paintings and sculptures.
What should you do with a museum that is heavily hit by bombs? The people of Berlin had no idea for a very long time. During World War two Neues Museum didn’t look so new anymore. The walls were full of bullet holes. But now Neues Museum is renovated beautifully and inside you will see great ancient art like Egyptian beauty queen Nefertiti and heretic husband Akhenaten.
Deutsches Historisches Museum is a great museum if you want to know about the history of Germany. It tells you how Germany came into existence, the religious fights between the catholics and reformers, World War One and Two and the Cold War. And it is situated at the former Berlin armory.
At Gropius Bau you immediately see the scars of both World War two and the Cold War. The museum is covered with bullet holes. It was right in the line of fire during the Second World War. Topographie des Terrors, where the horrors of that war are depicted, is near. Gropius Bau is situated on the border of Mitte and Kreuzberg, right in the middle of noman’s land after the Berlin Wall was erected.
The Bode Museum is one of the architectural landmarks of Museumsinsel. If you cross the river Spree you will see the round walls of the Bode Museum instantly. The collection of the Bode Museum is not so well known as the other museums on Museumsinsel. But the statues of Roman and Byzantium times, combined with the great architecture make it worth the visit.
The Neue Nationalgalerie is the place to be if you love modern art. This stunning museum looks like a very modern bunker but instead of concrete to fill this artbox, architect Mies van der Rohe used a lot of glass. On the first floor and in the cellars you can find the frivolous colors of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the kidlike art by Pablo Picasso, and the sad but colorful clowns of Max Beckman.
Pergamon Museum is dedicated to the excavation in Pergamon, modern day Turkey. They have large friezes depicting the divine fight between the Giants with snake legs and the impressive Greek gods. They also have a great Islamic art section. We especially like the blue tilled walls of ancient Babylon with ferocious looking lions.
We always walked by this old World War Two bunker without knowing what was happening inside. It looks hardly inhabited from the outside, but inside this old war bunker you will see it is filled to the brim with art by the Boros family. Hence the name: Sammlung Boros. It is not a normal museum, make an appointment to get in.
Always wondered where and how the first Berliners lived in the stone age, the middle ages and where the Berliners danced in the Wild twenties? At Markisches Museum they will tell you all about the history of Berlin. Expect interesting stories, great pictures of wildly dancing ladies and some large slabs of the Berlin Wall.
If you are born in Western Europe, America or another spot in the world, far from East Germany and want to know what life in the GDR was like, you should check out the DDR Museum. They will tell you everything about the history and everyday life in the GDR, or like East Germans call it: DDR.
Gedenkstatte Hohenschonhause is now a memorial, in the Cold War you definitely didn’t want to be stuck here. Gedenkstatte Hohenschonhause was a Stasi prison. During a tour the former prisoners will tell you all about the grim reality they faced when they were held prison in this cold and lonesome place during the Cold War.
The Stasi Museum is a weird place to be. Especially when you realize the museum used to be the offices where the Stasi used to spy on it’s own people. You can visit the offices of Stasi leader Mielke as well and hear him say he spied on people because he loved them and his country so much.
In Hamburger Bahnhof you don’t have to use your imagination to hear the trains hissing. When you are in front of the museum, it looks like an old station. But you will find no running people for the last train. Inside Hamburger Bahnhof you will find art. The museum has a nice mixture between well known artists and painters and young, promising artists you never heard of before.
The Jewish Museum in Berlin shows the long history of the Jews in Germany. They tell their history with ancient objects, like old oil lamps, religious books, diaries, portraits by famous Jewish painters, family photo’s, blue jeans by levi strauss, yarmulkes with photo’s of the serie Friends on top and Karl Marx whine. But of course they also have a lot of horrific artifacts, like deportation letters.