KW Institute for Contemporary Art

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

The KW Institute for Contemporary Art is a Berlin institution - not only for the trend-conscious art scene but also for the many tourists who flock to the Mitte district.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin Straßenansicht

© Uwe Walter, 2010

KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

Once upon a time, the locations in which young Berlin art spread out around Auguststraße ranged from hotel rooms to classrooms, from shops to toilets. Klaus Biesenbach laid the foundation for the trend-conscious scene in Mitte with the exhibition "37 Rooms" in 1992. The brilliant reputation of KW Institute of Contemporary Art, carried by Kunst-Werke Berlin e. V., has long since reverberated as far as New York. The busy founding father Biesenbach is not entirely innocent of this.
Since its final restoration in 1999, KW Institute has been bringing the big names of the art world to Berlin. The scandalous Brits Jake and Dinos Chapman showed their macabre color photos of a concentration camp inferno in toy format. Smart Matthew Barney let his art muscles work live and in the film "Cremaster 2". Even though some of the themes here are a bit heavy on theory, most of the artists presented are trendsetters. This is where the RAF exhibition, which had been controversial in the run-up to the event, took place, which despite all fears turned out to be a dignified art show.
In 2012, chief curator Artur Zmijewski gave the seventh Berlin Biennial a highly political slant, even activists of the Occupy movement were invited. In other respects, too, things tend to be a little more radical, as was recently the case with a show about New York filmmakers of the 1980s, which was only open to the public from the age of 18. In addition to the 2,000 square meters of exhibition space, the institution also offers living and working space for artists in the listed 18th century front building. The lectures and discussion events are also a highlight.


Auguststraße 69
10117 Berlin
030 243 45 90

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Last edited: 19. July 2022