Since 2003, Berlin’s gallery landscape has continually grown to reach the present total of over 440 galleries, making the city the largest gallery location in Europe. The highest density of galleries can be found in the Scheunenviertel quarter in Mitte, around Checkpoint Charlie and along Schöneberg’s Potsdamer Strasse. Critical voices point to the fact that although Berlin has become established as a location for artists and art collectors, the sales of art here still lag behind cities such as London, Basel or Paris. However, since the data from previous surveys only included those galleries whose main offices are based in Berlin, this has resulted in lower reported sales figures.
According to the INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT (IFSE), Berlin’s galleries generate around 30 percent of their turnover at trade fairs. Berlin galleries take part in an average of 2.4 trade fairs annually, and so are more active at pertinent national and international art fairs than galleries nationally (1.9 trade fairs). In 2013 alone, around 40 galleries from Berlin were represented at the Art Cologne show, and approximately 80 Berlin galleries at Art Basel. Galleries derive the largest share of their income — approximately 37 percent — from sales to private collectors. For this reason, the Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research has been promoting joint stands for Berlin galleries for many years at, for example, art fairs in Basel, Istanbul, New York and Miami.
BERLIN ART WEEK in September, founded in 2012 at the Senate
Department’s initiative and with its support, is a key platform for gallery owners, collectors and art lovers from around the world and regularly features art fairs, opening nights, special events and major exhibitions of contemporary art in renowned art institutions. abc: ART BERLIN CONTEMPORARY, a curated art fair for contemporary art founded by nine Berlin galleries, forms the heart of the BERLIN ART WEEK. In 2013, Berlin Art Week reached an audience of 80,000 visitors. The third Berlin Art Week will be held from 15–20 September 2015.
Berlin’s museums are also an important magnet for tourists and art lovers from all over the globe. The regular surveys of museum audiences by the cultural affairs department show that 75 percent of visitors come from outside Germany. The blockbuster exhibitions at such main exhibition venues at the Neue Nationalgalerie or the Martin-Gropius-Bau attract vast numbers of international visitors. The most popular museums also include the Pergamon Museum and the Alte Musuem. Over the last five years, the Berlinische Galerie has successfully repositioned itself, and doubled its number of visitors. The Museum Berggruen in Charlottenburg reopened in 2013 after being fully refurbished and now offers space for nearly 200 works by artists from Picasso to Cézanne, Klee and Matisse. The KW Institute for Contemporary Art — Kunst-Werke Berlin in Auguststrasse has an international reputation, and belongs to the best known venues for contemporary art in the city. This not-for-profit
association is also the supporting organisation of the Berlin Biennale, a major forum for contemporary art under the patronage of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The Berlin museums portal at www.museumsportal-berlin.de, recently updated and revised with the support of the Senate Department and the cultural affairs department, offers an insight into the diversity of Berlin’s museum landscape.
Aside from the many museums primarily funded by the public coffers, Berlin also has a number of privately-owned museums including, for example, C/O Berlin. With a programme of top-flight photography exhibitions attracting around 200,000 visitors every year, C/O Berlin, initially housed in an impressive former imperial post office building, has significantly enhanced Berlin’s international reputation. In autumn 2014, C/O Berlin is set to reopen in a new venue at the former Amerika Haus which has been renovated with funds from the foundation Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin. Over the last years, Berlin has successfully honed its profile as a leading location for photography. The many venues dedicated to photographic works not only include C/O Berlin, but also the Museum of Photography of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) and the Helmut Newton Foundation, which are both housed together in the same building. In addition, the city
is home to the legendary Ostkreuz photo agency and the BROWSE PHOTO FESTIVAL. The latter, founded in 2012, is continually growing and now showcases 100 exhibitions of over 150 photographers as well as numerous workshops, projects and presentations on professional photography.