In the mid-1990s, many Berlin artists moved from the west side of the city to Auguststrasse in East Berlin. Auguststrasse, sometimes referred to as “East Berlin’s art mile,” today hosts some of the city’s most creative minds, and the Mitte gallery scene has become a haven for international talent. Spread out among the area’s hip boutiques, Mitte’s art galleries showcase Berlin’s multicultural flare—and in one of its most happening neighborhoods.
And here’s the best part, Cheapos: The galleries are free to the public! As an alternative to costly museum-going, consider gallery hopping.
Here are five Mitte galleries to get you started, all within walking distance of each other:
Not far from the lively Hackescher Markt, Galerie Gerken provides a forum for interdisciplinary art. Expect an eclectic mix of painting, sculpture, and video installations from both German and international artists.
Though Peter Dittmar divides his time between Germany, Indonesia, and Australia, his gallery offers quality photography and painting exhibits throughout the year. Works by artists such as sculptor Gerhard Trieb and painter Fritz Klemm reflect the modern aesthetic of German architecture.
Since 1998, DAM has showcased the cutting-edge in digital media. Artists incorporate math, science, and technology into hi-tech installations and paintings. Look for work by well-known painter Vera Molnar, who incorporates computer imaging and geometry to generate striking linear designs.
DNA is home to some of the international artists who helped give Berlin its ethnically diverse appeal. Nezaket Ekici, a performance artist from Turkey, appears in a series of often hilarious video installations. Other DNA artists include Bulgarian videographer Mariana Vassileva and Japanese photographer Tatsumi Orimoto.
Rossella Junck Galerie
Here you’ll find “altmodisch” (vintage) collages, provocative glass sculptures, and whimsical photography. Gallery owner Rossella Junck serves up a quirky mix of up-and-coming and more established artists.
Plus, don’t forget: Berlin has an extensive underground art scene, too. When you visit the galleries, look for flyers advertising upcoming events. (For example, live performance art at the Alexanderplatz U-Bahn always draws a large crowd.)
And don’t forget the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery. Though not a traditional “gallery” and not located in Mitte, the open-air exhibit includes work by artists like Keith Haring. The gallery spans 1.3 km of the original Berlin Wall and features murals by 106 artists, comprising an “International Memorial for Freedom.”