Berliners: Waste Your Time, Not Your Money

Earlier this week in part one of our two-part opinion piece, writer Kirsten Hall talked about why she thinks buying art in Berlin is important. I couldn’t disagree more.

Berlin is not the city for spending your hard-earned cash on art. There’s enough for free to go around. Wake up. The romanticized myth of the starving artist is outdated. You’re not donating to a worthy charity or showing appreciation for some hardworking genius by throwing a few thousands at a splash of paint or a sculpture of a duck made entirely of excrement; at best, you’re preserving the unbelievably alternative lifestyle of a hopeful hipster who fled to Berlin with the desperate vision of simply being a hell of a lot cooler than his mates.

Berliners are Broke 

Anyone who has lived in this city for longer than a few weeks should know that those living real lives here don’t have any money. When we’re saving a few precious cents by carefully selecting the cheapest, nastiest beer to drink on a park bench, it’s certainly not for the latest masterpiece from whichever artist is being hyped in the media today. It’s to pay the ever-increasing rent; it’s for the train ticket to one of the several jobs they’re working in between studies – either way, it’s not for a sketch to proudly display on the wall in their squat to show how amazingly up-to-date they are with the illusion of the Berlin art scene. And it shouldn’t be.

Art is for Free


Open your eyes and look at the graffiti decorating the streets; visit the countless exhibitions without a hefty entrance fee; step outside of the bubble and discover someone who’s creating something beautiful for the sake of beauty. Art collectors and the rich and bored can stick to their stuffy galleries and bidding wars if they really need to justify their purpose in life by entertaining friends with the latest expensive addition. But this is not where to find it. Any artists with common sense aren’t selling their art in this junkyard; they’re heading to where the locals actually have money to waste and where art isn’t so readily available for all to see, without charging you for the pleasure.

Just Don’t Take it Home

Feel free to waste every second of your time being inspired, visiting fascinating art projects and being astounded by the myriad art on offer in this vibrant, dirt-cheap city; there’s no need, however, to really purchase any of it. See it. Feel it. Recommend it to your friends. Just don’t take it home. If you want to buy art, go somewhere else. Berlin is not the place for pretention or opulent displays of wealth and glamour.  We’re just not interested. We’re poor, we’re dirty and we’re looking for a job. Even if you’ve got money to throw away, why bother? No, it’s not a good investment. It’s a canvas. Nobody is impressed. Face it: Berlin doesn’t love you.

Article by Colleen O’Brien