The great roads of the world are more than just thoroughfares: think of the Champs Elysees and you imagine Prada, Gucci, Hermes, Chanel; picture The Street of Eternal Happiness in Shanghai and you see steamy dumpling shops and bustling roadside stands. Lombard street in San Francisco is it’s own little roller coaster, and Auguststraße, well Augustraße is all about art.
When I first came to Berlin as a tourist, I spent one long day along Auguststraße. By nightfall (or 6pm when most galleries closed) my feet were sore, my throat was parched, and as I recall I required the use of at least one safety pin, but wow was it worth it; and hey, I picked up a few tips and tricks to share. Following last week’s tour of Neukölln art spaces, we hope you enjoy this second installment of our continuing series on “Berlin’s Best Art Spaces.”
I am one of the many who cannot start the day without a strong coffee, and I won’t say no to smart little breakfast if it’s available. If you similarly crave a little somethin’ somethin’ to get you moving in the morning, make your way to Cafe Bravo, situated just outside the first stop on our tour, KW Contemporary. Cafe Bravo was designed by the illustrious Dan Graham and is an inspiring art space in it’s own right; what’s more, several sips of espresso in this hallowed glass hall will have you rearing to go.
KW Contemporary. Photo: Chris Phillips
After finishing up at Cafe Bravo head straight to KW Contemporary. The Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art is an institution without a permanent collection, and the exhibitions housed within are almost always grand in scale and glorious in execution. I have never once left this space in a state other than awe.
Eigen + Art. Photo: Chris Phillips
Take your time at KW, but when you walk out the doors be ready, it only gets better from here on in. Sidle up the road to a smaller, but no less august, art space: Eigen + Art. This sleek top-tier gallery has just reopened after a renovation and houses some of my favorite contemporary artists. Of course, if you’re feeling frisky for a more avant-garde experience, head next door to the Eigen + Art lab and you won’t be let down.
Galerie Deschler. Photo: Chris Phillips
After Eigen+Art, cross the street and make your way to Galerie Deschler. Deschler is a fine example of what Auguststraße has to offer—not the grittiest art in Berlin, nor the chicest, just solid, exciting and occasionally stellar contemporary art. A warm, light and even cavernous upstairs space will beckon you inside, but do make your way all the way to the basement: often there are absolute gems hiding under the staircase.
Me Collectors Room. Photo: Chris Phillips
At this point, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be absolutely ravenous. Head to theme Collector’s Room, pause to marvel, but before stepping in to see the collection stop for a bite in the cafe on the ground floor. Sourdough sandwiches, soups, stews and more are served on long wooden tables, and free Wlan is just an added bonus. The collection itself is a thing of beauty. Make sure to set aside a good amount of time, I can virtually guarantee you won’t want to leave. After my first visit I was so enamored I bought the catalogue on the spot, and I still flip through it when I feel the need for a bit of wonder in my world.
C/O Berlin. Photo: Chris Phillips
Round out the day with the slightest of detours. I couldn’t let you leave Auguststraße without a stop at C/O Berlin, although admittedly this photography institution is one block down from Auguststraße on Oranienberger Straße. The name C/O alludes to the postal abbreviation “care of” and calls to mind a local and international engagement in an enterprise of great value. The photography exhibits here are world class, it would be an absolute shame to leave before closing time at 8pm. At that point of course, as they say in the song, you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. And, although it is a topic for another tour, if you do decide to stay out late on Auguststraße, you will not be disappointed.
Follow our Augustraße gallery tour here.
Article by Hannah Nelson-Teutsch