Art and books go together like coffee and cigarettes, beer and pretzels, or sex and candy. I don’t know a single artist, gallerist or curator who doesn’t drool over the latest Taschen coffee table book, Phaidon monograph, or offbeat artist book; and in Berlin, we are blessed with bounty of art book stores for browsing, burying your head in, or even buying a great art book. With so many book stores to choose from, we at BAPS decided to seek out the crème de la crème of Berlin’s art book shops for your reading pleasure.
Motto [Skalitzer Straße 68, Monday–Saturday: 12-8pm]
This is my Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Walking into this hidden paradise (head through the courtyard, to the left, and down a small flight of stairs) my heart quickens its pace, my eyes begin to dart from side to side, and my fingers tremble and twitch. Nearly every surface, including the aforementioned stairs, is coverted with art books. From the most obscure philosophical text to the thickest, high-end tome, Motto has it all. However, what this shop really specializes in is artist books— book or book-like objects created by artists to serve as a works of art unto themselves. You will find tiny hand-drawn flip-books, screen printed posters bound with thread, xeroxed newspapers in the style of zines and much, much more. However I warn you dear reader, once you enter you may never want to leave
Bücherbogen Savignyplatz [Stadtbahnbogen 593, Monday–Friday: 10-8pm Saturday: 10-6pm]
Bücherbogen Savignyplatz is the grande dame of Berlin art book shops—a sprawling, airy, beautifully lit space beneath the S-bahn in the poshest part of West Berlin. On my first trip to Berlin as a tourist I stumbled upon this space and because it was 5am and the shop had yet to open (night bus ride, long story), I spent a solid 20 minutes with my face pressed against each of the many large, arched windows. Inside or out, you could spend a week here and still fail to see it all; I highly recommend you show up during business hours and browse to your hearts content, even if the high prices prevent you from actually making a purchase.
do you read me?! [Auguststraße 28, Monday–Saturday: 10-7:30pm]
Nestled into the heart of the Mitte’s art mile, do you read me? is the perfect place to stock up on art-based periodicals. You may be reading Art Forum, Interview, Neon, Frieze, Flux and more, but I assure you you have only begun to scratch the surface. Easy on the eyes and the wallet, these periodicals are the perfect start to any long journey, or the perfect end to a big day of gallery-going. Tuck one in your back pocket or heave it into the black hole of a bag you carry around for the perfect on-the-go art book break.
Wien Lukatsch Gallery and Bookstore [Schöneberger Ufer 65, Tuesday–Friday: 1-6pm Saturday: 12-6pm]
Wien Lukatsch nicely bridges the gap between art and art book, housing both a gallery space and bookstore. On the shelves, artists’ books from the 60s sit side by side with selected catalogues and texts by artists. And, if you’re in a collecting state of mind, Wien Luktash also stocks rare Fluxus and conceptual art books as well as editions and original publications.
Pro QM [Almstadtstraße 48-50, Monday–Saturday: 11-8pm]
I think of Pro QM as “old faithful,” my regular go-to for art books and periodicals. The staff make great recommendations, and it’s always possible to find the latest texts. The space is a modern architects dream, with high ceilings and steel-framed floor to ceiling stacks. This shop is everything I wish my local library was, and so much more.
Article by Hannah Nelson-Teutsch