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  • Art in 2024: The most important Berlin exhibitions this year

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Art in 2024: The most important Berlin exhibitions this year

What are set to be the unmissable exhibitions of 2024? We survey a year in Berlin art.

Injuries I, 1972, The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna – The ESSL Collection © VALIE EXPORT, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023; Photo: Hermann Hendrich

It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for Berlin’s art world. Following last year’s slew of exhibitions and festivals that attracted huge numbers of visitors and inspired plenty of heated discussions, it looks like this year will be no different.

From the reopening of the Rieckenhalle to an exhibition exploring postcolonialism in the context of the Nordic countries, as well as retrospectives on Josephine Baker and Helmut Newton, we give an overview of the major exhibitions and art events to look forward to in 2024.

Valie Export

VALIE EXPORT – SMART EXPORT, Self-Portrait, 1970, The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna – The ESSL Collection © VALIE EXPORT, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023; Photo: Gertraud Wolfschwenger © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

This Austrian artist famously bared her breasts and vulva to 1960s Viennese society, shocking audiences and unleashing a wave of “genital panic” among cinemagoers. CO’s retrospective, produced in collaboration with ALBERTINA, Vienna, honours the artist as one of the most important of the 20th century and features multimedia work such as performance and film art that spans from the 60s through to 2009, giving this complex figure the respect and reverence she deserves.

  • C/O Berlin, Hardenbergstr. 22-24, Charlottenburg, 27.1.–22.5, details

Josephine Baker. Icon in motion

Photo: Imago/Zuma/Keystone

This 1920s icon is famed for her shame-free, expressive and humourous dance performances, which delighted audiences from New York to Paris to Berlin. As a black woman, she faced a huge amount of racism, exoticisation and sexualisation from all corners of society. This exhibition at Neue Nationalgalerie highlights her artistic development, success strategies, and influence on contemporary artists.

  • Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Str. 50, Tiergarten, 26.1.–28.4, details

Keep a stiff upper lip! Gundula Schulze Eldowy and Robert Frank

Gundula Schulze Eldowy, “Pope”, New York, 1990 from the series In a Wind of Stardust. 
Photo: Gundula Schulze Eldowy

Gundula Schulze Eldowy and Robert Frank met in East Berlin in 1985 and the pair quickly discovered a shared artistic connection. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Swiss American Robert Frank persuaded German Schulze Eldowy to join him in New York. This exhibition at AdK charts Schulze Eldowy’s journey from East Berlin to New York, tracing her development from straight photography to a poetic visual language. Around  230 works as well as films, letters and diaries are shown as a dialogue between the two artists.

  • Academy of Arts, Pariser Platz, Mitte, January 25th – April 1st, details

Nancy Holt, Circles of Light 

Nancy Holt, “Sun Tunnels” (1973-76), Great Basin Desert, Utah. 
Photo:© Holt/Smithson Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023, Photo: Nancy Holt

Nancy Holt is known for her pioneering work in the area of “land art”. Her works, in particular her monumental installations such as the famous Sun Tunnels, combined nature, landscape and light in innovative ways that offered new understandings of space and surroundings. With this exhibition, Gropius Bau is presenting the artist’s most comprehensive overview exhibition in Germany to date. The exhibition features film, video, photography, sound works, concrete poetry, sculptures and expansive installations as well as drawings and documentation from over 25 years.

  • Martin Gropius Building, Niederkirchnerstr. 7, Kreuzberg, 22.3.–21.7, details

Caspar David Friedrich – Infinite Landscapes

Caspar David Friedrich, “The Sea of ​​Ice”, 1823/24, Hamburger Kunsthalle / bpk. Photo: Elke Walford

To mark the 250th birthday of the most important painter of German Romanticism, the Alte Nationalgalerie will be joining in the celebrations, which also include a year-round program of events in the artist’s birthplace of Greifswald. The collaborative and comprehensive exhibition at Alte Nationalgalerie will feature around 60 paintings and 50 drawings by Caspar David Friedrich, including his famous Arctic Sea, and will highlight the central role the Nationalgalerie played in the rediscovery of the iconic painter at the beginning of the 20th century. 

  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Bodestraße, Mitte, April 19th – August 4th, details

Modigliani Modern looks

Amedeo Modigliani, “Female nude lying on her side”, 1917. Photo: © Nahmad Collection

Amedeo Modigliani was one of the artistic personalities responsible for revolutionising art in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century. His unique artistic interpretation of human forms and faces, characterized by elongated figures and striking portraits, are as fascinating now as they were then. This exhibition at Museum Barberini in Potsdam is the first retrospective in Germany since 2009 and seeks to look beyond Paris by displaying Modiglianis works in dialogue with pieces by, among others, Gustav Klimt and Paula Modersohn-Becker.

  • Museum Barberini, Humboldtstr. 5–6, Potsdam, April 27–August 18, details

Kader Attia

Kader Attia, “J’accuse”, 2016, exhibition view Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, 2016. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nagel Draxler Berlin/ Cologne/ Munich, Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Kader Attia is known for his critical and sensitive work on topics such as postcolonialism, cultural identity, migration and collective memory. His multidisciplinary approach, which includes installations, sculptures, videos and performances, explores fractures and scars in our social, political and cultural landscape. This exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie will showcase two sets of the artist’s work, J’accuse and The Object’s Interlacing, which explore themes of war, colonialism and repatriation. Works by legendary Dada collageist Hannah Höch will also be on display. 

  • Berlinische Galerie, Alte Jakobstr. 124–128, Kreuzberg, 27.4.–19.8, details

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2024

Photo: IMAGO / Funke Photo Services

A legendary fixture in Berlin’s cultural calendar, Gallery Weekend enters its 20th year this year, and for the first time does so under the leadership of Antonia Ruder. Around 50 galleries will host exhibitions by emerging and established artists across the weekend. Don’t miss out on the chance for Vernissage hopping, glitzy event attending and enjoying lots of great art for free!

Marianna Simnett: Winner

Marianna Simnett, The Severed Tail, 2022, Venedig © Courtesy: the artist, La Biennale di Venezia and Société, Berlin / Photo: Roberto Marossi

‘Winner’ is a multichannel film installation commissioned for the art and culture programme of the UEFA EURO 2024 tournament. It explores the beautiful game through a three-act ballet, looking at football’s socially constructed power hierarchies, crowd psychology, and constant pressure to perform. The film’s hallucinatory world extends beyond the screen into the exhibition space and museum garden, as visitors are guided through the installation by barriers, like those you would find in a stadium, and the film itself spreads around the space. 

  • Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstr. 50, Mitte, 17.05.24 – 03.11.24, details

Berlin, Berlin!

Helmut Newton, Grunewaldsee, Berlin 1996. Photo: Helmut Newton Foundation

Undoubtedly one of the most famous Berliners, large parts of Helmut Newton’s archive have been housed in the city’s Museum of Photography since 2021. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Helmut Newton Foundation, the Museum will host a group exhibition titled “Berlin, Berlin!”, an homage to Newton’s hometown. The exhibition will feature works by Newton spanning from the 1930s to the 2000s, alongside other images of the places that inspired Newton in the city, as well as interjections from contemporaries.

  • Helmut Newton Foundation in the Museum of Photography, June 7th–November 24th, details

Pia Arke, Arctic Hysteria

Pia Arke, “Untitled (Toying with national costume),” 1994. Photo: Pia Arke Estate. 
Malmö Konstmuseum Collection.

Pia Arke (1958–2007) was a Greenlandic Danish artist, considered a pioneer of decolonial discourse in the Nordic countries. In the first exhibition of the artist’s work outside of Greenland and the Nordic countries, KW presents Arctic Hysteria, an exploration of time, memory, space, identity and myth which brings together photographic, sculptural, performative and literary works addressing the colonial relations between Greenland and Denmark. 

  • KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Auguststr. 69, Mitte, 6.7. – 20.10, details

Frans Hals

Frans Hals, “Malle Babbe”, around 1640, Berlin. Photo: © Berlin State Museums, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt

One of the most respected Dutch painters of the 17th century, Frans Hals is remembered alongside the likes of Rembrandt and Vermeer. This comprehensive exhibition, produced in cooperation with the National Gallery in London and the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam, showcases around 70 works by the artist. Famed for his loose brushwork and lively compositions, Hals is considered a pioneer of modernism and was an inspiration for realists and impressionists such as Max Liebermann and Wilhelm Leibl.

  • Gemäldegalerie, Matthäikirchplatz, Tiergarten, 12.7.–3.11, details

13th Berlin Art Week

Berlin Art Week 2023 at Kindl in Neukölln. Photo: © Anna Tiessen for Berlin Art Week

During these five days, it becomes very apparent just how many artists there are in Berlin. Hundreds of galleries, from newcomers to established institutions, will showcase exciting projects and open their doors to ordinary people and collectors alike. An incredible opportunity to get caught up in the buzz of the art world, attend panel discussions and discover your next art obsession.

  • Berlin Art Week, September 11th – 15th, more information (still being updated)

Mark Bradford

Exhibition view by Mark Bradford “You Don’t Have to Tell Me Twice”, 2023. Photo: © Mark Bradford Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

The Rieckhallen, along with the Hamburger Bahnhof itself, was purchased by the federal and state governments of Berlin in 2022, after a hard-fought campaign to save the exhibition space. The Rieckhallen will open its doors again on September 6th, with the industrial halls having now been split into two areas. One half will showcase the expanded collection “National Gallery: A Collection for the 21st Century”, which, with large-format installations, spans the Berlin art scene from the building of the Wall to the present. 

The second half of the area will host temporary exhibitions, kicking off with the first solo exhibition in Germany by the American artist Mark Bradford. LA-based Bradford, who represented the USA at the Venice Biennale, is known for his unconventional use of materials such as waste, to explore social issues. The exhibition will be a mix of existing and specially produced works, looking at the history of the Museum building when it was a train station.

  • Hamburger Bahnhof – National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Invalidenstr. 50–51, Tiergarten, 6.9.–10.03.25, details