Museums, institutions and private collections are all closed until December – at least. Some, like the Julia Stoschek Collection and Bröhan Museum, are offering decent online programmes, but there’s nothing like seeing art in the flesh. However, there’s no need to despair: during Germany’s “soft lockdown”, commercial galleries are allowed to stay open.
Even better news: Berlin has hundreds to choose from and we’ve rounded up 10 of this month’s best shows. Remember to check websites for booking info (some galleries require you to book a slot online in advance), wear your mask, keep 1.5m from fellow visitors and don’t be a doofus and turn up with 10 of your mates. Keep it clean, art lovers.
Contemporary Fine Arts
Der Goldene Reiter in Faustrecht der Freiheit aka Fox and His Friends (Until 28 November)
In a smart parqueted space in Charlottenburg, CFA (Contemporary Fine Arts) is often associated with its early championing of YBAs and big American names like Raymond Pettibon. Their current group exhibition, “Der Goldene Reiter in Faustrecht der Freiheit AKA Fox and His Friends”, takes filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982) as its inspiration. The show includes 25 artists whose work both directly references Fassbinder’s filmic oeuvre, such as photographer Wolfgang Tillmans’ portrait of one of Fassbinder’s favourite actresses Irm Hermann, and more generally channels a recognisably Fassbinder attitude in pieces like Lucas’ golden sculpture complete with an outsized towering phalus.
At 30 Paces She Could Split A Playing Card (Until December 18)
While Katharina Grosse’s huge installation at Hamburger Bahnhoff is locked up for lockdown, you can see her signature swathes and sweeps of bright colour in a selection of new paintings on wood and canvas at König Galerie. Johann König’s eponymous 800-sqm gallery is housed in the brutalist former chapel St, Agnes in Kreuzberg and while starting prices of €225,000 for Grosse might not suit everyone’s pocket, business-savvy König also offers a selection of artist-designed “souvenirs” from soap and t-shirts to Mund-Nasen-Schutz.
Oranienburger Str. 18
Andreas Gursky (Until November 14)
Mitte’s Sprüth Magers is showing German photographer Andreas Gursky’s first new body of work in three years, including recent additions to his ongoing series “Encyclopedia of Life”. Gursky is one of the world’s most expensive living photographers and his giant panoramic prints are something to behold at up to 2m long and 3m high. This show revisits old themes for Gursky including, the Rhine river and the topography of Hong Kong alongside his fascination with man-made environments in works such as “Kreuzfart (Cruise)”, 2020 which shows a cropped section of a cruise ship’s beehive-like balconies.
Galerie Tanja Wagner
HOW TO HUMAN – 10 years of Galerie Tanja Wagner (November 14 – February 13)
Celebrating 10 years of her eponymous gallery, Tanja Wagner’s group show “How to Human” (from November 14) is a very personal love letter to, about and, in a way, from her entire roster of artists and everyone involved in the gallery’s journey to date. In a modest Tiergarten shopfront space, Galerie Tanja Wagner has been blazing a trail nurturing a roster of mainly female artist’s careers to a crescendo this year with Kapwani Kiwanga receiving France’s top art prize, the Prix Marcel Duchamp. On display are new and existing works from artists working in mediums ranging from film to textiles and painting to sculpture.
The Women I Know (21 November – 23 January)
Housed in a beautifully preserved three-storey villa dating back to the 17th century, Kewenig is a gallery overflowing with architectural charm. On November 21, it will open its second show with Egyptian artist Ghada Amer, titled “The Women I Know”. This is a new body of work consisting of four portraits of the artist’s female friends in her signature embroidered paintings alongside a black and white self-portrait. Also included are a selection of Amer’s, mostly sculptural, ceramic works in an overview of her recent output.
Infinite Games (November 21 January 30)
Founded in 2008, Capitain Petzel brought art back to the former purpose-built GDR exhibition space for Eastern Block fine and applied arts on Karl-Marx-Allee. The modernist glass and concrete space will host a group show this month inspired by the gallery’s Corona online programme and will show 13 artists whose practises “reflect the power and meaning that the deviant, ambiguous and disjointed can play both in art and society”. Among the 13, watch out for Pieter Schoolwerth’s perspective and dimension bending paintings and reliefs as well as legendary filmmaker Wim Wenders.
Pakui Hardware (November 14 – January 9)
The artist duo Pakui Hardware is Neringa Černiauskaitė and Ugnius Gelguda and their sculptural works combine everything from wood and blown glass to fur, plexus glass and chia seeds. The futuristic technological edge to their art brings to mind works like Matthew Barney’s “Cremaster Cycle” and has delved into topics including bio-capitalism and necropolitics. From November 14, Carlier Gebauer will present their exhibition “Absent Touch”, which focuses on remote healthcare technologies or “virtual care”, including robotic surgery and telehealth. Expect to see sculpture and photography in a hospital environment.
Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler
Kohlfurter Str. 41/43
Nest (Until 16 January)
Kreuzberg gallery Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler are presenting “Nest”, the first German solo show for Berlin-based Czech artist Klára Hosnedlová. This exhibition is a body of new work inspired by the artist’s research into Ještěd Tower, an iconic 1970s built communications tower and hotel that sits atop the Ještěd mountain in the Czech Republic. Including glass sculptures and embroidered portraits mounted on what look like panels of interior stone cladding, Hosnedlová appropriates the tower’s interior architecture to project a past future full of nostalgia.
Kreuzberg gallery Chert Lüdde have a bonanza three exhibitions on this month. Two are at the regular space on Ritterstrasse: fabric sculptures and drawings by Rosemary Mayer (1943 – 2014), the American artist’s first solo show in Europe (until December 19) and Canadian Vincent Trasov’s My Fifty Years in a Nutshell (until November 14) presents drawings, photos, sculpture and paintings charting the artist’s 50 years with his alter ego Mr Peanut. And in an offsite space on Oranienstraße is another Canadian, Anna Banana, the legendary mail artist who toured Germany in 1993 presenting her parodic research project Proof Positive Germany is Going Bananas (until November 14).
Potsdamer Str. 72
No Such Organisation (Until 20 November)
NOME was until recently in Neukölln but is inaugurating its new space on Potsdamer Straße this autumn with an exhibition of new works by British artist Navine G. Khan-Dossos. Since opening in 2015, NOME has earned itself a solid reputation with a roster of artists who push boundaries and Khan-Dossos is no exception. One-hundred paintings of gridded bright patterns are the artist’s representation of the fallout from the 2018 assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian dissident and journalist.