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KW Institute for Contemporary Art

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Address: Auguststrasse 69, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Phone Number: +49 30 2434590
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Wed - Mon 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

KW Institute for Contemporary Art is a place for the production and...

KW Institute for Contemporary Art is a place for the production and presentation of contemporary art, where the pressing questions of our time can be openly formulated and discussed.

It is a center for the introduction of recent developments in national and international contemporary culture, and for further development, working together with artists and institutions, and commissioning new work.

As an institution for contemporary art without a collection of its own, but also without the specific mandate of a member-based art association, KW has a high degree of flexibility in creating its programs and addressing its audience. It is a resource both for the people who make active use of it, and for those who participate in it as visitors.

The building complex in Berlin's centre includes exhibition halls, function rooms, offices, and a cafe, alongside apartments and studios, and provides a space for encounters and exchanges.

KW has gained importance as a centre for contemporary art ever since. Aside from an internationally oriented exhibition program and presentations by artists from Berlin and other German cities, KW has regularly cooperated with a range of partners, including the Venice Biennial, CLUB BERLIN (1995) and documenta X, HYBRID WORKSPACE (1997). KW has also collaborated for many years with the MoMA PS1 in New York, one of the most high-profile institutions for contemporary art worldwide.


KW Institute for Contemporary Art was founded in the early 1990s by Klaus Biesenbach and a group of young individuals with an interest in the arts, in a virtually derelict former margarine factory in Berlin-Mitte. Since its establishment, it has come to be seen more than any other institution as a symbol of Berlin's development into an international centre of contemporary art since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The heritage-listed front building from the early 18th century and the factory facility, dating back to the 1870s, were renovated in the mid-1990s with support from the national urban heritage conservation program, the Berlin Lotto Foundation, and the Heritage Foundation. The existing complex was extended with two new buildings: Cafe Bravo pavilion, designed by the American artist Dan Graham, and realized in cooperation with the architect Johanne Nalbach; and the 400 square-meter exhibition hall in the rear wing, designed by Berlin architect Hans Duttman. Upon its reopening in the fall of 1999, KW had 2.000 square meters of exhibition space on five floors, several studios in the side wings, and one of the finest courtyards in Berlin-Mitte.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 32 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 11
  • 16
    Very good
  • 1
  • 2
  • 2
Contemporary art lovers, go visit!

Great place for contemporary art lovers that are not afraid to be challanged. Edgy and a lot of conceptual works. Not very warm and welcoming, but then again it's an german... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 4 weeks ago
Stockholm, Sweden

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32 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
174 reviews
143 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

What a museum, great modern collections and very well set out in a stunning building, loved this place!

Thank Travelling_LindaG
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Great place for contemporary art lovers that are not afraid to be challanged. Edgy and a lot of conceptual works. Not very warm and welcoming, but then again it's an german institute. Recommended!

Thank Hemlig-kritier
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
109 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2015

For me video art is often a side step in contemporary art. I was happy to find a place that is mostly video art. It was valuable to give it a chance, no matter whether You/I like/liked it or not. Give it a try. Lots of various ways of video and visual art. And not at all crowded, so you... More 

Thank Ilolahti
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2015

Enjoyed this exhibition, not so uniform, but nice venue and super nice coffee shop outside. The neighborhood is nice to walk around.

Thank hgoldi1
Level Contributor
134 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2015 via mobile

I enjoyed my visit to the KW. The "Welcome to the Jungle" exhibit was interesting and the gallery space is nice. I enjoyed the size and scale of some of the pieces. I did find myself at times trying to make a connection to the theme but I think that is good as I am still thinking about it hours... More 

Thank Jaboda
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2015 via mobile

The galleries are set across various floors and rooms, but they present a very contemporary range of modern art that spans different mediums and subjects. I think it is well worth a visit. The cafe on site is also very good, offering excellent quality breakfasts and lunches.

Thank rparker11
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2015 via mobile

A fantastic place for lunch for a light bite. Reasonably priced too. Exhibitions over various floors and adjacent buildings are interesting and well curated.

Thank Association of ... T
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2015

This is a fantastic museum/gallery for contemporary art. There are no permanent exhibitions, so check the website to ensure something is going on when you want to visit. It was my favorite museum visit in Berlin. Really well chosen artwork around a theme or themes. 6 euro (4 euro student) entry is very reasonable. There were ~3 floors of many... More 

Thank rackoo
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
97 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2015

Spread across a few floors of large gallery spaces. Would be brilliant if there was a more comprehensive shop in addition to the few books available.

Thank Steven G
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2015

This place is well worth seeking out. They have a changing programme of installations, which include a range of disciplines. At the moment there's some excellent video and sound work on the ground floor, running till mid January 2015, called Site Visit, which is immersive and very funny! Well recommended.

Thank Chris A

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Staying in Mitte

Neighborhood Profile
The center of Berlin, Mitte is most famous for sights like the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz, and Museum Island. The central location makes this one of the city's most expensive places to live. It is here the oldest traces of the city can be found, and evidence of some significant transformations, as well. The gangsters that once ruled the impoverished streets between Alexanderplatz and Hackescher Markt have given way to an international crowd pursuing fashionable designer clothes, the newest food trends and frequenting the many craft shops. Graphic designers have taken up residence in what used to be backyard barns and stables. There are still vestiges of the old days, however. The occasional housing complex is a reminder of the neighborhood’s past. And if you look carefully, an old 1920s ball house nestled amongst the art galleries and exhibitions of Auguststrasse can still teach you how to dance the old fashioned way.
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