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KW Institute for Contemporary Art

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

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what an odd little building

visited last week during biennale. it's located in a old building with many small apartment size spaces, well suited to showcasing installation and video work. cafe located in the... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 4 weeks ago
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40 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 28: English reviews
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

visited last week during biennale. it's located in a old building with many small apartment size spaces, well suited to showcasing installation and video work. cafe located in the courtyard was very reasonably priced. i'd go again.

Thank emilyweirdshoes
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
93 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We visited just wanting to see this gallery, however as the Biennale is being held in Berlin you have to buy a ticket for the whole lot. Art is personal preference, and we were not keen on current installations.

1 Thank gizzy4charlie
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
111 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2016

Visited the KW institute in 2012 for the Berlin Biennale and am back again for the 2016 edition. This time around, the KW institute is all renovated and am in full glory. The 2016 biennale is not as radical as the 2012 but is good nevertheless.

Thank R L
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
107 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2016

KW is a fantastic gallery if you're only a casual art lover. It's relatively small but with a high caliber of pieces. All killer no filler. My friends and I we're most captivated by the multi media pieces, some of the video work was really interesting.

Thank Chris_DJ_Bear_Acton
Level Contributor
139 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2016

This was our second visit. The KW is a great facility and good location. There is usually something interesting or stimulating, but I always ended up feeling a little disappointed. Whilst I enjoy contemporary art, I find it less attractive when I have to read some long impenetrable narrative to have the art explained to me. Unfortunately on this visit... More 

Thank Mark P
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
254 reviews
209 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2016

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 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2016

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
124 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 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
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
166 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 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

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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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