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KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Auguststr. 69, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Phone Number:
+49 30 2434590
See all hours
Wed - Mon 12:00 - 19:00

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 45 reviews
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  • 11
  • 13
    Very good
  • 4
  • 1
  • 2
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 bubblesReviewed 21 June 2016
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45 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 31: English reviews
Coimbra, Portugal
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

The exhibition was very poor. Mostly white walls and an audio installation that did not make any sense. Pretentious and expensive. Not worth it.

Thank André R
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2016 via mobile

When people ask me what the highlight of Berlin was- I'd definitely say this was. There was just so much to see, especially since we bought a ticket which allowed us access to all the Berlin Biennale exhibitions. Every room was different as some were interactive, immersive with performance art and filled with multi media videos. There's just so much... More 

Thank Ronnieroo04
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
176 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2016 via mobile

If you're out and about in Prenzlauer Berg, and feeling like a break, head for the cafe at the KW Institute. There are tables and various types of chairs in the courtyard garden, and also in the restaurant. The service is mostly friendly (except for one rather self important waitress). The food consists of light lunches and cakes which are... More 

Thank Stephen P
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2016

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
94 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2016

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
118 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 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
158 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 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
157 reviews
83 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 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
The Netherlands
Level Contributor
326 reviews
272 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 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 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 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

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Staying in Mitte

Neighbourhood Profile
The centre 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 neighbourhood’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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