Have you ever dreamed of seeing inside the homes and spaces of top contemporary art collectors? Then get yourself to Berlin next week.
A group of the city’s most prominent collectors are opening up their art-filled spaces for a special, late-night event this month. By joining forces, they hope to not only make their art more accessible, but also debunk the myth that the German capital is home to just a small handful of significant contemporary art collectors.
A dozen collectors, including Christian and Karen Boros, Julia Stoschek, and Désiré Feuerle, are taking part in the inaugural event next Friday, August 23. During the newly christened Collection Night Berlin, all participating spaces will be open from the early evening until midnight, with several organizing special programs. Wartime bunkers, a 19th-century ballroom, and a historic private villa are among the venues that will be accepting visitors.
“Our idea was to create a common initiative for the public between the city’s collections,” says Juliet Kothe, director of the Boros Collection and co-initiator of the inaugural event. “Berlin is not typically known for having a strong art market, but we are actually one of the few places in Germany that has such a wealth of private collections that are also often accessible to the public,” she says.
The event is a pilot to test the demand for late-night openings of the city’s private collections. Usually, such events are timed to coincide with citywide initiatives, such as Gallery Weekend Berlin in April and Berlin Art Week in mid-September. But the collectors are keen to turn Collection Night Berlin into an independent initiative if they determine it has enough appeal on its own.
Some collections are extending their usual hours, while others, like the Haubrok Foundation, are opening their doors to the public for the first time. Haubrok will be hosting a one-night exhibition of works by the recently deceased American artist Joyce Pensato that aims to evoke her legendarily messy New York studio.
Meanwhile, collector Ulrich Seibert will present his unusual collection of Pop-Surrealist and Pop-Comic Surrealist art, which is not typically open for public viewings. Visitors can also get a pre-renovation peek at the future home of the Wemhöner Collection, which is due to officially open in a 19th-century ballroom in two years. For one evening, it will host a screening of Julian Rosefeldt’s film Deep Gold (2013–14), which explores the decadence of 1920s Berlin.
Also that evening, the German publishing house DISTANZ will unveil a new book called PRIVATE ACCESS. The pocket-sized guidebook provides a glimpse into around 90 private museums across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, including details about how to visit them and other insider tips. It will be presented Lapidarium am Landwehrkanal (Hallesches Ufer 78, 10963 Berlin).
Most of the collections will be open from 5 p.m. until midnight, though registration may be necessary for certain collections. For more information, click here.
See the spaces taking part in the inaugural Berlin Collection Night below.
Michael Müller Monster, (2016/2017). Installation view, Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong, 2018. Photo: Kitmin Lee Courtesy Sammlung Bergmeier and the artist.
Collector Geraldine Michalke’s eclectic holdings range from German art informel and concrete poetry to Minimalist and conceptual art. Her current group exhibition, “Klappe zu, Affe tot,” includes work by Channa Horwitz, Michael Müller, and others. Entrance is free.
The Boros Collection, which focuses on contemporary works from the 1990s to present, will be open by appointment for tours late into the evening. Works by Martin Boyce, He Xiangyu, Yngve Holen, Michel Majerus, Katja Novitskova, and Pamela Rosenkranz are on view in the space’s converted bunker. Pre-registration is necessary and entrance costs €15.
Like the Boros Collection, the Feuerle Collection is located in a former World War II telecommunications bunker. The collection focuses on early Imperial Chinese furniture and objects as well as international contemporary art by such star names as Zeng Fanzhi and Anish Kapoor. Pre-registration is necessary and entrance costs €18.
The Haubrok Foundation will host a one-night exhibition in a temporary space featuring work by the recently deceased American artist Joyce Pensato in an installation that evokes her messy, art-filled studio. The foundation will also show selections from its large collection of contemporary photography. Entrance is free.
Exhibition “Gaming – the system,” with Malte Frey und Julian Reiser at Kienzle Art Foundation Photo: Eric Tschernow.
Former art dealer Jochen Kienzle founded the Kienzle Art Foundation with Annette Gmeiner in 2009. The contemporary art collection includes works by Jonathan Lasker, Jack Whitten, and Jack Goldstein. The current show presents young painters Malte Frey and Julian Reiser. Entrance is free.
Offering a bit of meta-commentary on private collecting, the Me Collectors Room will screen a film by Grit Lederer and Minh An Szabó de Bucs looking at the rise of Chinese super-collectors. In addition to the screening, the foundation’s the Olbricht Wunderkammer—a cabinet of curiosities that features 300 objects from the Renaissance and Baroque periods and is among the most important private collections of its kind—will also be open for visitors, as will the group exhibition “BEYOND,” which includes works by Jonas Burgert and Jake and Dinos Chapman, among others. Entrance is free.
Art historian Joëlle Romba and her husband, lawyer Eric Romba, live with their art collection in a villa that dates back to 1908. Their holdings focus on photorealistic painting, Op art, architecture in art, and contemporary art. Their collection will be on view by appointment only for a one-night open house. Entrance is free.
Ulrich Seibert Collection
Oranienburgerstrasse 32 Heckmannhöfe 1. OG 10117 Berlin
Sammlung Ulrich Seibert, Installation view.
Renowned German collector Ulrich Seibert will open the doors to his unique collection of mostly West Coast art that focuses on Pop-Surrealism, Pop-Comic Surrealism, and Lowbrow art. Featured artists include Terry Rodgersand Ron English, among many others. Entrance is free and no appointment is needed.
Julia Stoschek, with Kill-Wallpaper, (2003) by Sturtevant. Photo courtesy Şirin Şimşek.
Julia Stoschek will be screening a selection of films from her yearlong program “Horizontal Vertigo,” curated by Lisa Long, which includes works by Rindon Johnson, Chelsea Knight with Shane Aslan Selzer, and Arjuna Neuman and Denise Ferreira da Silva, among others. The works have so far only been shown at her Düsseldorf space. Entrance is free.
The Wemhöner Collection will present its future exhibition space, a former ballroom from 1899 that is due to formally open in two years, with a screening of Deep Gold by Julian Rosefeldt. Entrance is free.
Collection Ivo Wessel. Bjørn Melhus, Auto Center Drive, 2003. Courtesy Collection Ivo Wessel
Computer scientist Ivo Wessel’s collection includes painting, photography, conceptual art, media, and video art. He will show an assortment of work for Collection Night Berlin, including art by Julian Rosefeldt, Luke Willis Thompson, and Peter Vogel. Entrance is free.
The Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection was initially founded by Gudrun and Bernd Wurlitzer and is held in a historic 1930s building. For the exhibition “Jewels” on Berlin Collectors Night, the Wurlitzers will present art by Joseph Beuys, Alicja Kwade, Jonathan Meese, and Raphaela Vogel, among others.