Our lovely Hamburg team, Oliver and Judith, give us their top spots for exploring Hamburg’s art scene in this last post of the series.
The Falckenberg Collection is one of the most important collections in Germany and is a must see if you’re visiting the city. Inspiring and huge in equal measure, about 2,000 works of contemporary art make up the collection and it focuses on German and American art of the last 30 years. From the mid-1970s, an art scene evolved in Hamburg and Berlin that gained in importance as prominent artists like Sigmar Polke and Dieter Roth lived and worked in Hamburg. A subversive form of essentially Neo-Dadaist art emerged that challenged the ruling system, relying in the process on irony, satire, acerbic scorn and even cynicism. So there is certainly a lot to look forward to!
In 2009 a group of 200 people active in the arts saved a run-down historic quarter in the centre of Hamburg from demolition, and it has since become a very lively and important center for subculture in Hamburg. At the you Gängeviertel you can wander into different and subversive art galleries, see street and urban art exhibitions, and enjoy a variety of outdoor sculptures, installations, performances, concerts, and open discussions. Even at night it is worthing heading to the Gängeviertel for a drink in one of the charming bars there.
You can’t visit Hamburg without venturing in to the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg’s largest and most important art museum. Its superb permanent collection takes you through seven centuries of art history, from the medieval altars of Master Bertram through to the stars of the contemporary art scene such as Gerhard Richter and Neo Rauch.
The Hamburger Kunsthalle consists of three striking buildings: the brick building from 1869 with its ornamental facade, the neoclassical extension building from 1919 made of light-coloured shell limestone, and the white cube of the Galerie der Gegenwart designed by architect Oswald Mathias Ungers. From the bistro in Galerie der Gegenwart you can enjoy one of the finest views of the city and watch the ships around the famous inner-city lake Alster.
Also worth visiting is the Westwerk, an old building in the centre of the city where there is always lots going on. The program is delightfully varied and includes gallery exhibitions, installations, performances, a music club and artist readings. Near the harbour, it’s in a beautiful spot and is an inspiring place to see.