Urban Nation is more than a museum in Berlin. Urban Nation is a global institution focus on urban art. Their goal is to set new standards when it comes to artists and projects in contemporary art. And the work on the exhibitions is not limited to the walls inside the museum, as you can see when you walk around the place in Bülowstrasse.
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I first learned about Urban Nation back at the end of 2015, and I even wrote an article about the project here, back in early 2016. But I believe I started understanding what the museum was all about when I got lost in Schöneberg and managed to stumble upon some of the artwork that exists around the museum. My first visit to the museum was a little later, and I have been going there every time there is something new since then.
But, if you need a date to settle down, I can give you a time. Urban Nation opened to the public back in September 2017, but the people behind the museum have been transforming Berlin for a while longer.
Their first initiative was to change the large facades that you see around Berlin in extensive outdoor galleries, filled with murals. They have been working on this since 2013, and this was initiated by Yasha Young, who is the head of the Urban Nation Museum since October 2019.
The museum can be found in one of the many old school buildings that can be found around Bülowstrasse. For it to be able to fit the museum, some redesigns had to be made since this is not a conventional space. There, the architecture and the surface of the building become the media and the artwork and, in turn, make the building a part of the collection as well. With this mobile facade in mind, some of the artwork can be preserved and maintained together with the indoor collection, but this isn’t the case in every piece.
Inside, you feel like the street was brought in the building since you will be surrounded by posters, stickers, graffiti, and every type of street art possible. You will take a gallery walkway and explore the two-story interior while you take pictures of everything inside. There you will find artworks from famous artists like Gary Baseman, Cranio, Damien Hirst, Audrey Kawasaki, Banksy, Lora Zombie, Niels Meulman, ONEQ, Plotbot and many more.
Outside there is the famous art mile that drew my attention to the museum at first. Around Bülowstrasse, you will be able to see pieces of street art as soon as you step into the street. The buildings around have huge murals, the columns in a parking garage have characters that are looking at you, and this makes everything more interesting. As the artwork isn’t only inside the museum, it feels more inclusive and less elitist.
Another positive aspect of the Urban Nation is that different from other museums in Berlin, admission is free. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon, and you have to check out their website if you want to do a tour.
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If you are looking for street art around Berlin, we have an article about the massive murals around Tegel, something about Blu in Kreuzberg, and two articles about special exhibitions here: Wandelism and The Haus. You should take a look there.
Urban Nation: A Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin-Schöneberg
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