How Berlin’s art galleries navigate reopening post lockdown


by Emily McDermott

During lockdown, museums, galleries and art institutions around the world hurriedly launched digital initiatives to bring their exhibitions to life online. Now, as many of these same spaces begin to reopen in Berlin, they’re unveiling new models, integrating digital components with their physical spaces, and focusing on hyper-local initiatives in an effort to balance what they learned during quarantine with the facts that strict regulations remain in place and many other cities, as well as borders, remain closed.

Earlier this month, for example, Wentrup gallery opened the group exhibition ‘Zoom In – Zoom Out’, but rather than the standard ‘opening night’, a day-long opening took place from 11am to 6pm, with only three people allowed inside at once. ‘We found the procedure worked very well,’ Tina and Jan Wentrup explain. The title of the show references the current state of global communication and staying in touch with international communities via applications like Zoom, and the majority of works were produced by the gallery’s artists during quarantine specifically for the show.

Shortly after their physical reopening, Wentrup launched an online viewing room (post-quarantine, indeed), as the platform is more than an attempt to virtually recreate a physical exhibition: it features a comprehensive overview of the featured artist’s practice with installation views and images of individual as well as a curatorial essay and additional supporting textual materials.

‘The online viewing room exists for itself and has no direct link to the current [physical] show but is ultimately linked to the overall programme of the gallery, just like a real showroom in a gallery space,’ the Wentrups explain.