A New Museum in Berlin Celebrates Art from the Streets

A new museum celebrating the art of graffiti has opened its doors in Berlin, Germany. The Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN Museum), which opened on Bülowstrasse, was developed to document and promote street art and graffiti. More than 130 urban artists, including legends such as Shepard Fairey, Herakut and 1010, are on display for the debut exhibition titled UNique. UNited. Unstoppable.

Inside the building, architecture firm Graft designed a suspended bridge between the upper areas of the museum, enabling visitors to walk above the main gallery space and appreciate the artworks from different perspectives. The asphalt floor is a nod to the “street” feel. Graft created the new interior, which was originally a residential building, and on the exterior installed a modular façade which can be used as a blank canvas by artists and museum collaborators. UN museum is equipped with a library, events theatre and 12 apartments to cater for the artist-in-residency program.

When asked “Have some artists rejected your offer to create street art especially for the museum simply because they did not want to be seen as sellouts?” Yasha Young, the artistic director of the Museum responded with: “Of course, and that is perfectly fine. In general, the reaction to setting up the museum was positive across the scene. But, ultimately, each artist decides whether they belong to the museum or not. We, the eight curators of the museum, chose 130 artists out of 780, and all of them immediately said, 'We'll definitely do it!' With the ‘art mile’ around the museum, we have convinced another 43 artists. We also organize performances and much more, and I believe the community is pleased with this acknowledgement of their work and that there is a ‘hub’ where people can continue to work, also thanks to the artist-in-residence program.”

The opening on September 16 was accompanied by a street festival, which included the display of various artworks and installations in the outdoor area around the museum building, attracted thousands of people, as well as the mayor and other celebrity guests.


sources: urban-nation, cladglobal, dw