Museum Devoted to Street Art Opens in Berlin

The façade of the five-story building is covered in large murals

Tim Renner, undersecretary of state for cultural affairs, at a 2016 press conference for the Urban National Museum for Urban Contemporary Art. WENN Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Thanks to its vibrant tradition of street art, Berlin is known as “the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world." So it seems only fitting that the city is now home to the largest-ever museum devoted to all manner of street art: from graffiti to paste-ups to outdoor installations.

As Eliot Stein reports for Condé Nast Traveller, the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art opened its doors on September 16. The façade of the five-story, late-19th-century house in the Berlin district of Schöneberg is part of the exhibit—local and international artists have used it as a canvas to create expansive murals on panels, which can be moved and archived.

Urban Nation, the artists’ institution behind the museum, has been bringing art to the streets of Berlin since 2013. Yasha Young, director and curator of Urban Nation, tells Stein that the new museum “isn’t about trying to squeeze something that belongs on the street into a house.”

“It’s about giving these artists the backbone of a living, breathing museum, protecting their work, and letting people get up close to experience something that’s often painted over,” she says.

Although there is plenty to see outside the museum, the interior of the five-story building won’t go to waste. As James Gabriel Martin reports for Lonely Planet, “more conventional” works of art and design are housed inside the museum, which will also host workshops, performances and research and exchange programs.

And for those who feel inspired by the museum’s dynamic collection, there is a designated “community wall” where budding urban artists can leave their mark.

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