The Swedish Photography and Art Museum Fotografiska continues its expansion, opening its fourth branch in Berlin on September 14, following previous locations in Stockholm, New York, and Tallinn, reports the Financial Times. An additional branch in Shanghai is also on the horizon, expected to open by year’s end. Since its inception in 2010, Fotografiska has merged immersive exhibitions, modern hospitality, diverse event agendas, and architectural design.
Fotografiska causes controversy
The home of the new Berlin branch of Fotografiska is a historically rich five-story building in the Mitte district, which once served as a shopping arcade. It traces back to 1908 and has undergone various transformations over the years, from a department store to an electric appliance showroom, a Nazi prison, and later a haven for the artists’ collective named Tacheles. Tacheles became a symbol of Berlin’s post-reunification underground culture. For over two decades, it served as a hub for countercultural events, art exhibitions, workshops, cinema, and theater. The venue attracted international artists and visitors, making it a prominent place in Berlin’s cultural landscape. By the early 2010s, after a series of legal battles and evictions, the artists were ousted, and the building was closed to the public.
Jochen Sandig, a co-founder of the Tacheles squat, said to The New York Times: “Tacheles, the highest symbol of Berlin creativity, is now a shopping mall. Even the Fotografiska, with its many bars and restaurants, is a shopping mall, buying fashionable artists for their image.”
According to Financial Times, Fotografiska attracted 750,000 visitors across its locations in 2022. The museum’s financial success can be credited to Yoram Roth, the chair of the Fotografiska group. Roth, a photographer and entrepreneur, became the majority owner of Fotografiska in 2021 after merging with NeueHouse. While Fotografiska’s business-oriented model has its critics, some hope that its up-to-date exhibitions addressing relevant topics will make it a new art hotspot in Berlin. The jury is still out on whether that will be the case.
The building boasts four exhibition spaces, two bars, a bakery, a restaurant, a café, and a shop. Fotografiska recently prepped for a grand opening featuring several performances, including one by the queer feminist singer Peaches. From 7 pm until midnight, guests can visit all of Fotografiska Berlin’s opening exhibitions, NUDE, Candice Breitz’s Whiteface, and Juliana Huxtable’s –Ussyphilia, obtaining limited free tickets online. Tour guides will be available on-site to provide context for these thought-provoking examinations of gender, race, and sexuality.
Offering extended hours of operation, the museum sustains itself via memberships and ticket sales. Its financial model offers flexibility, allowing the museum to host impactful temporary exhibitions. Unlike traditional museums, Fotografiska doesn’t have a permanent collection, granting them the liberty to cover a vast spectrum of photographic styles. Their debut exhibitions in Berlin primarily focus on female and female-identifying artists.
This news has been written in collaboration with Open AI’s GPT-4.