A vernissage in Berlin can lead to a real find, a nice glass of wine, and an interesting conversation with a stranger.

It will get hot in July – hopefully not ‘climate-crisis’ hot, but certainly the city will heat up enough during the day so that in the evening, everybody can sit around in open-air cafés with public viewing, and watch the European Championships.

Cornelia Brelowski: The Art of the Vernissage

Berlin by night. Photo: S.Widua on Unsplash

However, the Championships will sadly be over by mid-month and by then, you may look for another form of relaxed input, preferably happening outside of a building (please note that in Berlin, air conditioning is not yet a given, but we’re working on it). Now, you can either sit or stand around in front of a pub, bar or café, or you can do so with a little more aplomb, say in front of a gallery.

Cornelia Brelowski: The Art of the Vernissage

Berlin, Haus Schwarzenberg, courtyard art. Photo: Pablo Hermoso on Unsplash

The peripheral plus point of a vernissage is at least one free drink, but yes, there is also a good chance of meeting interesting people and discovering an artist you might actually like. To be able to do so, you can either rely on your artsy friends or go straight to the listings, e. g. on www.berlin.de or on www.artatberlin.com, where you will find both vernissages (blue) and finissages (red), as well as running shows, fairs and events (black).

Once you have chosen one or more options in your relative vicinity (who knows what awaits you), you put on the outfit that pleases you most (remember, Berlin allows anything and everything concerning street fashion, even during fashion week), slip on your sneakers (in case you intend to stand throughout the evening), or your strappy sandals (it’s hot) and head out for cultural input, a glass of bubbly and hopefully some interesting conversation. Side note: You can also opt for the cool, aloof posture of course, but nowadays this attitude is not likely to make as many friends as in, say, 1989.



I for one make it a rule to seek out the artist or gallerist directly and pump them for information: What do we see, why executed in this way and by benefit of what inspiration? The key at a Berlin vernissage is to be open and interested, not necessarily the size of the purse. In fact, Berlin openings tend to draw a democratic mix of people, who are open to a good chat, especially if you show genuine interest.

Cornelia Brelowski: The Art of the Vernissage

Festival of Lights 2015. © visitBerlin, photo: Sarah Lindemann

Do your round and take in the art on display. Then, exchange a few kind and profound words with the artist, and share your immediate impressions with the gallerist or a bystander.

Finally, take your bubbly, step in front of the gallery and just start enjoying the atmosphere of a warm Berlin night, with interesting people to watch, relishing in the feeling of being part of the crowd.

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Berlin Notes: Town of coffee

Photo: Coline Mattée

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