The Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art to Open in Berlin

Art News, Graffiti & Street Art, Interviews

September 3, 2017

Since 2013, Berlin’s URBAN NATION has been a major driving force of urban contemporary art in the city and beyond, inviting internationally-renowned artists to show their works on building facades, house walls and shop windows. Under the direction of Yasha Young, the platform has been growing and expanding in many directions, and will reach a new important milestone this year with the grand opening of the URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART. This one-of-a-kind institution will open its doors on September 16th and 17th, 2017, inviting visitors to a two-day inauguration under the motto UNique. UNited. UNstoppable. Aside from the exhibition at the museum itself, there will be others as well, as part of an open-air gallery stretching from Nollendorfplatz to Frobenstraße.

Team behind Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin. Photo © Nika Kramer
Markus Terboven (Geobag), Thomas Willemeit (GRAFT architects), Yasha Young (Urban Nation), Tim Renner (Undersecretary of State for Cultural Affairs), and Hendrik Jellema (Berliner Leben) before the site of the future Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin. Photo ©Nika Kramer via

The Martha Cooper Library

Another important aspect of the museum represents a brand new library named after world’s most famous street art photographer, Martha Cooper. Featuring a part of her own collection of books, magazines, sketchbooks, photography and ephemera already featured in the library, it will be the first archive of it’s kind, dedicated entirely to urban contemporary art through more than 5000 items - all available for research and enjoyment. URBAN NATION also invites you to contribute to the archive and donate, lend or tell about the books you know and love. You can contact them at

Below, we had a quick chat with Yasha Young about the Museum, its vision and the grand opening coming our way in a couple of weeks, Scroll down!

Announcing The Martha Cooper Library

The Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art

Widewalls: How would you describe the development of the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art? What were the experiences that led to the moment of its inauguration?

Yasha Young: The development of URBAN NATION has been going on since 2013. For projects like One Wall or Project M/ URBAN NATION has been inviting more than 250 international artists of Urban Contemporary Art up until now, to show their works within the urban fabric of Berlin: building façades, house walls and shop windows. Therefore, the inauguration of the URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART just comes as a natural development after years of URBAN NATION being an international network which connects artists through exhibitions, panels and social projects. URBAN NATION acts as a creative force in Berlin and promotes public critical engagement and exchange with URBAN ART as a key art form of the 21st century.

Widewalls: What can you tell us about the opening itself? What can the visitors expect during the two days?

YY: During the two days of the opening of the museum, we will have a great festivity. Outside of the museum, from Nollendorfplatz to Frobenstraße, there will be an artmile with a lot of paintings and installations. On Sunday, we will also have a big festivity for the whole neighborhood with art workshops for kids and of course we invite people to grab a spray can themselves and create a new peace of urban art. Furthermore we will also have a skateboard ramp and there will be a great breakdance performance of the Flying Steps.

Widewalls: Can you reveal anything about the installations outside the museum too?

YY: The artworks of the artmile will be inspired by the background and historical development of Berlin and especially Schöneberg and the area surrounding the museum. We prepared a catalogue for the participating artists with all the important historical facts, so that they can create artworks related to the local urban developments. Artists like, for example, Ben Frost, Lister, Pixel Pancho and many more great people will show and prepare installations and artworks outside of the museum on the artmile from Nollendorfplatz to Frobenstraße.

Widewalls: Why does Urban art today deserve an entire museum?

YY: Urban art has been developing in the last 30 years a lot. A museum can conserve different aspects of this art form and can make its history and producing accessible to the public. But of course, the museum will also encapsulate the original idea behind temporary urban art. Changing murals will be exhibited on mobile elements on the façade of the museum and will subsequently become part of the URBAN NATION archives. The museum’s interior also makes for unusual experiences: URBAN NATION is literally moving the street indoors. A gallery catwalk stretching across the two stories of the museum interior makes it possible to look at the exhibits both from afar and close up. The museum, just like urban art, is supposed to be for everybody. That is why the URBAN NATION museum will continue with initiating social projects and workshops.

Featured image, a rendering of URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART, by GRAFT Architekten. The mobile façade elements will bear regularly changing murals on the outside of the museum. After their time adorning the outside walls, the artworks will become part of the URBAN NATION archives. All images courtesy Urban Nation.

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Berlin, Germany