Europe has always been home to great works of art, and Zurich is no exception. The Swiss city contains 100 art galleries and 50 museums, which is a tribute to its place as a home for artists and artistic innovation. The Dada movement had its roots in Zurich and it was the location of Le Corbusier’s final work. The grounds of the traditional brewery have been transformed into areas for galleries which are frequented by the city’s residents and discovered by adventurous travelers with a penchant for fine art. You can find the taste of the old and the new in Zurich and can celebrate the best of both.
This is a safe haven for the new and adventurous. It doesn’t house a permanent collection but displays the newest art from up and coming artists. It tends to hold around five exhibitions as well as rotating exhibitions through several seasons. Many of the works shown question the role of the modern person in society through videos and digital demonstrations. An exhibition dedicated to Slavs and Tartars explores the history and its implication for contemporary society and views of past and present.
Hauser and Wirth
Hauser and Wirth is dedicated to displaying work by new and established artists from around the world. Much of the art is similar to the artwork that one would see in a museum, and on display are artists from London, Poland, and Germany. There are around ten exhibitions per year, with recent displays including the sculpture of Martin Eder.
Mai 36 Galerie
This gallery has its roots in the pop art movement of the 1960s, and, like the art of that time, the work displayed sometimes deals with the role of the media in art and life and the value of creativity in modern society. The works exhibited are from new and established artists from around the globe and feature a variety of media, including video, sculpture, and painting.
This legendary Galerie Gamuzynska relocated from its original home in Germany to Switzerland in 2005. There are now three Swiss cities that have versions of this gallery in Zurich, Zug, and St. Moritz. The gallery was known as a home for Russian Avant-Garde art along with museum quality artwork. Contemporary artists who have been featured in this gallery include Fernando Botero and Yves Klein.
Peter Kilchman Galerie
Like many of the art galleries opened on the premises of the Lowenbrau complex, this one is fairly recent and was opened in 1996 by renowned art lover Peter Kilchman. The pleasure of visiting this gallery is that it constantly shows new pieces from around the world, so there is rarely the experience, even for those who live in the city, of seeing the same thing again.
Migros Museum of Contemporary Art
Migros is located close by the Peter Kilchman Galerie and provides a combination of work from emerging and established artists. The museum has a permanent collection as well as a combination of various genres, including minimalist art. The museum’s philosophy is to create a collaboration between artists with exhibition and collections interlocked.
The Former Industrial Quarter
The industrial quarter of Zurich has undergone a transformation and the entire area is filled with art galleries and cultural activities. This area was considered almost dead until artists and gallery owners breathed new life into it and used old buildings as homes for Swiss and international art. Bahnhofstrasse was once the cultural main street of Zurich with its cafes, banks, and mountain views. Kreis 5 is literally on the other side of the tracks and is divided by railroad tracks and the Limmat River. Since the industrial zone has had new life breathed into it, there is a continual development of attractive apartments, theaters, trendy restaurants and other attractive and interesting things to do and see.
The area is less “Swiss” than any other parts of Zurich and attracts an international crowd of visitors and residents from around the world. You may find shops devoted to British cheese and delicacies alongside a café featuring Asian fare. In the 1980s, the area fell into disrepair with the disappearance of commerce and was the location of the infamously called “Needle park” where drug addicts would congregate.
In the past few years, the industrial zone is known for its cutting-edge art and spectacular nightlife, and it doesn’t show signs of abating. It isn’t just the Lowenbrau factory that was remade into art galleries, but the shipbuilding plant in the neighborhood now houses a theater, jazz club, and restaurant. The are still is sparse when it comes to residential buildings, but that may change as people move away from more prosperous areas to the formerly gritty Kreis 5. There is some concern that if a more ritzy crowd moves in the area will lose much of its raw energy that inspired its transformation into a cutting edge art center, but for now, there is plenty of vitality left.