Experience two of the world’s premier art events – Art Basel and the Berlin Biennale – on this new 9-day tour with Dr Thomas Berghuis, an art historian and former curator at the New York Guggenheim. At Art Basel, about 300 leading commercial galleries gather to showcase their best contemporary artists and their recently acquired 20th-century masterpieces. The Berlin Biennale shows another side of contemporary art: it is a forum for dynamic and thought-provoking artists from around the world, held at multiple locations around one of Europe’s most progressive cities. In addition to expert guidance through these two great art shows, the tour takes you to Basel and Berlin’s exceptional museums, from modern masterpieces in Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof and Neue Nationalgalerie to the novel displays of the Boros Collection in a five story air raid shelter.
Experience the spectacle of Art Basel, the world’s largest commercial art fair, where close to 300 leading galleries present the best of their modern and contemporary art
Explore the Berlin Biennale, which illuminates new and influential ideas and artists from around the world in diverse locations throughout the city
Get to know contemporary Berlin, a city with a well-earned reputation for progressive politics and cutting edge art
Modern and contemporary architecture and design, inclduing the magnificent collection of buildings by international starchitects at the Vitra Design Campus, and the new Bauhaus Museum and UNESCO-listed Bauhaus buildings in Dessau
Days 1–4: Transfer from Zurich airport to Basel. Experience the spectacle of Art Basel, and visit the city’s exceptional museums including the Beyeler Foundation and the Kunstmuseum. Visit the Vitra Design Campus, an open air architecture museum with buildings by Gehry, Zaha Hadid, SANAA, Alvaro Siza and Tadao Ando.
Days 5–9: Visit the Berlin Biennale at its diverse locations in one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan capitals. Visit Berlin’s exceptional modern and contemporary art galleries, from the Hamburger Bahnhof and Mies van der Rohes’ Niue Nationalgallerie, and private collections such as the Boros, housed in a 1940s air raid shelter. Day trip to Dessau, to visit UNESCO listed Bauhaus architecture and the new Bauhaus Museum.
The tour price quoted is for land content only. The tour begins at Zurich airport and ends at our hotel in Berlin. For this tour we recommend Qatar Airways who fly into Zurich and out of Berlin at the start and end of this tour. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B and D.
Friday 19 June: Art Basel
This morning there is a group transfer from Zurich Airport to Basel. In the mid-afternoon we make our first visit to Art Basel. We begin in the main exhibition, a five-hectare venue designed by Herzog & de Meuron in which close to 300 of the world’s best commercial galleries showcase pieces from their modern and contemporary collections. Our visit continues to the adjoining exhibition space, where large scale sculptures and installations by leading contemporary artists are displayed. In the early evening, we strolling through the old town of Basel, where we have a welcome dinner. Overnight Basel (D)
Saturday 20 June: Art Basel
This morning after a talk in the hotel we return to Art Basel for a private guided tour of the abundance of art on display in the main exhibition. In the mid-afternoon, there is the option to explore the alternative art fairs that have sprung up recently around Art Basel with your tour leader, visit some of the other exhibitions in the city, or continue exploring Art Basel. In the early evening we stroll through the historic centre of Basel to enjoy the Parcours section of Art Basel – large site specific installations and sculptures in public spaces on display during the event. Overnight Basel (B)
Sunday 21 June: Modern Art in Basel
Basel’s modern art collections are exceptional. This morning we visit the Fondation Beyeler – a villa designed by Renzo Piano to house the private collection of Ernst Beyeler, one of the founders of Art Basel. After a break for lunch, we visit the Basel Kunstmuseum, which reopened in 2016 after extensive renovations and the addition of a new wing. The museum has a fine collection of medieval and Renaissance art from the Upper Rhine Region, including masterpieces by Hans Holbein, and an excellent collection of classical modernism, with works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Mondrian, Kandinsky and Matisse. It is also a major venue for exceptional special summer exhibitions. Evening at leisure. Overnight Basel (B)
Monday 22 June: Vitra Design Campus
Vitra made its name as the producers of the designs of Charles and Ray Eames. The Design Campus, which is still the main factory for Vitra’s designer furniture in Europe, is also an open-air architecture museum, with buildings by Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Alvaro Siza. This morning, after a guided architecture tour of the site, we visit its museum of modern design. In the afternoon, we travel by coach to Zurich for our flight to Berlin. After checking in to our hotel, there is dinner nearby. Overnight Berlin (B, D)
Tuesday 23 June: The Berlin Biennale
The Berlin Biennale is one of the world’s major contemporary art events, and it is fuelled by both the progressive culture of contemporary Berlin and the sheer number of artists from around the world who now call Berlin home. Its main focus is exploring current and emerging ideas in contemporary art from around the globe. Its venues are spread across the city, and range from public galleries to private collections and historic sites. Today we explore the Berlin Biennale, starting with a guided tour of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the central venue where the Berlin Biennale began in the 1990s. In the afternoon, we continue with visits to other Biennale sites, such as the Akademie der Kunste and the Feuerle Collection. Evening at leisure. Overnight Berlin (B)
Wednesday 24 June: Contemporary Art in Berlin
The success of the Berlin Biennale stems from the growth of Berlin as a major centre for modern and contemporary art, and the engagement of contemporary artists with the excellent collections and temporary exhibitions the city attracts. Today we visit two key exhibition centres in Berlin. The first is the Hamburger Hof, Berlin’s premier collection of modern and contemporary art, housed in a converted railway complex. In addition to its exceptional collection of modern and contemporary art, it has special exhibitions of Katharina Grosse and Michael Schmidt. In the afternoon, we visit the Gropius-Bau, a historic building that, after reunification, became a key venue for contemporary art exhibitions. It has two major exhibitions – the first focusses on Cold War art from both sides of the Iron Curtain, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of reunification; the second is a solo show of the Nigerian-born artist Otobong Nkanga, who is completing her residency at the prestigious institution. The later afternoon and evening are at leisure, and you may wish to take an optional visit to other Berlin art sites with your tour leader, before we meet for dinner. Overnight Berlin (B, D)
Thursday 25 June: 20th Century Art in Berlin
One of the most fascinating things about contemporary art in Berlin is the range of sites that have been adapted to exhibiting art and the symbolism of these places. Today we explore some of these dynamic venues and their collections. After a leisurely start to the day, we visit the Boros Collection – the private collection of mostly large-scale art housed in a five story WWII air raid shelter which had previously been used as a food storage depot and then a nightclub. In the afternoon, we visit the Schinkel Pavilion, which was the centre of contemporary art in Berlin during the Weimar period before it was shut down by the Nazi Party for being ‘degenerate’. In the later afternoon, we continue exploring 20th-century art in Berlin at the Neue Nationalgalerie. The building was designed by Mies van der Rohe and is scheduled to reopen after extensive renovations in 2020; its collection includes masterpieces by Picasso, Lazlo-Moholy Nagi, Kandinsky, Barnett Newman and Jenny Holzer. Overnight Berlin (B)
Friday 26 June: Dessau
Of all Germany’s modern art and design movements, Bauhaus is the most widely influential although the Bauhaus school in Germany lasted little more than a decade before it was suppressed by the Nazi Party. Today we travel by coach to Dessau, first visiting its Bauhaus buildings, including the iconic Bauhaus School designed by Walter Gropius and the Masters Houses, designed by Gropius, Kandinsky and Klee, a UNESCO site that has been recently restored. After a break for lunch, we visit the new Bauhaus Museum, designed by Barcelona’s addenda architects. The building is an elegant and novel interpretation of Bauhaus principles, and its museum, opened in 2019, has one of the best collections of Bauhaus material in the world. In the later afternoon, we return to Berlin by coach. In the evening we meet for farewell drinks. Overnight Berlin. (B)
Saturday 27 June: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast in the hotel this morning. Please check your individual tour documents for your ongoing journey.
Dr Thomas Berghuis
A curator and art historian of contemporary art, and former lecturer at the University of Sydney.
Dr Thomas Berghuis is a curator and art historian currently living and working in Leiden, the Netherlands. Thomas has taught Asian art history and curatorial studies at the University of Sydney in Australia, and more recently at the University of Amsterdam.
Thomas holds a PhD in Asian art history from the University of Sydney. He is also a curator of contemporary art and was the inaugural Robert H. N. Ho Curator of Chinese Art at the Guggenheim Museum and the founding director of Museum MACAN in Jakarta, Indonesia’s first museum for contemporary international art. These days Thomas continues to teach contemporary international art and curatorial studies and practices. Most recently he was a lecturer in art history at the University of Amsterdam and also taught a course in museum studies at the University of Leiden.
Thomas has curated several critically acclaimed exhibitions, including Crossing the Tide, the Tuvalu Pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale, Suspended Histories at the Museum van Loon in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Wang Jianwei: Time Temple at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Berghuis also was co-curator for Edge of Elsewhere at the Sydney Festival, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and Campbelltown Art Gallery.
Asked about his incentives to work as tour leader, Thomas thinks that everyone should have access to the best practices contemporary art has to offer. He looks forward to sharing his practical and intellectual experiences during tours that touch artistic souls.
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller. We aim to be fair and reasonable in all our dealings with our clients. We aim to provide full and accurate information about our tours and promptly provide information of any changes or alterations that take place before departure.