Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art (Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart) presides over a comprehensive collection of contemporary art, which it presents in a variety of exhibitions. The museum’s name refers to the building’s original function as one of the first terminal stations of the rail system in Germany. It opened as the terminus of the railway line between Hamburg and Berlin in December 1846. Historic parts of the building with extraordinary ceiling heights, modern extensions with geometrically clear floor plans and ceiling lights offer ideal conditions for the presentation of modern art. The holdings are made up of exhibits from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and works by the Berlin private collection Erich Marx. In addition, highlights of the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection have been shown in special exhibitions since September 2004.
Foundation of the collection is build with works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys. Moreover, the collection includes 450 drawings from Beuys and nearly 60 plates from Warhol. Groups of works by painters of the Italian Transavanguardia and representatives of Minimal Art are also exhibited.
The English artist Richard Long with his Berlin Circle searches in his works for direct reference to the place. Likewise, the artists Gerhard Merz and Dan Flavin were inspired by the house. The entire ground floor is dedicated to works by Beuys. Historically determined presentation of the works was abandoned and an open, cross-collection concept was chosen that included all the possible media used by artists.