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Berlin's Museum for contemporary art opened in the former railway station, Hamburger Bahnhof, in November 1996. This gave the Nationalgalerie (National Gallery) not only the first permanent home for its collection of contemporary art. Since September 2004 the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection is also located there for seven years.
The exhibition area of about 10,000 square metres is dedicated to art from the second half of the 20th century onwards. The collection contains works from Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) as well as very many items belonging to the private Berlin collector, Erich Marx. At the core of the Marx collection are works by such internationally renowned artists as Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys. The collection also includes over 450 drawings by Beuys, "The secret block for a secret person in Ireland", and about sixty by Warhol. Also on show are representatives of Minimal Art and the Provera.
The "Berlin Circle" by the English artist Richard Long was directly inspired by the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin. The whole of the ground floor in the western wing is devoted to works by Beuys. They include well-known installations such as "The End of the 20th Century" (1982/83), "Unschlitt/Tallow" (1977), and "Richtkräfte" (Directional forces) (1974-77) created from one hundred wooden blackboards.
A historical presentation of the works was consciously avoided in favour of an open presentation concept which embraces all the media used by the various artists. The building consists of a traditionally high, historical hall resembling a railway hall and modern extensions with clear geometrical lines and glass roofs. Together they provide both an ideal setting for contemporary art and stimulating surroundings for an interesting variety of events.