The visual arts in Germany are characterised by a great variety of artistic forms of expression, such as painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, film and interventionist art practice.
There are numerous rooms in all three cultural sectors – state, market, society – for the presentation and communication of the visual arts. These include more than 600 art museums, as well as numerous public and private exhibition houses (without their own collections), but also the more than 300 art associations in Germany, which are supported by the commitment of art enthusiasts on site – both in larger and smaller communities and in rural areas. The private galleries – 340 members have joined together in the Federal Association of German Galleries and Art Dealers (Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien und Kunsthändler) – also show works by the artists they represent in their exhibitions and at art fairs. The most traditional annual art fair, which has been held since 1967, is Art Cologne. Also worth mentioning is the Berlin Arts Week, which has been held annually since 2012. For Berlin Art Week, the major museums of contemporary art, Berlin exhibition houses and art associations, two art fairs, private collections of contemporary art and project spaces have joined forces to present a joint exhibition program.
Public space and digital space also play an increasing role for the visual arts: for example, there are now online galleries as salesrooms for art.
More than 10 000 visual artists are organised in the Federal Association of Visual Artists (Bundesverband der Bildenden Künstler). Since 1972 it has represented the professional interests of freelance visual artists in Germany towards politics and administration. In 2020, 65 800 artists were insured in the field of fine arts in the Artists’ Social Security Fund.
Only a small percentage of visual artists are able to make a living exclusively from the sale of their works. Very often they combine various activities and sources of income, such as fees from artistic teaching activities. This mixed income structure requires artists to have a high degree of self-exploitation qualities and flexibility.
Germany has a network of about 400 youth art schools. At 25 art academies in Germany there are specific courses of study in the visual arts, at which between 150 and 4 000 students take advantage of these courses.
 Art Cologne is the oldest art fair in the world, today it gathers around 180 galleries with works by over 2 000 artists every year.
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