The gallery of the Academy of Fine Art sees itself as a membrane between the interior and exterior of the institution. The gallery's aim is to supplement and extend both the teaching contents and practices of the various departments as well as making a contribution to current inquiries in the arts, thereby establishing connections between internal and external discussions and - being situated in the centre of the academy - offering a social and discursive place for carrying out such debates. In the framework of the academy's specific capabilities, the gallery affords students, lecturers, invited artists, curators and theoreticians an experimental and reflective form of exhibition practice that can incorporate, beyond the presentations themselves, the active involvement with the exhibition and the reworking and reformulating discursive material.

The gallery first opened in 1979 and has been practically continually active ever since. Apart from exhibitions of students and lecturers of the Academy, the gallery's main objective was to present classical figures of modernism (Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann et al) and prominent representatives of the avant-garde (such as Joseph Beuys, Man Ray) at a time of political and social isolation. A thematic focus of the 20 years preceding the forced temporary closure due to renovation was the genre of photography (August Sander, Photography of the 20th century, Tina Barney, et al). After two years of renovation work the gallery was reopened in January 2002 with a co-operative project of the D/O/C/K project department of the HGB and the Berlin artist Andreas Sieckmann. Since then the gallery has had a continuous year-round programme.