The ever-expanding Guggenheim Foundation is, for a change, pruning one of its outposts. The Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin will close at the end of this year.

A relatively small space in the Guggenheim empire, the Deutsche branch has been located within the headquarters of the Deutsche Bank building for 15 years. It opened in the reunified city in 1997, making a much smaller splash than the Guggenheim Bilbao, which opened that same year.

A press conference announcing the end of the partnership was held earlier today in Berlin. The only explanation given was that their contract expires at the end of 2012. Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong told the press that "Berlin today is a very different city from what it was when we began. We feel the time is right now to step back and re-examine our collaboration to see how it might evolve."

In addition to its 57 exhibitions, Deutsche Guggenheim has commissioned works from 17 artists, including Hanne Darboven, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Julie Mehretu, Gerhard Richter, James Rosenquist, Agathe Snow, Bill Viola, Jeff Wall, Phoebe Washburn and Lawrence Weiner, many of which appeared in other Guggenheim locations.

The news of the closing comes as Helsinki is reviewing a year-long feasibility study on the possibility of opening its own Guggenheim and as the Abu Dhabi branch slowly moves forward.