The best of Vienna's contemporary art

Vienna is packed with museums and galleries offering some of the best contemporary art in Europe.

The city of the Hapsburgs, the waltz and Sachertorte, Vienna oozes an atmosphere of opulent Old World charm. From the hallowed Vienna State Opera to Schönbrunn Palace, there is no escaping the rich history of the city. But Mozart’s town is in no way stuck in the stuffy past. From a global smorgasbord up for the tasting at the Naschmarkt to a solid fashion scene, Vienna is very much in the now. Contemporary art lovers have a palette for the picking when it comes to cutting edge exhibitions.

For many art lovers, no trip to Vienna is complete without a visit to a Hundertwasser property. Kunst Haus Wien was designed from a former furniture factory based on Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser designs. Hundertwasser is known for his use of color, forms and ecological beliefs. The museum houses not only a permanent exhibition of his work (paintings, graphics, architectural designs, etc.) but also temporary exhibitions, mainly photography.  

International and Austrian avant-garde is the cornerstone of Mumok, Vienna’s modern art museum. Located in the popular MuseumsQuartier area, Mumok should be a must-see on any art lover’s to-do list. The permanent collection is notable for its mix of Classic Modernism, Pop Art, Fluxus, and Viennese Actionism. Every media imaginable is represented and temporary exhibitions range from paintings to graphics to photos and film art.

Once you’ve visited Mumok, walk across the MuseumsQuartier and into Kunsthalle Wien for another art jolt. Here you can experience a range of temporary installations that could see something on Brutalist architecture, one artist’s take on language, something on experimental film or perhaps a group show centered around technology. Whatever it is, it sure to make you think. Kunsthalle Wien has a second location on Karlsplatz, a gorgeous glass cube on the grassy area of the huge square.

Housed in a building as impressive as its exhibitions, the 21er Haus is home to the Belvedere’s contemporary art collection as well as holds a number of temporary exhibitions every year. Curators place an emphasis on social relevance and multimedia expression from both Austrian and international artists. Designed by Viennese architect Karl Schwanzer for the 1958 Brussels World Expo, the building was renovated in 2007. 

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