MuseumsQuartier

The MuseumsQuartier is a large courtyard made up of arts-related spaces. In the centre are the three main art galleries: The Leopold Museum, the Kunsthalle and MUMOK. There is also Zoom for kids and the Tansquartier which is a contemporary dance centre.

http://www.mqw.at/en/institutions/

I chose to pay for a combined ticket to the Leopold and the MUMOK with an additional €2 entrance to the Kunsthalle (once purchased your tickets are valid for one year). In total it was €18.

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The MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art) was a big change from the spaces I had experienced so far in Vienna. The dark interior predominantly featured glass and metal with no marble or plaster embellishments to be seen. Starting from the top floor and working down, the exhibition of Julius Koller’s work was distributed between a few floors. Archival work is always a little dull for me but I appreciated the curation of the space. Large white rooms with the work hung, suspended and neatly encased in installations in a way that enhanced the “fetishised” nature of the objects. The lower floors contained works from the Collection at the gallery which gave an interesting glimpse into constructivism, geometrical-abstract and conceptual work. In general I didn’t find the gallery that enjoyable to walk round and felt that there were a few too many floors. As an art student, I had been excited to see some contemporary art but I found the exhibitions a little disappointing. Perhaps it just wasn’t my cuppa tea.

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The Leopold, on the other hand, was surprisingly fantastic. Advertised on the outside were yet more posters of work by Schiele and Klimt which gave me the impression that I would be seeing more of the same kind of thing that I’d already seen at the Upper Belvedere. However, the collections here were much larger and included information on the artists along with a fascinating video at the end of the Schiele exhibition which gave critical interpretations of each work. During the 3 hours that I spent in this gallery I fell in love with Schiele! It was inevitable and it finally happened <3. In particular, his Reclining Woman portrait was so beautiful that I had to buy a small print to take back to my new room with me. (I recommend checking out the gift shop).

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After spending a total of 5 hours just at these two galleries, I decided to come back the next day to hit the Kunsthalle.

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The Kunstehalle is a much more Viennese looking building right in the centre of the MuseumsQuartier. They have constantly changing exhibitions from international contemporary artists. Currently, it’s the Marcel Odenbach show called “Proof of Nothing”. His work is often concerned with Germany’s National Socialist past alongside other acts of social injustice. I found the video installation In Still Waters Crocodiles Lurk particularly hard hitting as it collaged footage and radio segments of the Rwandan genocide. One part shows young boys screaming directly into the eye of the camera, which can be heard from the other side of the gallery space. Another video, Turning in Circles captures the mausoleum in the Polish Majdanek concentration camp, and a third, You Can’t Swim documents a conversation with three Sub-Saharan African immigrants living in France while they sit in front of the painting The Raft of Medusa in the Louvre.

I left the exhibition feeling much more effected than I had in any of the galleries so far. Perhaps instead of the MUMOK I should have gone straight to the Kunsthalle for my fix of contemporary art.

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