The Albertina art museum owns dozens of works by Arnulf Rainer. Which is handy when it comes to holding a special exhibition to mark his 90th birthday.
- Retrospective exhibition features key works from across Rainer’s creative life
- Highlights include samples of the Albertina’s prestigious collection of Face Farces and Body Poses
- Just need a normal entrance ticket* to the museum (or a sightseeing pass)
- Exhibition dates: Sept 27, 2019 to Jan 19, 2020
- See also: Albertina visitor & tickets info
90th birthday hommage
Austrian composers have clearly cast their spell over global culture and history.
You can’t blame Austrian artists for having somewhat less of an impact than their musical colleagues. But a few names have left their colourful mark far beyond the borders of the Alps. Think Gustav Klimt, for example.
Another such name is Arnulf Rainer, born just down the road from Vienna in 1929 (in Baden), and due to celebrate his 90th birthday in December, 2019.
Such an occasion is as good an excuse as any to show some of the artwork that has made Rainer one of the world’s most influential post-WWII artists.
The Albertina’s exhibition takes you across decades’ worth of creative evolution, from Rainer’s early overpainting of photographs and “face farces”, through the crosses of the late 20th century, and all the way up to his most recent work. The tribute draws on the museum’s own extensive collection of almost 300 of Rainer’s works.
The influence and importance of Rainer’s abstract and innovative approaches can be seen in the numerous prestigious locations that have held relevant exhibitions, such as Venice’s Museo Correr, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, New York’s Guggenheim Museum, and Paris’s Pompidou Centre. His overdrawn photos of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s famous busts have just been on display at Belvedere Palace, for example.
My particular highlights
Some of the photos of Rainer are in themselves strangely engrossing. Then the overpainting adds an entirely new dimension. Particular favourites were Sleep (1973/74) and Black Grooves (1974).
And a special tip of the hat to the curator, Antonia Hoerschelmann, for the presentation of various Rainer Crosses compositions in a chapel-shaped room (even while accepting that the art is not considered sacral in nature). The impact as you enter is stark, almost brutal.
Dates and tickets
The Arnulf Rainer exhibition began on Friday, September 27th, 2019 and finishes January 19th, 2020. At the time of writing, the Albertina opens daily from 10am to 6pm (late opening on Wednesdays and Fridays).
How to get to the exhibition
Discover travel tips for the Albertina here. It’s not hard to find if you’re visiting the old town area. The museum borders the Hofburg Palace complex and sits opposite the State Opera House, so it’s right in the middle of tourist territory.
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna | Website