An annual chance to see high-quality works from a roll call of Austrian galleries. Art Austria usually features the new and upcoming, established stars, and even items from before we had money to buy them with.
- Works by local and international artists
- Hundreds of pieces of art across various genres and eras
- Modern and contemporary dominate
- Over 40 exhibitors typically participate
- 2024 dates: TBA (was May 11-14 in 2023)
- See also:
- Contemporary art in Vienna
- Current & future art exhibitions
From pottery to pop art
(The building behind is the former imperial stables)
The chances of me buying high-end art are (as my maths teacher used to say) so close to zero to be indistinguishable from it. At least until the mortgage is paid off. But whether you’re buying or browsing, Art Austria makes for an impressive experience.
Perhaps the top locations in Vienna for exhibitions featuring prestigious contemporary artists are the Albertina and Albertina Modern museums.
Ai Weiwei, Xenia Hausner, Jakob Gasteiger, Arnulf Rainer, Hermann Nietsche, Michaela Gisetti and Hubert Scheibl have all had recent solo exhibitions, for example. And my recent forays to both institutions have turned up such prestigious names as Katz, Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Damien Hirst.
Works by all those names graced walls and displays at the Art Austria event I visited (the 2022 edition).
As such, it all felt like a private exhibition of Austria’s best, laced with international names and upcoming talent. And, of course, with the chance to talk shop and art with gallery staff and, in some cases, the artists themselves.
Aside from the headline names, I was much taken with the high-gloss sculptures of Mario Dalpra at Galerie Gans, for example. And Patrick Hughes’s reverspective sculpted paintings held me frozen in confused awe at the Bakerhouse Gallery.
My travel writer heart also beat faster at the Wien series of gold leaf collages by NDCM Fröhlich where, for example, penguins stood at the gates of Schönbrunn Palace and King Kong climbed Stephansdom cathedral.
Those particular collages fetch a three-figure sum, but many of the works at Art Austria will need you to add one or two additional zeroes.
The fair predominately featured graphical works and sculptures, with some notable exceptions like furniture. And mostly contemporary art, though not exclusively by any means.
For example, one of Ai Weiwei’s rhodium-plated Artist’s Hand sculptures stood on one side of a partition, with a second century Roman marble bust and Neolithic clay figures on the other side. Not a juxtaposition you see every day.
And the early 20th century (and Wiener Moderne) seemed popular, with numerous works, for example, by the likes of Alfons Walde or Albert Egger-Lienz.
Dates, tickets & tips
I don’t have dates yet for the next event. The 16th Art Austria took place on May 11th to 14th, 2023, though the 11th was by invitation only or required a VIP ticket. A standard adult day ticket for any of the three public days cost €18. Check with the official website (see below) for the latest details.
The 2022 edition moved to the MuseumsQuartier complex, itself a home to contemporary art and culture, and the same location hosted the 2023 version: both indoors and in marquee tents. According to the organisers, the scope in 2023 was even more international.
Vienna has a fair few events of this kind for art fans. Check the suggestions at the bottom of this page, for example.
And, of course, Vienna’s main art museums and venues have numerous public exhibitions on at any one time. See these listings for an idea of what’s on and what’s coming up.
How to get to the MQ
Use the travel tips on the main article for this museum complex.
Address: Museumsplatz 1/5, 1070 Vienna | Website (for the event)