Wander along Vienna’s Danube canal, for example, and you’ll find the walled banks a canvas of colour. Street art fills the city, with the Calle Libre festival an annual highlight in the urban calendar.
- Live contemporary art painting in urban spaces
- Supporting programme of talks, tours, etc.
- 2022 dates: TBA (was Aug 2-7 in 2021)
- 2021’s theme continues in the Re:Present exhibition
- See also: Streetlife festival | Contemporary art in Vienna
Where art meets walls
(Street art along the Danube canal)
Calle Libre translates into free street in Spanish (or so Google translate tells me) and the same-named event bills itself as a festival for urban aesthetics. It essentially falls into two parts.
The first is the actual art, where Austrian and international (mainly Latin American) street artists ply their trade on dedicated spaces throughout Vienna with “live paintings”.
As such, Calle Libre is a chance to observe these masters of their art at work as they create their large-scale murals and urban delights.
Over the course of the festival, city walls in various Viennese districts get a little brighter, a little more colourful, and a little more inspiring.
Call it curated street art of a higher order. There’s the artistic value, but also the dialogue that inevitably ensues when you stick contemporary art (particularly a form which sometimes comes with contentious associations) in a public, urban space.
Incidentally, the organisers behind Calle Libre ride at the vanguard of Vienna’s street art movement, and account for many of the glorious examples of urban art you’ll spot once you drift away from the city’s palaces and churches.
The second part of Calle Libre is the supporting programme at different locations: typically talks and tours, workshops, artist meets, opening and closing parties, and more.
Check the official website for full event details.
I don’t have specific Calle Libre dates yet, but the event usually runs in early August (from the 2nd to the 7th last time out).
A related exhibition in cooperation with the Weltmuseum Wien continues in 2021 from August 8th to January 11th, 2022: Re:Present (the theme of both the exhibition and the latest Calle Libre) seeks to correct the false narrative of imperialist history and return agency to the victims of imperialism.