In its second-ever exhibition, the new Albertina Modern invites us to admire one of the foundations of its modern and contemporary archive: the Essl collection.
- Over 100 works offer an overview of the full gamut of art put together over decades by the Essl family
- Features Austrian, European and international artists across a variety of media
- Includes a special adjunct photography exhibition
- Runs Dec 7, 2020 – Apr 25, 2021
- A simple museum ticket suffices to see the exhibition
- See also: Albertina Modern tickets & visitor info
A tapas of delights
(Alex Katz; Beach Stop, 2001; Öl auf Leinwand; ALBERTINA, Wien – The ESSL Collection; © Photo: Mischa Nawrata, Wien / Bildrecht, Wien, 2020)
Consider this exhibition a representative overview of the prestigious Essl Collection that now resides at the Albertina museum.
That collection came about through the efforts of Karlheinz Essl senior and his wife Agnes, who acquired modern and contemporary works from the 1970s onwards.
The entirety of the Essl collection was donated (or loaned long-term) to the Albertina in 2018 as an act of extraordinary generosity by the Essl family and collection co-owner Dr. Hans Peter Haselsteiner.
This transfer of cultural wealth, and the discussions that preceded it, also proved pivotal to the decision to open the Albertina Modern as a separate site from the main Albertina museum and home for contemporary and modern art.
So what’s to see in the The Essl Collection exhibition?
Well, we have works by international artists like Bill Viola, Nam June Paik, David Salle, Fang Lijun, and Alex Katz (creator of one of my favourite paintings: Black Hat).
And the efforts of European artists like Annette Messager, Antoni Tàpies, Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorf, Daniel Richter, Albert Oehlen, the collaborative duo Gilbert & George, Tal R, and Marc Quinn.
And art from “local” Austrian creators, such as the Gelitin foursome, Maria Lassnig (a regular at the Albertina), or Johanna Kandl (subject of a recent exhibition at Lower Belvedere).
In summary, a magnificent pick and mix from across the decades, regions, artists and media covered by this storied accumulation of art. Or a taster of the future, since this vast collection will underpin and supplement many of the exhibitions likely to appear at the Albertina Modern over the coming years.
A special exhibition focusing on the photographs within the Essl collection runs concurrently, featuring the likes of Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin and Gregory Crewdson.
Dates and tickets
The exhibition begins with the lifting of lockdown restrictions on museum opening on December 7th. The Essl highlights remain on display through to April 25th, 2021, though the photograph exhibition ends earlier on April 5th.
Adult tickets for the Albertina Modern cost €12 at the time of writing. You might consider a combination ticket* with the main Albertina location, should you wish to enjoy the staterooms and (wonderful) art exhibitions over at the main site, too.
How to get to the Essl exhibition
The museum counts as one of the easiest to reach thanks to the adjacent transport hub of Karlsplatz. See the main Albertina Modern article for travel ideas.
Address: Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Vienna