It’s all about contemporary art at the Kunsthalle Wien. Prepare to dip your toes into exhibitions which tackle and reflect the social issues and developments of the times we live in.
- Contemporary art organisation that holds regular exhibitions at two venues
- Free entry to the smaller Karlsplatz venue (at the time of writing)
- Adults require a ticket for the larger MuseumsQuartier venue
- Check out its neighbours, too, for more contemporary art
- See also:
Advocate and art venue
The Kunsthalle Wien acts as an advocate for contemporary art in Vienna through various activities. These include a constant stream of temporary exhibitions at the two Kunsthalle locations (see below).
Unlike most of Vienna’s art museums, there is no permanent display. So don’t think of the Kunsthalle as a museum. Consider it more of a forum, a venue, an instigator of dialogue, an interface between a city and local (and international) artists.
The exhibitions themselves often feature an eclectic mix of styles and forms that act as a counterpoint to the rigid formality of Vienna’s historical surrounds.
The main Kunsthalle exhibition venue occupies a large building sandwiched between the Leopold and MUMOK museums at the heart of the MuseumsQuartier (MQ).
Inside you’ll find a cavernous and tall exhibition space but not of the clinical, polished variety.
The second exhibition venue is the Kunsthalle on Karlsplatz: a single exhibition room with three sides made entirely of glass and offering views across to the Secession. The interior wall separates the exhibition venue from the Heuer am Karlsplatz restaurant and bar.
The Karlsplatz venue is bright and airy, whereas the MQ site feels much grittier.
(The Karlsplatz location)
Tickets & visitor tips
I’ve listed current and future Kunsthalle exhibitions in the contemporary art section of the main Vienna exhibitions page.
The smaller Karlsplatz venue was free to enter at the time of writing, but adults need a ticket for the MuseumsQuartier site.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
A Vienna Pass (my review) entitles you to one-time free entry.
I last visited at the tail end of the restrictions round the Coronavirus, so there was no shop or café in operation, though I at least spotted where the latter should be. Coin-operated lockers were available.
(The wider MQ complex also has numerous cafés and restaurants within a wave of a paintbrush of the Kunsthalle building.)
The Karlsplatz site has a coat rack and lockers. Should you wish a coffee or something to eat, then don’t forget the Heuer restaurant literally the other side of the wall.
The Kunsthalle remains a bastion of contemporary art in Vienna, but not the only one.
In particular, pop next door to the MuseumsQuartier site to find Vienna’s modern art museum (MUMOK). And the neighbour on the other side (the Leopold Museum) often has contemporary art exhibitions, too. Not to mention the MuseumsQuartier itself, which is full of open-air art installations and similar, like the MQ Art Box.
For other venues and locations covering current genres of artistic expression, try these suggestions.
How to get to the Kunsthalle
For the main location, find your way to the MuseumsQuartier, first.
As you come out into the courtyard from the main MQ entrance, look across diagonally to the right. You’ll see a set of stairs leading up to the dark grey MUMOK building. Beneath those stairs is a relatively innocent-looking glass doorway – that’s the entrance to the Kunsthalle.
The Karlsplatz location might be the easiest museum to reach on public transport in the entire city. The exhibition hall sits on top of Karlsplatz station (U1, U2 and U4 subways). Look for the Wiedner Hauptstraße exit, which is next to the Ressel Park exit on the main underground concourse.
Reach the exhibition hall from the restaurant side by going through the doors beneath the …ALLE W… bit of the Kunsthalle Wien lettering atop the pavilion.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna (MQ location) & Treitlstraße 2, 1040 Vienna (Karlsplatz location) | Website