Consider the Art Box a bonus contemporary art treat in the giant chocolate box that is the MuseumsQuartier complex.
- Transparent outdoor container housing a series of art installations
- Main focus is on young Austrian or Austria-based artists
- Open 24/7/365 and free to view
- Current/next installation:
- Wachstumsfuge by Anna Schachinger (May 26th to August 27th, 2023)
- See also:
Art for all, 24/7
(The MQ Art Box installation LUMEN by Johannes Rass; photo by Fabian Gasperl; © Bildrecht, Wien 2020)
The days when art was only ever enjoyed in hushed silence in tall-ceilinged galleries while clutching an expensive entrance ticket are long gone.
The MuseumsQuartier, for example, might be described as a holistic art experience, where fresh ideas seems to wander casually through the courtyards, cocktail in one hand…brush, pen, knife and chisel clutched in the other.
The MQ certainly has institutions aplenty, but also provides open-air experiences for those just enjoying the atmosphere or seeking an alternative to the old masters and priceless historical artefacts in the nearby Kunsthistorisches Museum.
One such experience is the MQ Art Box, a transparent container outdoors in the main courtyard. The location provides a home for a series of contemporary art installations.
The Art Box primarily focuses on works by young Austrian artists, with the occasional established star thrown into the mix.
For example, the great Daniel Spoerri contributed an installation for the 2015/2016 holiday season. And Jakob Gasteiger’s sculptural talent appeared within some four years later.
The installations so presented might use light, sound, colour, shape and/or movement to catch the eye of the observer, often integrating with a theme prevalent elsewhere in the complex.
On one visit you might spot a moving sculpture made of strands of latex, on another view an allegory for our collective obsession with the pendulum of weight gain and loss.
Current & future Art Box installations
Anna Schachinger’s Wachstumsfuge presents a frieze-like and colourful mix of animal and human forms whose extremities touch, suggesting a level playing field in terms of contact and communication. A painting of an abstract human form also hangs inside the box (May 26th to August 27th, 2023).
Most recent Art Box installations
- Lea Fröhlinger & Cosma Kremser’s ENZA suggested you might be viewing a floating sculptural version of the famous MQ summer furniture, but all was hidden.
- Alfredo Barsuglia’s The last human habitat featured a small house built by recycling materials from elsewhere. Like many Art Box installations, the interpretation depended on your perspective. Historical exhibit? Prognosis? A musing on transience? The possibilities were endless.
- Marina Sula’s You May Never Know What’s Causing All the Traffic was an installation by the Vienna-based Albanian-Italian artist. Sula typically combines objects and imagery from commercial and industrial settings with those from more intimate and original contexts…with all the implications, tensions and ambiguities that arise from such a juxtaposition
- Sarah Bogner’s Parade had two large (new) paintings by this Munich-born artist, featuring her slightly playful, slightly abstract horses and other anthropomorphic imaginings
- Maureen Kägi’s Listening Towards the Sun presented works on canvas that drew on the characteristics of a folding screen. The presentation interacted with the Art Box itself, alluding to different types of glassed display areas and playing with our perception.
- Oliver Ressler’s The Desert Lives concerned the former protest camp at Hausfeldstraße subway station (part of a campaign against construction of a new urban motorway). Ressler’s photo installation showed how the “barren” environment around the station might look if its design better reflected the ethos of climate activists.
- Philipp Timischl’s An abstract and a site-specific painting walk outside a museum featured two paintings converted into multimedia installations. Screens displayed a never-ending dialogue between the two works with no clear conversational payoff.
- Eva Petrič’s Can You Swim? installation combined recycled lace in implied organic structures that give visual representation to the similarities and interconnection between, for example, humans and bacteria.
- The group installation with the title Im Vestibülchen (English: in the little vestibule) used transparency to explore the gaps between public and private, reflecting the semi-public space that is a foyer.
- Céline Struger’s GOOD BYE HORSES installation explored our ability to take a small amount of information, then extrapolate and imagine our way from that to the invention of whole worlds.
Tickets & visitor tips
Tickets? We don’t need no tickets. The MQ courtyards open 24/7 every day of the year and require no ticket to walk through.
Vienna has a rich selection of contemporary art for visitors to enjoy, either in exhibitions or adding flair to public spaces. But just walk across the courtyard and see what the current MUMOK and Kunsthalle exhibitions have to offer.
Equally, explore the MuseumsQuartier on foot to find further surprises, such as the Libelle viewing platform and art installation or the passageways between courtyards (the so-called micro museums) that feature art in various forms: street art, audio, literature, and more.
How to get to the Art Box
Find your way to the MuseumsQuartier. The Art Box sits on the southern side of the main courtyard, sandwiched between the Leopold Museum and the Quartier21 exhibition tract.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna