A stark basalt building stands almost alien-like in Vienna’s Museumsquartier. Inside…an ever-changing display of avant-garde art. Say hi to the “Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien”, better known as the MUMOK.
- Home to a prestigious international art collection
- Most content on display, though, is in the form of temporary exhibitions, so check what’s on before you go
- Selected exhibition(s)
- Standard adult tickets €13* or free with a Vienna Pass
- See also: Museumsquartier | Museums in Vienna | Contemporary art
A museum of modern art
A rather unusual building has eased itself into the list of Viennese architectural highlights. The MUMOK museum lives in a dark, almost windowless, block of basalt that has echoes of a military-industrial bunker.
Inside the MUMOK, though, it’s all airy and light, with tall, open galleries and spaced out displays (the staff, mind you, are still dressed in black).
The museum possesses its own extensive collection consisting of thousands of works of contemporary and avant-garde art. What you see at any one time largely depends on the current temporary exhibitions, since these make up the vast majority of the MUMOK’s displays.
As such, you probably want to check out what’s on during your visit before buying a ticket. You might catch works by Warhol, Picasso, or Lichtenstein. Or you might not. Though there’s always something interesting to see, whatever the exhibition focus.
For example, two major exhibitions on when I visited were:
- Vertigo (Op Art): a marvellous exhibition of (largely) abstract art that appealed to all the senses, exploring the world of human perception (and deception)
- Pattern and Decoration: an exhibition that featured the colourful works of such artists as Brad Davis, Frank Faulkner, Tina Girouard, Valerie Jaudon and others, quasi as a counterpoint to the primacy of functionality over ornamentation
Expect to find all forms of art within the MUMOK: paintings, textiles, video and light installations, sculptures, and all things in between.
Tickets & visitor tips
- All labels and display information were in both English and German, and the major exhibitions all had English-language brochures you could pick up for free
- The MUMOK foyer has a cloakroom and lockers (that need a €1 coin)
- The foyer also offers access to a small café, which you can use before you enter the museum itself
- Books fill the MUMOK shop, as do various design treats, such as a better class of fridge magnet or stag beetle bottle openers
- A rare window on the 4th floor offers lovely views across to the Hofburg, the Natural History and Art History museums, and even Stephansdom cathedral in the distance
- Pop across the courtyard to the Leopold Museum for even more views: a lift around the back of that building takes you up to the roof and the MQ Libelle viewing platform.
- Explore all the floors…sometimes exhibitions are split between levels
How to get to the MUMOK
See the directions and travel tips for the Museumsquartier. The MUMOK is impossible to miss. Just look for the imposing grey building to the right of the main courtyard as you enter the MQ through the main entrance.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna | Website