Another favourite location of mine: the Kunst Haus Wien holds regular exhibitions, typically including two or three major events a year covering contemporary (green) themes.
These articles cover the headline exhibitions I’ve talked about here at Visiting Vienna, just to give you an idea of the general (high) quality you can expect.
(The Kunst Haus Wien: also home to the Hundertwasser Museum)
Mining Photography (2023)
Given the topic of photography and environmental and socioeconomic impacts, you might imagine a collection of shots of deforestation or queues outside unemployment offices. But Mining Photography was about photography and its impacts: a change of perspective.
So we learnt about the medium’s role in consumption of energy and other resources through time, along with such associated issues as worker conditions in mines. Contemporary art positions complemented the documentary displays.
Unseen Places (2022/2023)
A fascinating selection of photos by Gregor Sailer, who specialises in shots of those architectural locations the public rarely gets to see: the inaccessible, inhospitable, or rare.
The spectrum ranged from off-limit industrial complexes to arctic installations and Potemkin villages. Quite apart from the aesthetics, the photos encouraged you to ponder the associated socioeconomics, politics and environmental issues.
When the Wind Blows (2022)
Two dozen local and international artists offered their photographic and video perspectives on the meteorological phenomenon that is wind.
The works in the When the Wind Blows exhibition ranged from abstract studio pieces to photos documenting wind’s role in environmental change.
Susan Meiselas (2021-2022)
An exhibition dedicated to one of the great documentary photographers. The Susan Meiselas retrospective focused on particular photo series from five decades of work.
A notable highlight was the area dedicated to her Nicaraguan photojournalism, including the background story on THAT shot of a Sandinista revolutionary throwing a Molotov cocktail: the photo made it into Time’s Top 100 most influential images of all time.
(As an aside, Susan Meiselas herself took us around and her empathy and humanity left a big impression on me.)
Elfie Semotan (2021)
A rare example of an Austrian photographer achieving huge international acclaim. Elfie Semotan straddles the commercial and artistic world, though this retrospective focused on her work in the latter environment.
The Semotan exhibition featured around 160 photos split into themes and included, for example, her landscapes and portraits.
After us, the Flood (2020-2021)
An exhibition that gains in poignancy with each passing newspaper headline. The photographs in After us, the Flood illustrated and documented the growing environmental crisis, and reminded us of the pressing urgency for remedial action.
Numerous Austrian and international photographers contributed works that cut through the complexities of modern economic and environmental systems to present stark images: some desolate and dystopian, others showing beauty in despair. All offering a warning that those in charge will no doubt continue to ignore.
Alec Soth (2020)
A retrospective for a legendary photographer. The Alec Soth exhibition included several of his famous series produced during travels through the US and its communities.
We also got to see more recent work, such as the I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating series, which offered a more eclectic mix than some of the older themed photographic journeys.
Street. Life. Photography (2019-2020)
Ah, the never-ending bucket of delights that is street photography.
Rather than take a commonplace chronological approach, though, the Street. Life. Photography exhibition placed works from a range of photographers, locations and times into five themed areas.
So we enjoyed classic motifs from the likes of Robert Frank and Diane Arbus alongside a new generation of street photographers. This allowed us to trace changes in techniques, as well as simply enjoy the variety of perspectives and creativity possible in this genre.