Vienna’s own city museum runs various institutions that feature temporary exhibitions, not least the Wien Museum MUSA and the Wien Museum main site itself.
The summaries below link to more detailed articles here at Visiting Vienna on the selected art, culture, and history exhibitions I’ve written about.
Wien Museum site
(The museum put the construction fence to good use before the building site cleared at the end of 2023)
The reopened Wien Museum on Karlsplatz starts its renewed exhibition schedule in 2024; during the construction work, they used the fencing as a canvas to present contemporary art and photography exhibitions:
- Urban Cultures (2022): the successor to Urban Natures featured street artists tackling the interface between people in the sense of public spaces, where people from different cultures or with different purposes encounter each other
- From on High (2022): continuing the theme of post-WWII architecture, this exhibition featured oblique aerial photos of project sites for significant public construction or landscaping works (like Karlsplatz square or the Südbahnhof railway station).
- Mid-Century Vienna (2021/2022): the period immediately after WWII presented many architectural and design challenges, both economic and cultural. The exhibition shone a light on buildings in Vienna from an era that rarely enjoys a moment in the sun.
- Urban Natures (2021): four street artists created original artwork for the fence on the topic of the interface between nature and the urban environment.
- Almost / Viennese World Tours (2021): a dual exhibition where one part presented photographs from the World Exhibition held in Vienna in 1873. The other part showcased the work of Wojciech Czaja, who used 2020 to take photos of parts of Vienna that look like they might come from another country. An exhibition that allowed us to travel without leaving the city.
- FACE IT! (2020/2021): the first “pandemic exhibition” featured Elodie Grethen’s photo portraits of mask-wearing individuals alongside interviews with the same subjects. The people came from various parts of the city and society, but were mostly those in occupations most directly impacted by COVID restrictions.
Wien Museum MUSA site
(The museum location close to the Rathaus)
After taking on some of the wider exhibition remit of the main building until its reopening, the Wien Museum MUSA has now returned to its principle purpose: art with a Viennese connection.
- Big City / Small Format (2023): a journey through the history of the postcard in Vienna. Though not quite what you might think; postcards played (and play) various roles, such as documenters of the cityscape and social change, art medium, marketing channel, and more. All of which found space in the exhibition.
- Studio Bauhaus (2022/2023): the exhibition looked at the iconoclastic work of the Bauhaus-trained Friedl Dicker and Franz Singer. The pair set up a design studio in Vienna in the interwar period, but both fled the country when Austria veered toward fascism.
- Instantly! Street Photography in Vienna (2022): an intriguing look at “everyday” life in the city as seen through the camera lens. The photos covered a period from the late 1800s through to the modern day and captured both mundane (e.g. tram passengers) and poignant (e.g. a soup kitchen queue) images.
- Vienna Falls in Line (2021/2022): a wide-ranging exhibition that explored the politics of art during Nazi rule in Vienna, particularly the impact of institutions such as the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts. We discovered the differing fates of various artists as well as some of the art produced (or not) during that period.
- Felix Salten (2020/2021): the exhibition took a look back at the life and cultural impact of the author of Bambi and long-time Vienna resident. Apart from creating one of the world’s best-loved characters, Salten also played an influential role in the growth of the slightly more cerebral Wiener Moderne movement.
- Richard Neutra (2020): the California Living exhibition showcased Neutra’s architectural achievements, particularly his designs for homes in the Golden State. A biographical section also covered his journey from pre-WWI Vienna to the USA of the swinging sixties.