In a spirit similar to that of the Lincoln Center in New York, the Berlin Museum Island, or the Washington Mall, one of the ten largest cultural complexes in the world is being created in the heart of Vienna. The area selected for this project - which comprises the old and new Hofburg wings, the Heldenplatz, the two court museums and the court stables - enjoys a unique significance as a symbol of Austrian identity.
Within this complex, more than twenty large, meium-sized and small cultural institutions are gathered under the collective identity of the MuseumsQuartier. The range of topics within this living, contemporary center for art and culture, spans art of the 19th and 20th centuries to initiatives that serve as indicators of future trends. And, by providing an environment that transcends both historic and modern architecture, the organizers promise the opportunity for a truly unprecedented cultural experience.
These new facilities at MuseumsQuartier and their accompanying restaurants, cafés and shops, create a lively cultural emporium from which important accents will hopefully emanate for the cultural development of the country. It is further anticipated that MuseumsQuartier will become an important focal point in the cultural landscape of Europe.
Major Facilities at MuseumsQuartier
The 'KUNSTHALLE (Art Hall Vienna) is the Municipality of Vienna's own exhibition organization for international contemporary and modern art. It accords special significance to the presentation of trans-genre and interdisciplinary trends in the sphere of the arts, in the fields of photography, video, film and 'experimental'
Leopold Museum - Rudolf Leopold founded the Leopold Museum Private Foundation in August, 1994, together with the Republic of Austria and the Austrian National Bank. Since that time, the foundation has organized numerous exhibitions at home and abroad, with objects from the collection, which is the largest collection of 19th and early 20th century Austrian art.
The MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art Foundation Ludwig Vienna) houses one of the largest European collections of modern and contemporary art. The collection is mainly comprised of works from Classical Modernity, Art from the Sixties and Seventies from the Ludwig Collection, Fluxus Objects pertaining to the Hahn Collection, Viennese Actionism, Minimal Art and Conceptual Art, Installation and Object Art from the very recent past, as well as Contemporary Media Art.
Halls E+G - Vienna Festival
Beginning this year (2001), Halls E and G (the former Winter Riding School) will once again be the central venue for the annual Vienna Festival. Events include; international and extraordinary productions in the fields of music, theater, and dance. Halls E and G will also be made available for future artistic productions and performances.
Tanzquartier Wien is Vienna's center for modern dance and performance. It encompasses three studios for professional training and tryouts, and an information center that is open to the public. It offers ongoing events in Halls E and G.
Both the Kunsthalle and the Hall of Events of the City of Vienna assume a central position in the layout of the MuseumsQuartier. Through their integration with the existing Winter Riding School, they form a centrepiece that structurally links the Leopold Museum to the Museum of Modern Art.
The ornately decorated riding school, which was designed for formal presentation in the traditional sense, contrasts with the comparatively austere functionalism of the adjacent Kunsthalle of the City of Vienna. The Kunsthalle is an independent structure that is, however, placed very closely to the longitudinal front of the Riding School and whose brick roof overlaps the ridge of the latter.
The Leopold Museum and the Museum of Modern Art Foundation Ludwig, both of which can be approached over two large flights of steps, are attached to either end of the Winter Riding School. This ensemble forms the architectural centre of the MuseumsQuartier. The restrained forms of both museums underline their functional character within the entire complex.
In the case of both buildings, the massive natural stone façades (which also covers their roof areas) are intended to impart an impression of permanence based on simplicity of forms, on the one hand, and the quality of the materials used and their treatment, on the other.
MuseumsQuartier and its Environs
Visitors will find it interesting to know that the majority of Vienna's cultural facilities exist within the areas surrounding the MuseumsQuartier. Essentially, this marvelous new facility is conveniently situated in the midst of three areas rich in culture.
Karlsplatz and its surrounding area, offers some 7,000 square meters of exhibition space for contemporary art. Area exhibition venues include: Secession, Kunstlerhaus, Akademiehof, Generali Foundation, Semperdepot, Museum auf Abruf, Projektraum, Akademie fur Bildende Kunste, Historisches Museum der Stadt Vienna. This area also offers fine theatrical or musical entertainment at Akademietheater, Musikverein, Konzerthaus, Radiokulturhaus, dietheater Wien (Vienna) and Theater an der Wien. Local galleries include Schleifmuhl Quarter and Palais Eschenbach.
A museum district exists between Michaelplatz and Lastenstrasse. Here one will find the concentration of the Austrian Republic's art and natural history collections. These include; the Globe Museum, Royal Hunting and Arms Museum, Art History Museum, Austrian National Library, Imperial Treasury, Natural History Museum, Ancient Musical Instrument Collection and Ethnological Museum.
In Spittelberg, the area west of MuseumsQuartier, there has been a recent trend of galleries moving into the area. The Spittelberg district is well-known for the interesting variety of restaurants and cafes located there.
General Information Concerning MuseumsQuartier
Schedule of Openings
Official opening June 28-30 2001 Official Opening of the MQ Area
Halls E + G (performance venues for the Vienna Festival (May 11 - June 18, 2001)
Kunsthalle Wien June 11, 2001
Second Series of Openings
Museum of Modern Art, Ludwig Foundation Vienna - September 15, 2001
Leopold Museum, September 21, 2001
Tanzquartier Wien, October 4, 2001
Third Series of Openings/2002
Theaterhaus for children
Completion of renovation of Fischer-von-Erlach Wing (Quartier21
Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Admission: (currently and subject to change) ATS 50
Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday to Monday 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Admission: (currently and subject to change) ATS 70
Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation, Vienna
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Admission: (currently and subject to change) ATS 90
Tanzquartier Vienna (Dance Quarter)
Studios; Daily from 10:00 A.M. TO 10:00 p.m.
Hall G (Hall E) Program events start at 8:00 p.m.
Six to eight different eating and drinking establishments: restaurants, cafes, bars, outdoor gardens (some of the cafes are open until 4:00 a.m.)
Special Tours for groups (15 persons or more)
Special tours in German or English, 600 ATS per hour
Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
located at the Oval Hall , Main Entrance, MuseumsQuartier
Information on MuseumsQuartier is available at http://www.mqw.at
Some of the Other Organizations at MuseumsQuartier
AICA International Association of art critics / Austria
The Architektur Zentrum Wien - a centre for Architecture.
BirdLife - Austrian Ornithological Society
Depot - Art and Discussion
IKW - Course for Curators
Institute for Environmental Sciences
The Karst and Speleological Department of the Natural History Museum
Austrian Association for the Protection of Nature
Association of Austrian Modern Art Galleries
'springerin' a magazine devoted to history, theory and criticism of contemporary art.
We are grateful to the Austrian National Tourist Office and the Press Office at MuseumQuartier for furnishing this article.