Top Contemporary Art Exhibitions in Vienna in 2016

Oswald Oberhuber, Torso, 1937 © Belvedere, Wien
Oswald Oberhuber, Torso, 1937 © Belvedere, Wien

Contemporary and modern art exhibitions in Vienna offer visitors to the Austrian capital alternative gallery and museum options to Baroque and Art Nouveau. Vienna is home to some famous art collections, which will be enhanced during 2016 and 2017 by more temporary exhibitions of modern contemporary art (Zeitgenössische Ausstellungen) by both Austrian and international artists.

The Vienna Tourist Information Office identified the following, as the most important temporary contemporary art exhibitions in Vienna in 2016 and early 2017:

Oswald Oberhuber – Eine Werkschau (Oeuvre)

Oswald Oberhubder, Kunst ohne Künstler, 1969/2011 © Belvedere, Wien
© Belvedere, Wien

Oswald Oberhuber – Eine Werkschau shows the oeuvre of one of the most important Austrian contemporary artist. This exhibition includes 200 works from all his most important work periods from the 1940s to the present.

Oswald Oberhuber considered his occupations as: baker, waiter, undertaker, college student, house painter, journalist, professor, farmer, artist, art dealer, sculptor, editor, poet, actor, hangman, carpenter, and singer. Since 1958, his works followed the principles of his theory of “Permanent Change in Art” („Permanenten Veränderung“).

Oswald Oberhuber – Eine Werkschau is on show from 9 March to 26 June 2016 at the 21er Haus, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Wien,

Anselm Kiefer. Die Holzschnitte

Anselm Kiefer Der Rhein, 1993
©Photo Wien, 2015

The Albertina in Vienna shows more than 30 monumental works of Anselm Kiefer, one of the most-famous woodcarving artists of the modern era. The works on show include important picture cycles and theme groups that demonstrate Kiefer’s intense preoccupation with German cultural history and mythology.

Anselm Kiefer. Die Holzschnitte (The Wood Cuts) is on show from 18 March to 19 June at the Albertina, Albertinaplatz 1, 1010, Wien,

Berlinde De Bruyckere – Solo Exhibition

Berlinde De Bruyckere, Aanéén-genaaid, 2000 © Berlinde De Bruyckere, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
© Berlinde De Bruyckere, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

The Leopold will have a solo exhibition of the sculptures of the Belgian artist Berlinde de Bruyckere (born 1964). Her sculptures show the human body with its raw beauty and vulnerability. De Bruyckere’s timeless sculptures link the existential questions of life and death, pain and suffering while anchoring human existence firmly in the flesh.

Berlinde De Bruyckere – Solo Exhibition is on show from 8 April to 4 July in the Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien,

Martin Parr. Retrospektive (Retrospective)

Martin Parr, Switzerland. St Moritz polo world cup on snow © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos
© Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

The Kunsthaus Wien will have a retrospective of the works of British documentary photographer Martin Parr (born 1954). Daily life and the absurd are seldom far apart in his works. With his dry sense of humor and a direct view of the world Parr is one of the most important contemporary photographic chroniclers.

Martin Parr. Retrospektive is on show from 3 June to 2 November 2016 at the Kunst Haus Wien, Untere Weißgerberstraße 13, 1030 Wien,

Maria Lassnig. Die Zukunft wird mit Fragmenten der Vergangenheit Erfunden

Maria Lassnig, Wörtherseenymphen, 2011 © Maria Lassnig Siftung
© Maria Lassnig Siftung

Maria Lassning – The Future is Invented with Fragments from the Past is a solo artist exhibition focusing on Lassning’s work on classical ancient mythology. Many of the around 100 works will be shown for the first time in public and include paintings, sketches, sculptures and experimental films.

Maria Lassnig. Die Zukunft wird mit Fragmenten der Vergangenheit erfunden I son show from 10 June to 26 October 2016 at the 21er Haus, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Wien,

Jim Dine – Selbstportraits (Self-Portraits)

Jim Dine, Red Bib, 1989
Albertina, Wien © Jim Dine

The Albertina will exhibit around 100 self-portraits by the American Pop Artist Jim Dine. These works, from the large collection Dine donated to the Albertina, show the paintings the artists started from the 1950s onwards. The self-critical paintings do not only deal with aging but also show a variety of techniques and materials.

Jim Dine – Selbstportraits is on show from 24 June to 9 October 2016 at the Albertina, Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Wien,

Ai Weiwei. transformation – translocation

Ai Weiwei. Transformation – translocation © Belvedere, Wien
© Belvedere, Wien

The Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei (born 1957) will have several works on display in Vienna in 2016. Most prominent will be the Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads that he will install by the large water basin on the south side of the Belvedere (home of Klimt’s The Kiss), as a prelude to the exhibition at the 21er Haus. At the center of the main exhibition will be the Ming Dynasty hall that Ai Weiwei saved from destruction to repurpose as a cultural forum in a similar way the temporary 1958 Brussels World Expo pavilion was saved from destruction to become the 21er Haus modern art museum. Smaller works will emphasis the artist’s maxim “Everything is art – everything is politics”.

Ai Weiwei. transformation – translocation is on display from 14 July to 20 November 2016 at the 21er Haus, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Wien,

Martin Kippenberger, T.ü. (Titel überflüssig)

Martin Kippenberger: Ohne Titel, 1992 © Estate Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
© Estate Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne

The Kunstforum Wien will show Martin Kippenberger, T.S. (Title Superfluous) as a solo exhibition focusing on especially the language of one of Germany’s most-famous and most-controversial twentieth century artists. A second focus will be his “Vor- und Nachbilder” (Models and Post-Models) of art history. Famous as an enfant terrible and self-promoter – long before the internet and selfies made it mainstream – Kippenberg was a prolific and multitalented artist whose work covers painting, drawing and graphics, sculpture, photography, posters, installations, performance, artist’s books and writing.

Martin Kippenberger, T.ü. (Titel überflüssig) is on show from 8 September to 20 November 2016 at the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien, Freyung 8, 1010 Wien,

Edmund de Waal – During the Night

Edmund de Waal © Steven Joyce
Edmund de Waal © Steven Joyce

The Edmund de Waal – During the Night exhibition is part of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s Artist’s Choice exhibition series. De Waal will take Albrecht Dürer’s famous work “Traumgesicht” that illustrates a nightmare scenario as starting point. Further works from the museum’s extensive collection will be added to illustrate concepts such as fear, nightmares, uncertainty and decline.

Edmund de Waal – During the Night will he on show from 11 October 2016 to 29 January 2017 at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Wien,

Poetiken des Materials (The Poetics of the Material)

Ausstellungansicht “Misha Stroj”, Kerstin Egnhold Galerie, Wien, 2014 ©
© Courtesy Misha Stroj und Kerstin Engholm Galerie, Wien, Photo: Karl Kühn

The Leopold will present the works of six artists living in Vienna: Benjamin Hirte, Sonia Leimer, Christian Mayer, Mathias Pöschl, Anne Schneider und Misha Stroj. These works use different media and materials to present different representation of stories and history. These works are also seen as an answer to the blurring of lines between virtual and reality.

Poetiken des Materials is on show from 21 October 2016 to 20 January 2017 at the Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien,

Franz West & Co

Franz West, Extroversion, 2000-2011
© Franz West Privatstiftung, Photo: Stefan Altenburger

The exhibition of Austrian artist Franz West (1947-2012) focuses on works he produced in collaboration of other leading visual artists including Albert Oehlen, Douglas Gordon, Mike Kelley, Heimo Zobernig, Peter Kogler, and the artists group Gelatin. West favored the juxtaposition of various artistic viewpoints through collaboration and the combination of works from different periods to produce new interpretations.

Franz West & Co is on show from 7 December 2016 to 26 March 2017 at the 21er Haus, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Wien,

See Also: Vienna: Top Exhibitions in Art Museums and Galleries in 2016 for more major temporary art exhibition in Wien and Hieronymus Bosch 500 for commemorative exhibitions on this extraordinary artist.