Notes from Vienna – My time as Artist-in-Residence @eSeLat @mqwien0
As many know, I was asked to be Artists-in-residence at MuseumQuartiers thanks to the invite from eSel. While I had to do a few conferences in Budapest, Spain, etc, I managed to have a very good time learning, explore and meeting people in Vienna.
ESEL – do tremendous work promoting culture not just in MuseumQuartiers where they are based but for Vienna. If you’re not following them already – do it now!
I talked to many directors, PR/Marketing and social media museum people to try to encourage them to try to get a dialog going once a month (like DrinksThing). The importance of meeting at a café and pub was stressed but they’ll have to determine what works best for them.
The other concept was for them to get on social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to allow the international tourist a platform to be able to share (many only have Facebook).
These are a snippet of notes made along the way:
Az W Architekturzentrum Wien – a fantastic resource at Museum Quartiers. I didn’t know if I was going to like it but during my time there it really helped me appreciate not just the architecture but the people and thoughts behind the city landscape.
Palace of Justice – is a wonderful place to visit. You have to go through airport security but once threw you’re met with the most wonderful architecture. The reason it is more impressive is because the building itself was burnt down during a riot and fully restored but you’d never now unless you go to the library and see the small but informative exhibition that includes some of the surviving books from the riot. You can also go to the café and get the most magnificent views!
Judisches Museum Wien – had a thought-poking tour around the collection. It’s a ‘new’ museum having re-opened after closing for renovations. As with all Jewish museums, I always leave feeling – not mad, maybe frustrated – at what they had to go through. One inspiring takeaway was their Visible Storage on the top floor – yes, people are encouraged to see their storage!
Street Art by river – love the street art by the river. There is a section that every summer is open for a street art/music festival where artist around the world come and ‘make over’ the riverbanks. You can feel the vibe walking the banks!
MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts – We went for their late night (they are free after 6pm on a Thursday and opened until 9pm). This museum – it’s a bit quirky, bit forward thinking and a bit traditional rolled in one. They even have an area for fab lab discussions! Love it!
Kunst Haus Wien – one of those place everyone told me to go and see and I could see why! What a colourful, hippie building with an amazing collection. The building is one that brings that outside in and allows the inside to be out. The collection is a permanent place for Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Austrian Theatre Museum – some may or may not know about the National Puppetry Archive run by my husband. We house several thousand puppets so to be able to see Austrian Theatre Museum’s puppet and theatre collection was magical. Additional I had a guided tour!
Belvedere – The best signage I’ve ever seen. In the room with portraits done by the same painter that used first person ‘I was XXX cousin and he painted this when’
Sigmund Freud Museum – learned so much speaking to the directors. The stories go way past Dr Freud’s work. The house is where he lived, worked and did his research. The amount of visitors they get per year is not surprising.
Arbeiterheim (Red Vienna) – I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure what this was about other than it was social housing. I wrongly assumed people were forced to live in the flats but it turns out it was a good thing as those who got to live there had nothing before. They created their own communities – even had marching bands, dart teams and more. They still exist today in Vienna.
NhM Naturhistorisches Museum Wien – oh wow! The cabinets and the rooms didn’t have much signage but the displays were set up in such a way where storytelling was left to the imagination. It’s a grand building with a grand collection. They have many modern things such as ‘Blind Date’ areas for touching and a top 100 items trail.
Josephinum – a fascinating medical museum that amazing hasn’t changed since it opened. Although it is a university museum, since day one it’s been open to the public also. Most stunning wax models I’ve ever seen.
Imperial Treasury Vienna (Royal Crown Jewel museum) – reminded me of the Tower of London with its incredible collection of jewels, fabrics, and more. Interestingly, again although this was the royal (queen/kings collection) they opened it up for the public to see instead of keeping it hidden. Speaks volumes about Vienna’s ethos!
Kunst Historisches Museum Wien – I visited twice and never got bored. A traditional art museum with many big names on the walls hung is a way I love. Again the building itself was a piece of art – they even have binoculars at the top of the steps so you can look at the art on the ceiling (it’s part of KHM Family and in the same plot of land). I found many new artists that I never knew about.
Leopold Museum – is brilliant on social media and as a collection! The signage is fabulous and uses a timeline in some of their permanent collections which is just the right amount of information and story telling.
Kunstlerhaus – a contemporary art space that has opened its door to refugees in an inspiring way. They allow refugees to use a creative space – not for art but those who want to perform! They also have child friendly craft events for local and refugees. We had a special moment when an artist was there and asked us to be part of her work (we had to cut a piece of our hair and have our photo taken).
Wein Museum – Vienna city museum is filled with items from the city over 3 floors. Another interesting look at the growth of the city, collection and art pieces.
Abertina Museum – I visited Albertina twice and found even more things to love. I was thankful to Isabella for helping with a Periscope (she has tremendous knowledge!). The collection is traditional but they have such a variety you can always find something to sink your teeth into!
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary – when we arrived we were asked to take off our shoes and leave our bag at the door. While we did as asked, there was that thing in the back of our head asking if we heard right. Turns out the exhibition is multi-sensory: the soft padding on your feet added to the senses of touch/smell/seeing etc.
A huge thank you to:
- Lorenz Seidler for inviting me to Vienna to be artists-in-residence.
- Isabella (@arthostess) for the personal tours, information and friendship.
- Mark Macleod and Jennie Carvill for making the time more enjoyable!