The Museum Quarter is one of Vienna’s most ambitious projects in recent years. It is now considered one of the top ten largest cultural quarters in the world and opened in 2001 as a result of a merger of two major collections – Leopold and Elizabeth. Centered on what was formerly the Imperial Stables from the Maria-Theresien Platz, it now holds a number of Vienna’s most outstanding museums. Here are a couple of highlights:
• The Leopold Museum: This museum houses a wide collection of Austrian art that dates back from 1880 up until World War II. The collection includes around 600 oil paintings, and over 3,000 water paintings, along with various prints and drawings. Other rare highlights are the Japanese woodcarvings, medieval sculptures, an impressive porcelain collection and a good number of African objects. There are over 5,000 items in total and artists include the famous Austrian painters Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, Richard Gerstl and Gustav Klimt.
• Museum of Modern Arts (MUMOK): The acronym MUMOK comes from the museum’s full name in German “MUseum MOderner Kunst”. Both buildings – the Leopold Museum and the MUMOK – are represented as huge cubes, one white and the other black. They contain works of the same art style and were founded the same year. Visiting the museum you will become familiar with not only the work of world-known painters, but also a number of contemporary exhibitions. MUMOK includes over 7,000 pieces of work by famous painters such as Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Roy Lichtenstein, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell and Gerhard Richter. General expositions include paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, graphics, photographs, videos, films, architectural models and furniture. Choose what you like!
• Kunsthalle Wien: Kunsthalle Wien is home to a great number of temporary, contemporary art exhibitions both national and international. Originating as a controversial and makeshift structure shaped like a yellow container, it was eventually moved in 2001 to its new headquarters designed by Ortner and Ortner. Although it boasts a hearty collection of contemporary art, it was also developed and became known for its innovative communication format. Their goal is to attach importance to culture in the presentation of art, encouraging discussion about current issues and future developments in both art and everyday life. This will give you a chance to round out your museum experience by becoming immersed in a discussion!
The best part about the Museum Quarter is that as you exit one museum, you can just to go straight into another one! By wandering through these galleries, that artistic bone of yours is bound to be satiated.