Kunsthalle Vienna

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Front view of the Kunsthalle in the Museumsquartier (2002)

The Kunsthalle Wien is the City of Vienna's exhibition center for international contemporary art and discourse with the MuseumsQuartier and Karlsplatz locations . It exhibits different forms of international contemporary art and develops new formats for exhibiting and communicating for this purpose. The Kunsthalle Wien does not have its own collection, but instead, with its changing individual and themed exhibitions, is dedicated to the presentation of art and the reflection of art and culture.


The former building of the Kunsthalle Wien on Karlsplatz in August 1993, with advertising space for the exhibition "The Broken Mirror"

Originally designed by Adolf Krischanitz as a temporary building in the shape of a container for Karlsplatz , it was opened there in spring 1992 and was at the center of heated public discussions even before it opened. The "huge dispute" ( Kurier , March 21, 1992) about the windowless, initially simply blue and yellow container, which dominated the cityscape in a central location, was rated as a "culture war" with "populist verbal attacks" (Kurier, March 25, 1992) The Kronen Zeitung , for example, claimed that the new art gallery would bring “the people's soul to a boil”. There were political solidarity initiatives with the architect, but there were also criticisms from colleagues like Roland Rainer . "Cabaret-ready word duels" shaped a related meeting of the Vienna City Council (Kurier, March 28, 1992)

In May 2001 the Kunsthalle Wien moved into the new main building in the MuseumsQuartier , a new building in the former “Ovalen Hof”, including the former winter riding arena of the court stables . The two halls of the Museum Quarter together have an area of ​​1647 m². The provisional container on Karlsplatz, with its pedestrian passage now inoperable, was dismantled. It was replaced by a glazed exhibition space that served the Kunsthalle Wien as a project space until 2012 and has been an equivalent exhibition and event space since 2013.

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier

The glass cube at the Karlsplatz site (2015)

The first considerations for a museum quarter in the center of Vienna were made in the 1980s before a competition was announced, which the architects "Ortner & Ortner" ( Laurids Ortner and Manfred Ortner ) finally won in 1990. The new building of the main building of the Kunsthalle Wien took place behind the listed facade of the former winter riding arena in the center of the Museum Quarter - between the Leopold Museum and mumok . The historical structure was supplemented or connected to a brick building that houses two exhibition halls.

Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz

As the second location of the Kunsthalle Wien, the glass cube transports art to one of the neuralgic intersections of the city, Karlsplatz.

The daily newspaper Der Standard describes the cube as follows:

"An inexpensive architecture as a medium, a test tube for artistic interventions, an idea acceleration machine for a scene that will never really feel at home in marble halls and stucco halls."

Corporate Design

The figure of the eagle is used in a variety of ways to mark the Kunsthalle Wien. The renunciation of a fixation on a certain graphic form should be synonymous with its versatility.

In April 2013 the Kunsthalle Wien presented its new visual appearance. The concept, designed by the Belgian graphic designer and artist Boy Vereecken, combines two design elements associated with the city: the factual, geometric grid of the Wiener Werkstätte and the figure of the eagle as the heraldic animal of Vienna . The design dispenses with a fixed trademark and is synonymous with the versatility of the Kunsthalle Wien.


One focus of the Kunsthalle Wien is discourse. Special emphasis is placed on new communication formats and the supporting program. Talks, lectures, workshops and special tours accompanying the exhibitions are coordinated by a dramaturgical department. The “Dramaturgy” department is a novelty in an institution of contemporary art and networks the different exhibition formats and audience segments in a curatorial and mediating way.


Every year the Kunsthalle Wien organizes several thematic group exhibitions and individual shows, festivals, conferences and exhibits art in public spaces.

Exhibition area of ​​the Kunsthalle Wien with the exhibition I'm Isa Genzken, The Only Female Fool , in 2014
  • 1998: Nan Goldin - I'll Be Your Mirror
  • 1999: Andy Warhol . A factory
  • 2000: Shirin Neshat
  • 2002: Tele (Visions)
  • 2002: Yayoi Kusama
  • 2003: Ugo Rondinone
  • 2003: Anri Sala
  • 2003: Marcel Broodthaers
  • 2005/2006: Louise Bourgeois
  • 2006: Steven Cohen
  • 2006: Summer of Love
  • 2006/2007: Raymond Pettibon
  • 2007: Nathalie Djurberg
  • 2008: Matthew Barney - Drawing Restraint
  • 2008: Steve McQueen
  • 2008: Derek Jarman - Brutal Beauty
  • 2008/2009: Western Motel: Edward Hopper and Contemporary Art
  • 2009: The Porn Identity
  • 2009: Thomas Ruff
  • 2010: 1989. End of History or Beginning of the Future?
  • 2010: Keith Haring : 1978-1982
  • 2010: Street and Studio
  • 2010/2011: Power Up: Female Pop Art
  • 2011: Space. About a dream
  • 2011: Le Surrealisme, c'est moi - Homage to Salvador Dalí
  • 2012: The Circus as a Parallel Universe
  • 2012: Urs Fischer
  • 2012: The Art of William S. Burroughs : Cut – ups, Cut – ins, Cut – outs
  • 2012/2013: Daniel Knorr : Explosion (art in public space)
  • 2013: WWTBD - What Would Thomas Bernhard Do (Festival)
  • 2013/2014: Salon of Fear
  • 2014: Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys: The miracle of life
  • 2014: Pierre Bismuth : The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side - New Vindobona (art in public space)
  • 2014: Silke Otto-Knapp & Carl Fredrik Hill: Questions of Travel
  • 2014: Attention Economy
  • 2014: I'm Isa Genzken : The Only Female Fool
  • 2014: The Brancusi Effect
  • 2014: New Ways of Doing Nothing
  • 2014/2015: Kidnappers Foil
  • 2014/2015: * Tony Conrad : Two Degrees of Separation
  • 2015: Leander Schönweger: The Fog Disperses , Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2014
  • 2015: Blue Times
  • 2015: Ken Lum : Coming Soon (art in public space)
  • 2015: The Future of Memory. An Exhibition on the Infinity of the Present Time
  • 2015: Pierre Bismuth : The Curator, the Lawyer and the Psychoanalyst
  • 2015: Curatorial Ethics (Conference)
  • 2015: Destination Vienna
  • 2015: Individual Stories. Collecting as Portrait and Methodology
  • 2015: Function Follows Vision - Vision Follows Reality
  • 2015/2016: Political Populism
  • 2015/2016: Prize of the Kunsthalle
  • 2016: One, No One and One Hundred Thousand
  • 2016: The Promise of Total Automation
  • 2016: L'Exposition Imaginaire
  • 2016: Andrea Büttner : Beggars and iPhones
  • 2016: concrete
  • 2016: Ron Terada: See other Side of Sign - Concrete Language
  • 2016: Nathalie Du Pasquier: Big Objects not always silent
  • 2017: Marcel Odenbach : Proof of nothing
  • 2017: More than just words: (On the poetic)
  • 2017: How To Live Together
  • 2017/2018: Publishing as Toolbox for the 21st Century: 1989–2017
  • 2017/2018: Florian Hecker
  • 2019/2020: Time Is Thirsty , curator Luca Lo Pinto


  • Since 1992, over a million people have visited the exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Wien.
  • In 2002 the Italian art magazine ARTE named the Kunsthalle Wien one of the six best exhibition venues in Europe.
  • In March 2005, the courtyard facade of the art gallery with the flag installation Kanak Attack. The third Turkish siege imposed by the artist Feridun Zaimoğlu .


In May 2018 Nicolaus Schafhausen announced the early termination of his contract on March 31, 2019. His contract would have run until 2022.

  • 2019– Women's collective WHW (“What, How & for Whom”) from Zagreb consisting of Ivet Ćurlin, Sabina Sabolović and Nataša Ilić

Web links

Commons : Kunsthalle Wien  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kronenzeitung, June 12, 1992
  2. ^ Die Presse , March 25, 1992
  3. Der Standard , from January 26, 2002
  4. Nicolaus Schafhausen becomes head of the Kunsthalle, Der Standard, June 13, 2012
  5. orf.at: Schafhausen leaves the Kunsthalle . Article dated May 23, 2018, accessed May 23, 2018.
  6. orf.at: Three women run the Kunsthalle Wien . Article dated March 6, 2019, accessed March 6, 2019.

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 ′ 12 ″  N , 16 ° 21 ′ 33 ″  E