Magnificent Magnum and Austrian photo art

Two excellent photo exhibits are currently on display in Vienna.'Made by Nature' - picture copyright: Robert F. Hammerstiel

Westlicht, a gallery situated in Neubau district, offers “In Our Time”, an exhibition featuring some of the most important works of the back catalogue of Magnum, one of the world’s most prestigious photo agencies.

The agency was founded in 1947. Famous photographers like Erich Lessing, Inge Morath, Elliott Erwitt and Rene Burri have worked for Magnum over the years. Their images have been published by the world’s most prestigious magazines and newspapers.

An exhibition called “Fotos. Österreichische Fotografien von den 1930ern bis heute” opened at the city’s 21er Haus museum yesterday. It features images taken in Austria between the 1930s and today. Most of the snapshots show situations of daily life. However, rather artistic photographs are on display as well.



Graz got it!

Graz and Maribor have a lot in common. While the provincial capital of Styria is Austria’s second-largest city, the same applies to Maribor. The Slovenian city is situated just 70 kilometres from Graz, Europe’s Capital of Culture of 2003. Maribor was honoured in the same way last year.

Both cities have a lot to offer to theatregoers and fans of classic and contemporary art. However, Graz and Maribor struggle to step out of the shadows of Ljubljana and Vienna, the countries’ federal capital cities. Checking out the current programme of museums and theatres in Graz leaves few doubts that visiting the city for a few days to enjoy these attractions is a must.

“Der Ort der Bilder”, a special exhibition dedicated to the work of Maria Lassnig is even considered as one of the best exhibits of the whole country. The exhibition – which features dozens of Lassnig’s most important paintings – is currently on at the Neue Galerie Graz.
‘Selbstporträt mit Stab’ by Maria Lassnig – copyright: Maria Lassnig
Only recently, business magazine Format revealed that Lassnig’s creative output is fetching top prices internationally. Arnulf Rainer, Gottfried Helnwein and Erwin Wurm are some of Austria’s other top contemporary artists in this regard. Several Lassnig paintings now on display at the Neue Galerie Graz are presented to the public for the first time.

The gallery’s permanent exhibition – which was composed by Peter Peer – features paintings by romanticism artists and early modernist movements. The Zeughaus and Eggenberg Castle – which will reopen on 30 March – are other top attractions of the city.

The city’s stages are offering a varied programme as well. “Biedermann und die Brandstifter” (The Fire Raisers), a play based on the legendary text by Max Frisch, is currently performed at the Schauspielhaus Graz. Critics and audiences have acclaimed the production. “Gut gegen Nordwind” starring Steffi Krautz and Sebastian Reiß is also on at the theatre. Meanwhile, the city’s opera offers “Falstaff” by Giuseppe Verdi.

Colour up!

Ancient Greek and Roman Bunte Götter - www.khm.atsculptures on display in museums are usually white and grey due to the effects of time. However, many of them used to be painted in rich colours. Now an exhibit in Vienna puts them on display the way they might have looked like centuries ago.

“Bunte Götter. Die Farbigkeit antiker Skulptur” (Colourful Gods) is now on at the Museum of Art (Kunsthistorisches Museum, KHM). The exhibition – arguably one of the current cultural highlights of the city – is brilliantly composed and those visiting it may wonder why the museum has been doing so little to promote it.

The KHM cooperated with German institutions in organising “Bunte Götter” which was on display for the first time in a museum in Munich in 2003.

Meanwhile, paintings by Spanish painter Miquel Barcelo are on display at the Bank Austria (BA) Kunstforum, a gallery located not far from the Burgtheater Vienna. And “Der Ort der Bilder”, a special exhibition dedicated to the creative output by Maria Lassnig at the Neue Galerie Graz, has been praised as groundbreaking and overwhelming by critics.

Book look: Suleiman, Strauss and settlers

“Der große Türke. Süleyman der Prächtige” is the Der große Türke - www.parthasverlag.deGerman version of a book initially released in Dutch by Henk Boom. In it, the Dutch author portrays Suleiman I. He captures the power of the Ottoman Empire and its leader. Several pictures and graphics help readers understanding how life must have been at that time. Meanwhile, Parthas Berlin – which published “Der große Türke” – has released “Pedro Almodovar und der Kitsch espanol”, a new book by Carlos Polimeni about famed Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar as well as “Die Habsburger. Eine europäische Dynastie” by Elvira Marinelli.

Der große Türke. Süleyman der Prächtige
By Henk Boom
Published by Parthas Berlin (

Hanne Egghardt has written about the Habsburg family, Austria’s most beautiful castles and a broad spectrum of other topics. Now she has focused on the country’s best known family of composers. In “Alles Walzer”, Egghardt portrays Johann Strauss the Elder, his son and other members of the waltz dynasty. She reveals scandals and excesses circling around the ambitious careers of the famed men. Egghardt does not fail to consider the achievements of Eduard and Josef Strauss either, members of the family not as famous as Johann Strauss the Younger and his father. “Plappermäulchen”, a polka by Josef Strauss, was part of the programme of the recent New Year’s Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic. Eduard Strauss wrote a large number of waltzes and polkas too. Regardless of how impeccable the music of the duo may be – the waltzes by Johann Strauss the Elder and his son of the same first name are the essential legacy of this extraordinary family.

Alles Walzer. Die Strauß-Dynastie
By Hanne Egghardt
Published by Kremayr & Scheriau (

More than 15 experts and historians have been asked to contribute to a new book about German settlers’ history in Eastern Europe. In their articles, they brilliantly analyse how violent conflicts increasingly overshadowed their movements. “Die Deutschen im Osten Europas” shows that what has happened in the past centuries still matters for how people are dealing with each other today. Der Spiegel journalist Annette Großbongardt has acted as co-publisher of the book. She took the same role regarding “Jerusalem. Die Geschichte einer Heiligen Stadt”, an acclaimed publication about Jerusalem.

Die Deutschen im Osten Europas
By Annette Großbongardt, Uwe Klußmann and Norbert Pötzl
Published by DVA (

The 69 Eyes and Yellowcard gigs ahead

A British metal core band and an Freddie Mercury enthusiast from Vienna will perform in Austria in the coming days.

Asking Alexandria, whose unofficial debut album “Stand Up and Scream” was a commercial success a few years ago, will give a concert in Vienna next Thursday (31 August). Already one day earlier, Austrofred will rock the city. The popular entertainer – who is strongly influenced by the creative output of Queen – is also at the ready for gigs in Linz (31 January) and Dornbirn (1 The 69 Eyes - www.69eyes.comFebruary).

The 69 Eyes, a rock band from Finland, will set Vienna on fire on 4 February. The most recent studio album of the five-member band – who started releasing records over 10 years ago – is called “X”. Royal Republic from Malmo, Sweden, will perform in the Vorarlberg town of Dornbirn on 15 February.

A few days later (19 February), Florida-based punk rockers Yellowcard will come to Vienna. The band fronted by Ryan Key topped the charts around 10 years ago with their acclaimed album “Ocean Avenue”. Several songs of the record were played by radios across the globe for months, including the ballad “Only One”. Selig – one of the most successful names in German rock – are responsible for one of the live music highlights of March. The reunited band are due to perform in Vienna on 13 March.

Book look: Reichholf, Geist and Meck

Explaining complex processes in nature in Naturgeschichte(n) - www.knaus-verlag.desimple and clear words – this is one of the biggest talents of Josef H. Reichholf. The leading biologist writes about the lives of small and big animals from all across the globe in his new book, “Naturgeschichte(n)”. Reichholf also concentrates on deciphering the relationship between mankind and animals. By considering that readers are not scientists, Reichholf created a true gem. The release of “Naturgeschichte(n)” is followed by the publication of “Zamonien”, a fictional, richly-illustrated encyclopaedia by Walter Moers and Anja Dollinger. Knaus Verlag recently also presented “Überleben oder Scheitern”, a new book by Georg Pieper.

By Josef H. Reichholf
Published by Knaus (

A new German book for teens with a special focus on spelling has been published by Langenscheidt. “Deutsch-Pirat – 7. Klasse Rechtschreibung” features an immense variety of exercises to ensure that students reduce their error rate. The exercises focus on the correct spelling of German words but there are also checks regarding tenses and the issue whether the first letter of terms and expressions has to be capitalised. The book by Alexander Geist has a clear structure and comes with a CD featuring additional exercises. Langenscheidt’s website also offers exercises and tests for everyone interested in improving their German.

Langenscheidt Deutsch-Pirat – 7. Klasse Rechtschreibung
By Alexander Geist
Published by Langenscheidt (

The strategy of Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen, the new co-chiefs of the Deutsche Bank, is under close scrutiny by a new book. Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung deputy economy editor Georg Meck describes which path the duo will most likely choose to navigate the bank through the crisis. In “The Deutsche: Investmentbanker an der Macht”, Meck portrays Jain’s rise to the top and examines whether Fitschen’s power is as limited as claimed by experts. Meck stresses that it is nothing but a “myth” that Jain and Fitschen are equal partners. The award-winning journalist also reviews the era of Josef Ackermann – and discloses that his six-year-old son is the only member of his family with a Deutsche Bank savings account.

The Deutsche: Investmentbanker an der Macht
By Georg Meck
Published by Campus Verlag (

Book look: human extremes, musical passion and teen slang

A new book investigates the borders of the abilities and capacities of the human body. In “Extrem. Unser Körper am Limit”, infotainment television show presenter Stefan Gödde writes about how Extrem. Unser Körper am Limit - www.hanser-literaturverlage.dehumans often ignore boundaries to set new records and achieve extraordinary things. Gödde warns of the possible negative effects of such actions but also informs readers how they can benefit in daily life from results of scientific research in this concern. Extreme noise and unimaginable temperature play big roles in his book. However, the German journalist also describes what happens in our bodies when we laugh or fall in love. Gödde has been hosting “Galileo”, a science and entertainment show on TV channel ProSieben since 2009. In doing so, he is taking turns with Aiman Abdallah. “Galileo” went on air in 1998. Over the years, it has developed into one of the most popular productions of the station. Few programmes gather more viewers in front of the screens in German-speaking Europe between 7pm and 8pm from Monday to Friday.

Extrem. Unser Körper am Limit
By Stefan Gödde
Published by Hanser (

For more than 30 years, Klaus Wallendorf is part of the Berlin Philharmonic, one of the best orchestras in the world. The horn player has always been interested in a broad range of musical topics unrelated the instrument of his choice. Now Wallendorf – who joined the Berlin Philharmonic in 1980 – has written a book about the orchestra’s cello players. “Immer Ärger mit dem Cello” is a “declaration of love” to his colleagues, he explains. Wallendorf told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper that he worked one and a half year on finishing the eagerly awaited book. The hornist also stressed that orchestra musicians “tend to have more fun than most people think”.

Immer Ärger mit dem Cello
By Klaus Wallendorf
Published by Galiani Berlin (

“Französisch für Insider” offers a new approach to how a language is really spoken nowadays. The pocketsize book – now out by Langenscheidt – gives a comprehensive overview of French to teenagers interested in finding out more than what they are told by their teachers in school. The guide – which also exists regarding other languages – deals with a broad range of topics ranging from nightlife, love and sex, shopping and sports. The fiercest and most risky statements are marked with small bombs in this book which also features a chapter dedicated to typical gestures of French youth culture. Another aspect of this new publication – which is packed with highly explosive content – is giving advices to young people about making compliments in French.

Französisch für Insider
By Eve-Alice Roustang-Stoller, Marion Netzlaff and Anne-Claire Paumard
Published by Langenscheidt (

Game on, Vienna

A fantastic exhibition at one of Vienna’s most renowned museums illustrates the importance of games in the Austrian capital.

“Spiele der Stadt. Glück, Gewinn und Zeitvertreib” – now on display at the Spielle der Stadt - www.wienmuseum.atWien Museum – documents the history of card and board games in the city. However, the exhibit also explains the role of billiards and chess. It explains that Vienna used to be one of the world’s capitals of chess. The exhibition does not fail to mention that socialist chess clubs separated from conservative ones before the left-wingers’ associations were banned by political officials in the 1930s.

Several sections of the exhibit are dedicated to kids’ games of former times and today. “Spiele der Stadt” also describes how children used to play between destroyed buildings after World War Two before the city’s socialist leaders set up playgrounds in every district. In the 1970s, celebrated architects were asked to design playground equipment. Photographs of these impressive creations are on display at the Wien Museum. Most of the climbing frames and slides were removed a few years on due to more stringent safety regulations – and lawmakers’ failure to ensure their faultless condition.

“Spiele der Stadt” (visit for information concerning opening times and ticket prices) documents how the Nazis’ abused the power of games for their vicious propaganda. The exhibition also features paintings depicting people playing various games – and a wall of dozens of photographs showing Viennese betting shops to highlight their dismal presence.

Book look: Rommel, meetings and the FIFA

Ralf Georg Reuth’s new book about Field Marshal Rommel. Das Ende einer Legende - www.piper.deErwin Rommel with the controversial subheading “The End of a Legend” is out now. The book portrays the “Desert Fox” not as courageous leader but as a perfect example of what the Nazis’ propaganda achieved. Even his enemies acknowledged his bravery. “Rommel. Das Ende einer Legende” – which has been described by the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper as “intense” and by British daily The Independent as “brilliant” – features more than 40 photographs. Reuth has done an excellent job in documenting Rommel’s career in the army of the German Nazi regime, from meeting Adolf Hitler for the first time to his suicide in October 1944.

Rommel. Das Ende einer Legende
By Ralf Georg Reuth
Published by Piper (

The Cornelsen publishing house has released a guide giving advices regarding the formulation of suggestions and opinions in professional conversations. Produced in partnership with the Goethe Institute, “Erfolgreich in Besprechungen” explains what to consider when appointments and meetings have to be arranged. The book also contains essential information concerning German small talk habits to avoid misunderstandings in conversations between employees and superiors. Furthermore, it offers a wide range of conflict-solving strategies.

Erfolgreich in Besprechungen
By Volker Eismann
Published by Cornelsen (

An award-winning journalist has increased the pressure on FIFA bosses by writing a book about illicit procedures in the global football business. Thomas Kistner, a Süddeutsche Zeitung sports reporter, has received praise by critics for “FIFA-Mafia”, his latest release. In the book, the laureate of the Sport Journalist of the Year Award of 2006, reveals who benefits from illegal actions within the International Federation of Association Football. Kistner sees “chronic corruption” within the organisation, and condemns the network of friends and business partners of FIFA President Josef Blatter for playing a lead role in the drama.

FIFA-Mafia. Die schmutzigen Geschäfte mit dem Weltfußball
By Thomas Kistner
Published by Droemer Knaur (

Book look: Thomas Kuban

“Blood will flow” – this is how the title of Thomas Kuban’s new book could be translated. In “Blut muss fließen”, German undercover journalist writes about his research in Germany’s right-wing extremists.Blut muss fließen -

Kuban – who has to live in hiding – started going to concerts by Nazi bands in 1997. He shaved his head and sported fashion endorsed by skinheads to get in touch with people of the scene. Kuban keeps his real name a secret after filming neo-Nazis making the Hitler salute at gigs by right-wing bands. He got active on the internet as well to find out more about his home country’s Nazi scene.

According to magazine Der Spiegel, Kuban – who criticises fellow journalists, constitution authorities, politicians and the police for showing little interest in the activities of Germany’s neo-Nazis – spent 150,000 Euros over the years for equipment, rental cars and stays at hotels across Germany.

Now the investigative journalist has sworn to his parents to stop writing about Europe’s fascist movements for good. “We appreciated his decision to do that kind of work, but we were also afraid about the dangers. I feared someone could beat him senseless one day. We just he is serious this time about quitting,” his father told Der Spiegel.

Blut muss fließen. Undercover unter Nazis
By Thomas Kuban
Published by Campus Verlag (