Book look: Ladstätter and Lisbon

With her new book, Austria’s Scientist of the Year 2011 manages to demonstrate the fascination of archaeology. Sabine Ladstätter – ladstätterwho is in charge of the Austrian excavation project in Ephesus – underlines the logistical complexity of archaeological investigations. “Knochen, Steine, Scherben” is a clear, informative approach to the topic. In the 200-page release, the Klagenfurt-born director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute also writes about the links between her special subject and nature, religion and death.

Knochen, Steine, Scherben. Abenteuer Archäologie
By Sabine Ladstätter
Published by Residenz Verlag (

A black and white photo book portraying Lisbon is out now. The capital city of Portugal has always had the ability to convey a slightly depressing feeling – not just since the latest economic crisis which still demands great sacrifices from its inhabitants. This certain sense of melancholy is essential to the pictures by Rainer Groothuis and Christoph Lohfert. Groothuis and Lohfert – Lissabonwho have also created a book with images taken in Venice – enable the spectators to go on a journey in their minds. Their photos show brightly illuminated shopping streets and people attending a local festival but also empty squares, quiet backyards and snack bars offering traditional food. The many contrasts – bustling markets and a dominant emptiness – are fascinating.

Lissabon. Das helle, traurige Paradies
By Rainer Groothuis and Christoph Lohfert
Published by Edel (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Montmartre magic and a wonderful Weisweiler biography

The period between 1890 and the First World War is considered as a great period for art and culture – not only in Vienna where writers and painters gathered in hirmercafes and bars to get inspired. Paris was also a melting pot of creativity around 120 years ago. Earlier this year, the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany, presented paintings by artists active in this era but also lots of background information about their lives and working circumstances. Musicians and poets who lived and worked around Paris’ Montmartre hill were portrayed as well. Publishing house Hirmer created a catalogue concerning of all the works of art and facts. “Esprit Montmartre. Bohemian Life in Paris around 1900” features more than 200 paintings but also many photographs. The photo chapter enables readers to get a first impression of this exciting time. Further on, the impact of Pablo Picasso Henri Matisse and other artists is examined and analysed, while a chapter called “A Man from the North in Paris” deals with Vincent Van Gogh’s experiences in the French capital.

Esprit Montmartre. Bohemian Life in Paris around 1900
By Ingrid Pfeiffer and Max Hollein
Published by Hirmer (

Sepp Herberger, Udo Lattek, Ottmar Hitzfeld – and Hennes Weisweiler. An unofficial list of Germany’s most celebrated football coaches would certainly consist of these names. Now weisweilerexperienced sports journalists have teamed up to honour Weisweiler with a new book. The trophy-winning manager – considered as a legend by fans of 1. FC Köln and Borussia Mönchengladbach – died aged 63 in 1983. The authors, Günter Giersberg, Kürt Röttgen and Hermann Josef Weskamp, not just recount his impressive career and astonishing triumphs in the Bundesliga. They also portray his childhood and private life. Many pictures illustrate the remarkable biography. Several companions like Wolfgang Niersbach, the president of the German Football Association, former Mönchengladbach captain Berti Vogts and ex-Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer contributed articles in which they honour Weisweiler. The soccer celebrities also reveal a few secrets in their texts. Beckenbauer, for example, discloses that he supported his then-club Cosmos New York in their ambitions of signing Weisweiler as manager. “I was convinced of his qualities and experience,” Beckenbauer points out. However, there were also frictions, especially between Mönchengladbach star Günter Netzer and the coach – and this new book is the perfect opportunity for young football fans to read the whole story.

Hennes Weisweiler
By Günter Giersberg, Kürt Röttgen and Hermann Josef Weskamp
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Dobrowsky delights

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAIt is no surprise that the Belvedere is once more developing a magnetic effect on Viennese art fans and tourists. Significant paintings by Claude Monet are currently on display in its Orangerie gallery.

However, a small special exhibition in the Upper Belvedere palace should not be neglected either. The museum presents key oil on canvas paintings by Josef Dobrowsky.

The Austrian artist, who died in 1964, is not as famous as other fellow Austrian painters of the first decades of the 20th century. But Dobrowsky’s oeuvre had a great impact on other artists’ activities since he lectured at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Painter Josef Mikl and sculptor Alfred Hrdlicka were students of Dobrowsky whose painting was influenced by Dutch painters but also landscape portraitists like Albin Egger-Lienz. Especially Dobrowsky’s paintings depicting fields, forests and deserted town centres in winter – now on display at the Belvedere – are outstanding.

Another major attraction of the Belvedere ( is situated in its gardens. Hubertus von Hohenlohe’s mirror installation “The Perfect Tourist” makes aware of the increasing commercialisation and superficiality of art and travelling.

The simple but clever creation by the Austrian photographer and musician will be installed near the Opera House of Sydney and in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Does Vienna really need a €2.5mn Funeral Museum?

The reopening of a museum in Vienna is causing controversy.

The city’s Funeral Museum, which started welcoming visitors after a ten-month refurbishment period earlier this month – is located at the Zentralfriedhof cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in the world.

Renovation activities cost around 2.5 million Euros – too much in financially tense times, say critics, making aware of the high debts of the city. Vice Mayor Renate Brauner of the Social Democratic Party, cemeterymeanwhile, defended the decision to redesign the institution. She pointed out that the manifold objects on display enrich the Austrian capital’s cultural scene.

Organisers hope to attract tourists coming to Vienna to trace the spirit of death. The city’s atmosphere is often described as melancholic while the Viennese are alleged of having a special relationship with death. Around 250 items are on display in the 300-square metre museum in Vienna-Simmering, including old carriages and traditional undertaker costumes.

The museum’s opening hours are rather unusual as it is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. However, with 9am, it opens significantly earlier than most other cultural institutions on weekdays (closing time is at 4.30pm).

Visitor figures are expected to remain relatively low due to the lack of a reasonable public transport link between the cemetery and the bustling city centre. Furthermore, speculations regarding the exact amount of subsidisation by the city government are set to intensify considering the remarkably low entrance fee of just four Euros.


::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: cockpit stories, confessions and Crystal Meth

Low-cost carriers experienced a boom a few years ago. They were immensely popular across Europe thanks to their cheap offers and easy booking procedures. julia novemberNow the mood has changed as prices increased. However, the airlines’ image also worsened because of the introduction of various controversial rules. Harsh luggage weight restrictions and other disputed policies have caused anger among passengers. Now a German pilot reveals what happens behind the scenes. Julia November’s book “Kaufen Sie noch ein Los, bevor wir abstürzen” not only contains explosive background information. The insider also offers advices to passengers in a bid to enable smooth travelling.

Kaufen Sie noch ein Los, bevor wir abstürzen
By Julia November
Published by Riva (

As conflicts between members of different confessions are getting more emotional, a new book could be of good use when vocelkait comes to understanding religions better. Karl Vocelka, a renowned historian who lectured in the United States and curated various exhibitions, did not just focus on officially acknowledged confessions. The Austrian expert on the Habsburg Monarchy also describes the history, structure and achievements smaller communities and sects – from humanitarian work to charity initiatives and second hand shops. Potential controversies regarding certain initiatives by some religions are not ignored either. Roman-Catholicism might dominate in Austria despite shrinking membership figures. Nevertheless, Vocelka dedicated comprehensive chapters to Buddhism, Hinduism and many other denominations in his new book which is set to become an indispensible reference book.

Multikonfessionelles Österreich
By Karl Vocelka
Published by Styria Premium (

Alarming statistics showing strongly rising consumer figures – politicians and health experts warning from an increasing hype about the drug – various television documentaries rivaportraying addicts, among them women and who just gave birth. Crystal meth is considered as a danger for society by many. A new book informs how the drug damages the health of people who consume it. The authors, Dr. Roland Härtel-Petri and Heiko Haupt, also explain how prevention could work. The Riva publication also features an interview with an addict as well as different data. “Crystal Meth. Wie eine Droge unser Land überschwemmt” is the first comprehensive analysis of the substance and its effects on society.

Crystal Meth. Wie eine Droge unser Land überschwemmt
By Dr. Roland Härtel-Petri and Heiko Haupt
Published by Riva Verlag (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Quick break in Bratislava

Autumn is the ideal time for visiting Bratislava – and the new Marco Polo guide is the ideal companion to discover the city. Beautiful galleries, fine restaurants, authentic SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAbars and many trendy hotels – Bratislava should not be underestimated.

All sights and touristic attractions are located within walking distance from the main station, while frequent railway connections between Vienna and the Slovakian capital make weekend trips a convenient matter.

Slovakians might not like the comparison, but Bratislava’s old town centre feels like a smaller version of Prague. With many churches and a wide range of eateries, both cities offer a lot to holidaymakers interested in local culture and traditional food.marcopolo

Daniela Capcarova’s new Marco Polo guide for Slovakia also features lots of advices for trips to Trencin Castle, Kosice, the Tatra Mountains and many other places throughout the country

Marco Polo: Slowakei
By Daniela Capcarova
Published by Marco Polo (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

High-impact Hollein

A great variety of objects is on display at a Viennese museum to honour one of Europe’s most influential SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAdesigners.

Hans Hollein cooperated with the MAK, the Austrian capital city’s Museum for Applied Arts (Museum für angewandte Kunst), regarding the exhibit as he tragically passed away during the process last April.

Immensely large exhibition rooms are dedicated to the fascinating oeuvre of the renowned architect. Curator Marlies Wirth did an excellent job in portraying the artist by arranging photographs, sketches, small models, numerous handwritten notes and many other items rather thematically than chronologically.

Visitors get to see early works (designing a Viennese candle store) as well as his most famous achievements (a museum in Mönchengladbach, the Haas-Haus building at hollein makStephansplatz square in Vienna).

Exhibitions like this one – which closes today! – will strengthen the MAK’s reputation as one of the most innovative museums in Central Europe regarding the multimedia presentation of design and art of different genres.


::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas