Frohner & fresh ideas

Exciting contemporary art created in Austria is now on display at a renowned gallery after more than 700 young artists applied to participate.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Essl Museum curators eventually chose 23 artists whose paintings are currently on display at the Klosterneuburg art institution. The exhibition called “Die Zukunft der Malerei. Eine Perspektive” (The Future of Painting. A Perspective) consists of a rich spectrum of styles and topics. Artists from various regions – including southern Burgenland, Tyrol, Vienna etc. – are represented. However, not all of them are Austrians. Young artists from Eastern Europe and Syria take part as well.

The exhibit offers the painters the chance to present their works of art to large audiences. Maybe some of them find financial support by owners of private collections or museum directors to continue focusing on painting.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Another part of the Essl Museum is currently dedicated to the oeuvre of Adolf Frohner. The influential Austrian artist – who passed away aged 73 in 2007 – mostly created large paintings and objects of art using different materials such as metals and oil colours. Frohner’s art confronts the spectator with mostly negative feelings and experiences such as pain and repression of any kind.


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

Book look: Princip & Praschel

A renowned Austrian expert on the Former Yugoslavia region has investigated the personality of the man whose actions led to World War One. Historians have stressed that the principassassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 was not the only reason for the First World War. The incident rather offered a nice opportunity to military leaders to kick off the conflict. Now, around 100 years after these events, Gregor Mayer has focused on Gavrilo Princip. The journalist, who lives in Belgrade and Budapest, analyses the assassinator – his childhood, youth, intentions and vision. “Verschwörung in Sarajevo. Triumph und Tod des Attentäters Gavrilo Princip” is not the first remarkable publication by Mayer. In 2010, Mayer cooperated with Bernhard Odehnal regarding “Aufmarsch. Die rechte Gefahr aus Osteuropa”, a precise evaluation of right-wing movements in Eastern Europe.

Verschwörung in Sarajevo. Triumph und Tod des Attentäters Gavrilo Princip
By Gregor Mayer
Published by Residenz Verlag (

Being on the road with kids can be tough. Constant quarrelling, uncomfortable temperatures, traffic jams or even breakdowns. Heike Praschel, a German children’s nurse, and her husband praschelnevertheless decided to travel to Mongolia with their three young daughters. An exceptional adventure – which evolved into a 30-month trip through Europe and Asia. With their old but robust Mercedes truck, the family from the Upper Palatinate region visited – among other countries – Turkey, Russia and Iran. Eventually, mum Heike decided to create a book to share her experiences with the world. The result, called “Weltenbummer. Eine Familie bereist dreißig Monate die Welt”, is out now by German publishing house Malik. The book also includes several photographs showing wonderful landscapes and the family’s encounters with locals.

Weltenbummer. Eine Familie bereist dreißig Monate die Welt
By Heike Praschel
Published by Malik (

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

Book look: surreal and scary – inside North Korea

The Sony Pictures hacking controversy and the film company’s decision to scrap its plans to screen a satirical movie are just the latest developments SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAin the explosive conflict between North Korea and the West. So far, the disagreements have been expressed verbally. But who can be sure whether the dictatorial regime decides to start serious military action?

A new book helps to understand this contradictory country as the debate regarding “The Interview” intensifies. Rüdiger Frank spent a semester at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang during his studies. He has returned to the capital city and other regions of North Korea many times ever since.

The expert on the Stalinist nation’s new book “Nordkorea. Innenansichten eines totalen Staates” is a brilliant analysis of the political and economic constellations. He takes a closer look at the regime’s propaganda measures and the violation of human rights. “Nordkorea. Innenansichten eines totalen Staates” also includes and outlook on the future of North Korea and its relations to South Korea, China and the United States.

Nordkorea. Innenansichten eines totalen Staates
By Rüdiger Frank
Published by DVA (

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

Book look: worldwide soccer & the Viennese soul

2014 was a memorable year for football. Finally, Germany won the World Cup again. Fans across the world were fascinated by the team’s companionship, skills and ability to SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAsurpass physical limits to win. However, what happened outside the stadiums made headlines too – from the Brazilian protests for better education and healthcare to increasing corruption allegation against FIFA officials regarding the nomination of Qatar as 2022 World Cup host country. Soccer has always meant much more than the action until the 90th minute on the pitch. Now Klaus Zeyringer presents his comprehensive analysis of the history of the most popular sport on earth. Zeyringer describes how the constitution of the audience changed over the years – from upper class members and aristocrats to working class men before the share of prosperous people soared again. He also writes about the immense marketing effects of successful clubs and spectacular national leagues. Another decisive aspect of his book “Fußball. Eine Kulturgeschichte” is the effect of the sport on developments in countries with autocratic leaders as well as during war. Zeyringer took a look at the impact of football on politics in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Franco’s Spain. His 450-page book is a rich source of information for soccer enthusiasts and everybody interested in sociological developments across the globe.

Fußball. Eine Kulturgeschichte
By Klaus Zeyringer
Published by S. Fischer (

The soul of Vienna, the mentality of the Viennese – still a great mystery. Loads of essays have been written about what makes the Austrian capital and its people so special. Now another Wiener Seelecollection of texts approaches the sensitive topic in various ways. Thirteen authors – both native Viennese and colleagues who were born and raised somewhere else before moving to the city – contributed articles for this Gmeiner publication. Versatile crime novel writers like Hermann Bauer participated in the project headed by Gerhard Loibelsberger (“Todeswalzer”). Other authors who took part were Andreas Pittler and Franzobel. Pittler has so far released over 40 books while Franzobel, who was born in Vöcklabruck, Upper Austria, has previously written plays for the Burgtheater and the Theater in der Josefstadt. Some of the “Wiener Seele” authors’ texts are thrilling while others are certain to amuse. “Wiener Seele” is a wonderfully composed collection of texts about a city which is certain to remain in the focus of authors in Austria and abroad.

Wiener Seele
By Gerhard Loibelsberger, Sabina Naber and others
Published by Gmeiner (

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

Book look: Kraus & Kottan

A controversial wartime play has been turned into a graphic novel as the world commemorates the outbreak of World War One. Karl Kraus’ “Die letzten Tage der Menschheit” is a well-known element of Austrian literature. However, reactions to theatre projects based on the texts written by Kraus between 1915 and 1922 have always been mixed. This year, directors active in Salzburg and Vienna brought Kraus’ complex masterpiece to the stage – despite concerns coming up already ahead of the first nights. While audiences welcomed the actors’ efforts, most critics branded the projects as not successful. The graphic novel by Reinhard Pietsch and David Boller has been met with significantly more acclaim. The creative duo’s 200-page release – now out by publishing house Herbert Utz – is a successful attempt to link a timeless kottanstory with the technical possibilities of a graphic novel. Pietsch reshaped the text appropriately while Boller – who worked for Marvel, DC Comics and other powerhouses before founding Virtual Graphics – created lively and compelling illustrations.

Die letzten Tage der Menschheit. Eine Graphic Novel nach Karl Kraus
By Reinhard Pietsch and David Boller
Published by Herbert Utz Verlag (

“Kottan ermittelt” is one of the most popular Austrian TV series. Directed by Peter Patzak, the comedy / crime production caused anger among conservative viewers several times. The series written by Helmut Zenker mocked authorities such as politicians and police. Increasingly satirical over the years, “Kottan ermittelt” developed into a cult series which still finds new fans. Now a book offers comprehensive summaries of all episodes as well as funny anecdotes, many photographs and more. “Inspektor gibt’s kan” by Jan and Tibor Zenker also includes interviews with Patzak and leading role star and Kabarett legend Lukas Resetarits. Fans of the series also find information about the 2010 movie based on the TV production. “Rien ne va plus” drew the masses as Resetarits agreed to take the leading role once again. Despite a brilliant cast – Burgtheater star Johannes Krisch and Robert Stadlober (“Sonnenallee”) – most critics expressed their dislike. However, these reactions failed to tarnish the legacy of the series. “Inspektor gibt’s kan” looks back on the excitement in the 1970s and 1980s when Austrians gathered in their living rooms for first class television entertainment.

Inspektor gibt’s kan
By Jan and Tibor Zenker
Published by Ueberreuter (

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

Book look: Baumann & Bobi

Erich Lessing, Andreas H. Bitesnich – Vienna has always brought out creative and innovative photographers. Manfred Baumann is certainly among the top names on this list. baumannThe snapper – who has focused on landscape portraits and nude photography – has worked with many film stars and musicians Now the Viennese photographer collected snapshots (red carpet, backstage) and precious portraits to create a book which tells from his many encounters. Baumann added personal notes in which he revealed how he got to know the stars and what it felt like to spend some time with them. There are many b-list celebs and actors starring in crime series. Not all of them might be household names. However, “L.A. Stories” also features some Hollywood legends (Bruce Willis) and top stars of the 21st century (Anne Hathaway). The book is just one of many projects Baumann has been working on recently. In September, the photographer offered workshops to fans at the Photokina, a fair in the German city of Cologne. It was no surprise that hundreds turned up to learn from the experienced photography artist. Another highlight of 2014 is his portraying session with eight winners of the annual Miss Austria contest. The result: a spectacular series of the models covered in a huge Austrian flag.

L.A. Stories
By Manfred Baumann
Published by Echomedia Buchverlag (

Vienna as a hotspot for espionage? The Austrian capital – a key location for illicit deals and controversial negotiations? And what would that mean as the discussion about the bobiNSA’s policies continues? An investigative journalist has decided to examine the myths circling around the city to find out whether its alleged image is real. Emil Bobi, who wrote remarkable articles for political magazine profil for 15 years, spoke with former intelligence service employees and politicians to evaluate Vienna’s importance as far as espionage and other top-secret activities are regarded. “Die Schattenstadt. Was 7,000 Agenten über Wien aussagen” does not feature just hard facts. It also consists of rather essayistic parts about the infamous Viennese humour and the difficult relationship between Austrians and Germans. Here, Bobi explains what these specific characteristics of Vienna and its people mean concerning the intelligence business in the city.

Die Schattenstadt. Was 7,000 Agenten über Wien aussagen
By Emil Bobi
Published by Ecowin (

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

Book look: Hacke & Haderer

Football nerds love statistics and action photos. Large picture books always sell well after great tournaments like this year’s World Cup. However, essays and hackeanecdotes can be immensely fascinating too – especially when they are composed as beautifully as the texts by Axel Hacke. The German author – whose articles and columns for the SZ Magazin have been popular for many years – now presents a collection of loosely linked stories about soccer. He writes about his passion for Eintracht Braunschweig, meeting former German national team manager Berti Vogts and interviewing the father of Team USA boss Jürgen Klinsmann. In “Fußballgefühle”, the author also shares his experiences at Wembley where Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League Final. Hacke has not jumped on the bandwagon. He has always been fascinated by the sport. As a child, he played football with his friends almost each day – regardless whether they could afford a ball. What’s wrong with a bunch of napkins or old newspapers? The boys were mad for the game. “Fußballgefühle” means feelings, atmospheres and emotions. Statistics are important – but what really matters is if you truly love the game. Hacke still does – and everyone who feels the same will love “Fußballgefühle”.

By Axel Hacke
Published by Verlag Antje Kunstmann (

Forget all those allegedly entertaining TV shows at the end of the year. An Austrian caricature artist’s yearbook is the best way to look back. Once more, Gerhard Haderer has created a haderercolourful portrait of 12 months. In his new Jahrbuch – which is expected to be placed under some Christmas trees across the country – the renowned satirist reflects on the big issues of 2014. He drew a kid looking for Easter eggs – with the help of a smartphone app. Haderer also reviews the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the Austrian Eurovision Song Contest triumph. Other topics he turned into amusing illustrations are the decline of Silvio Berlusconi, tax evasion scandals and the Gurlitt collection controversy. Let’s see how leading magazines decide – Haderer has already made his choice. His Men of the Year are NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pope Francis.

Haderer Jahrbuch
By Gerhard Haderer
Published by Scherz & Schund (

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

Monet magic in Vienna

Thirty paintings by Claude Monet are part of a new exhibition investigating his influence on Austrian artists.

Vienna’s famous Belvedere ( set up the exhibit called “Im Lichte Monets. Österreichische Künstler und das Werk des großen Impressionisten” (Looking at Monet. The Great Impressionist and His Influence on Austrian Art) in its Orangerie (Lower Belvedere).SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

More than 40 works of art by renowned Austrians are on display to show the immense impact Monet’s oeuvre had on their creations. Several Attersee lake scenes as well as various garden depictions and coastline impressions demonstrate the remarkable achievements of Gustav Klimt, Emil Jakob Schindler and many others. While most of Monet’s works are rather large paintings, Schindler’s small creations present a welcome contrast. Surprising additions are paintings by Herbert Boeckl and Max Weiler – artists who were influential in the middle of the 20th century.

The only, but significant downer is the lack of space. The venue chosen for the exhibition is much too small as the interest by local and international audiences is overwhelming. The gallery’s directors and curators cannot be surprised by this. The decision to organise the Monet exhibit (which features his brilliant Waterloo Bridge series!) at the orangery is just wrong as looking at those wonderful paintings without any stress is a tough task considering the masses of people gathering there each day, especially on weekends. At the same time, the Hagenbund exhibition, which is on display in another, larger area of the Lower Belvedere, draws significantly smaller crowds.

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