Soap & Skin

The frantic search for flawlessness is documented in the latest Wien Museum exhibit.

“Mit Haut und Haar. Frisieren, Rasieren, Verschönern” (Skin Deep. Hair Dressers, Barbers, Beauticians) documents the many shifts in sense of beauty, hairstyle hypes and moustache trends. Consisting of various beauty accessories from the old days of which many did not stand the test of time, the exhibition offers and enthralling journey back in time, with a special focus on Vienna and its inhabitants from the 19th century working class to the highest echelons.

Curator Susanne Breuss reveals how people tried out everything within the bounds of possibilities to achieve impeccable looks. The exhibit is also a great opportunity to investigate the magnificent rise of the sprawling cosmetics industry. Miniature soaps, razorblades and curlers but also front pages of teen magazine Bravo from the 1950s are on display.

Visit http://www.wienmuseum.at for information on opening hours and other current exhibits.

Somers superstar

Mayor of Mechelen was anything but an enviable position when Bart Somers took over in 2001. The city was in a poor condition in various regards. Aware that things would not improve at the touch of a bottom, Somers kicked off several projects in a bid to reverse the course of the town which is situated just 20 kilometres from Brussels.

The Flemish liberal received the 2016 World Mayor Prize, an award established by the City Mayors Foundation. The initiators recognised that Mechelen “has shown Europe that people from many different countries and cultures can come together and be proud citizens.” They pointed out that its inhabitants “have different dreams, do different jobs, lead different lives. But Mechelen is their home, their city”.

In “Zusammen Leben”, Somers – who became mayor of Mechelen 18 years ago – explains how he successfully tackled delinquency and terror recruiting by setting up dozens of surveillance cameras but also a community network. He underlines the essential importance of speaking Dutch when it comes to integrating immigrants. Somers analyses what can be done against many young foreigners’ feeling of not being part of the community.

“Around 200 people from Brussels joined the Islamic State, 100 from Antwerp. From Mechelen? Zero,” Somers told Austrian radio station Ö1, pointing out that one in five residents of his city were Muslims.

The mayor’s elaborate concepts cannot function in a copy and paste move elsewhere. But what we see here is a politician who is still bursting with determination and a thirst for action.

Zusammen Leben
By Bart Somers
Published by C.H. Beck (www.chbeck.de)

Cologne calling

Rapid face Altach on Sunday (kickoff: 4.30pm) as one of the Viennese team’s most crucial members decides to begin anew in Germany.

Louis Schaub announced he will shortly join 1. FC Köln who were relegated from the Bundesliga after finishing the season at the bottom. “I think it’s an opportune moment for me to seek new challenges. I’d like to thank the fans for all their support throughout the years,” Schaub told national broadcaster ORF on Wednesday at the Vatican where he went with his current team to meet the Pope.

The savvy midfield strategist – who scored 45 goals in his 203 appearances for Rapid – agreed with Köln on a four-year contract. According to the Kurier, Rapid will now try to sign former Altach star Nikola Dovedan. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder currently plays for German side Heidenheim.

With two matches still to play this season, supporters of Rapid and Altach are hoping that their teams will bring the right mentality to the contest – despite a rather disappointing season. Rapid did not just fail to endanger Red Bull Salzburg’s championship but also had to accept that Sturm Graz are currently miles ahead.

Altach – who are plucked apart for their best players on a regular basis – might ditch manager Klaus Schmidt, according to Sky Sports Austria. The team took a 1-3 pounding against tail-lights St. Pölten last week.

The Bundesliga after 34 of 36 rounds:

Red Bull Salzburg, 80 points
Sturm Graz, 66
SK Rapid, 58
LASK, 57
Admira, 51
Mattersburg, 43
FK Austria, 40
Altach, 37
WAC, 29
St. Pölten, 14

>> http://www.skrapid.at

>> http://www.scra.at

Gastmann goes abroad

Japan is full of fascinating contradictions. Urban monsters like Tokyo and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes complement each other perfectly, as the immense numbers of tourists flocking to the country confirm.

But Dennis Gastmann did not come just for holidays. After having married a Japanese businesswoman he had met in his hometown Hamburg, the author travels to Asia to meet her family.

In “Der vorletzte Samurai. Ein japanisches Abenteuer”, Gastmann portrays himself as a hapless bloke at dinner table unable to join the conversation. Gastmann and his wife visit the whole country to meet extraordinary individuals at small eateries but also a German who once became a sensation on local television.

Gastmann – whose story demands attention from the opening sentences as he avoids the well-trodden, cliché-laden paths – encounters slightly weird receptionists and train ticket office clerks. He tries German potatoes, visits Tomb of Christ, the alleged grave of Jesus (or ‘Iesu Kirisuto’), and unravels the used panties mystery.

Der vorletzte Samurai. Ein japanisches Abenteuer
By Dennis Gastmann
Published by Rowohlt (www.rowohlt.de)

Man Ray masterpieces

There have never been any doubts concerning Man Ray’s credentials as a photographer. But his creative output as a painter deserves to be reassessed too, as a new exhibit confirms.

Man Ray’s portraits were published by the world’s leading magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair. Already in 1936, he portrayed Salvador Dali. Other outstanding images depict Hollywood star Ava Gardner (1950) and French actress Catherine Deneuve (1968).

All of these works are currently on display at the Bank Austria Kunstforum in Vienna. The exhibition enables visitors to discover Man Ray’s excellent photography. However, it underlines his skills as a painter too.

Man Ray always strived for recognition but eventually focused on photography, assuming he would never be on par with ingenious contemporaries such as Dali, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso. But his paintings must be evaluated once more. Man Ray’s 1938 masterpiece “La Fortune”, “La rue Ferou” and “Mon premier amour”, both from 1952, are impeccable oil on canvas achievements.

The Viennese gallery also presents early experimental gelatine silver prints, photos, smaller etchings, lithographs and sculptures which cause confusion as they convey a whole string of allusive hints.

Visit http://www.bankaustria-kunstforum.at for information on opening times and upcoming events.

Just the Best

One of Austria’s most spectacular private collections is now on display in Vienna.

Heidi Horten’s latitude was wide-ranging when she started acquiring works of art in the 1990s. Her collection has aged in the most charming way, as the Leopold Museum’s “WOW! The Heidi Horten Collection” confirms.

Over 70 artists are represented in the show which reveals that Horten does not just admire 20th century icons such as Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein. The collector obviously also holds contemporary superstars like Georg Baselitz and Alex Katz in veneration.

“WOW! The Heidi Horten Collection” furthermore features Gustav Klimt, Damien Hirst and Heinrich Campendonk. The exhibition follows a whole set of unanimously acclaimed shows mostly focusing on the oeuvre of Austrian and European painters.

“Alberto Giacometti. Pionier der Moderne” (Alberto Giacometti. Modernist Pioneer) underlined that the Chur-born artist was not only an ingenious sculptor but also an outstanding painter. The exhibit consisted of his most important sculptures as well as photographs by Rene Burri, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Franz Hubmann who portrayed a neatly-dressed Giacometti in his dusty studio in Paris, surrounded by unfinished works of art.

“Beginn der Moderne” (The Beginning of Modernism) is still on display at the museum which is situated in Vienna’s Museumsquartier. It is dedicated to the fascinating oeuvre of Anton Romako, who studied in Vienna and Munich before moving to Rome where he worked his socks off for 20 years. The exhibit stresses the astonishingly wide range of Romako’s topics and techniques.

>> http://www.leopoldmuseum.org

The Klopp craze

Jürgen Klopp worked wonders with one of the lowest budgets in the league at Mainz 05 before accelerating Borussia Dortmund to the summit. Three years ago, Klopp had different options on the table after leaving the club. He eventually decided to accept Liverpool’s offer. Now a German journalist has written a book about the popular coach. Having lived in Britain for more than 20 years, Raphael Honigstein is a true expert on the game.

“I’ve carried out about 40 or 50 interviews,” the author of “Ich mag, wenn’s kracht” told sports news website SPOX. Speaking about the enormous interest in Klopp as a person and manager, the writer said: “Liverpool supporters are football archaeologists. They love examining his background: where he’s from, what he’s done – and how this could affect his term at Anfield Road.”

Klopp was anything but an exceptionally talented player but he always carried out his duties well. As a coach, he prefers high-speed attacking football. Many Liverpool supporters regarded Klopp as some sort of messiah who would lift their team back to where it belonged in their opinion.

“I think that most Reds fans and club officials totally support him. (…) They realise that things are working out well. But they also understand that he needs more time,” Honigstein told SPOX, adding that he would not be surprised if Klopp – whose team will face Real Madrid in the Champions League final later this month – considered becoming a national team manager after his Liverpool assignment.

Ich mag, wenn’s kracht. Jürgen Klopp – Die Biographie
By Raphael Honigstein
Published by Ullstein (www.ullsteinbuchverlage.de)