A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Don’t miss the opportunity to discover Richard Gerstl’s adorable body of work.1.jpg

The Leopold Museum’s “Inspiration – Legacy” exhibition – which ends next Monday – consists of Gerstl’s defining paintings but also photographs and letters. An ill-fated affair with the wife of his close friend Arnold Schönberg preceded his suicide at the age of just 25 in 1908.

The late artist’s self-portraits, which carry a decidedly sinister undercurrent, and his portraits of colleagues, friends and family members will leave a lasting impression. But it’s the delicate luminosity of his small landscapes that grab the place in the limelight.

“Inspiration – Legacy” also features works of art by painters and sculptors who influenced Gerstl or were influenced by him, including Vincent van Gogh, Pierre Bonnard and Georg Baselitz.

>> http://www.leopoldmuseum.org

Pop in the province

smartMusic created in Styria throughout the 20th century can be rediscovered in an astonishing exhibition in Graz.

“POP 1900–2000. Popular Music in Styria” celebrates not just artists who reached skyscraping artistic and commercial heights in the 1980s such as STS and Opus. The exhibition – now on display at the Museum für Geschichte in the city centre of Graz – also examines the very beginnings of musical entertainment in Styria.

Curators have put old radios and musical instruments on display, including a saxophone from the Styrian capital’s legendary pioneering jazz nights and an electric guitar once owned by EAV songwriter and guitarist Thomas Spitzer.

Music production and performance technology might have moved forward at rapid pace, but the exhibit’s numerous video and sound installations underline that the province’s most-loved artists do stand the test of time.

For opening hours and ticket prices, go to http://www.museum-joanneum.at/museum-fuer-geschichte

Fame & famine

Dora Kallmus’ life has been nothing short of astonishing. Having portrayed Vienna’s intellectual fin de siècle elite, she went on to capture the searing heaved on World War Two refugees. Eventually the Vienna-born snapper worked with artists like Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall in France.dora.jpg

“Der große Bruch” (The Great Rupture) is the title of an exhibition at the GrazMuseum which pays tribute to D’Ora, as she would call herself as an artist. Located at just one floor of a relatively small venue, curators have created an intriguing celebration of photography. Brace yourself for outstanding 1920s fashion shots and superb portraits of Arthur Schnitzler, Max Reinhardt and a very young Otto von Habsburg.

The museum’s permanent exhibition is a must-see too as it documents the history of the city of Graz, but also outstanding engineering at Puch and great sportsmanship embodied by Jochen Rindt and Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, vital sociological changes, controversial political debates and critical ecological developments are under close scrutiny too.

Visit http://www.grazmuseum.at for additional information on current exhibits and opening hours.

Pure perfection

Breathtaking landscapes, sumptuous still lifes and intimate portraits – the oeuvre of Pierre Bonnard is nothing short of fascinating. Now there is a chance to discover the ingenious painter’s achievements in Austria.bonnard.jpg

Vienna’s Bank Austria Kunstforum has dedicated a special exhibit to the artist who passed away in 1947. Bonnard’s brilliant Mediterranean town views and landscapes will let you yearn for a break in in the south. But “Die Farbe der Erinnerung” (The Colour of Memory) is teeming with surprises – early photographic experiments, preparatory sketches and a self-portrait conveying pure fragility are on display too.

Bonnard’s mind was a bottomless well of creativity, as this exhibition confirms. Building on loans from all over Europe and overseas, “Die Farbe der Erinnerung” will leave a long-lasting impression on each visitor.

German publishing house Hirmer’s excellent catalogue provides additional insights into the work and life of this outstanding artist.

>> http://www.bankaustria-kunstforum.at

Pierre Bonnard. Die Farbe der Erinnerung
By Matthew Gale
Published by Hirmer (www.hirmerverlag.de)

Love is all you need

Love is in the air at a museum in Burgenland.smart

Curators at Eisenstadt’s Landesmuseum have taken a closer look at traditional declarations of love of all kind, from romantic postcards to cheeky kiss vouchers.

“Alles aus Liebe. Zeugnisse inniger Verbundenheit” organisers banked on private archives as they put war era love letters and photographs on display. The exhibition offers an ideal opportunity to find out more about rather extraordinary local wedding custom.

The exhibition’s unnecessarily convoluted captions are certainly annoying. But overall, the good far outweighs the bad.

>> http://www.landesmuseum-burgenland.at

Controversy on the countryside

It’s been a rocky road for Hermann Nitsch. Showered with criticism for his existential performances involving slaughter of animals, the artist has been a scandal-sheet regular ever since the 1960s. For more than 10 years, a museum in northern Lower Austria is paying tribute to his achievements.1.jpg

The painter’s large canvases dominate the main exhibition showroom at Mistelbach’s Nitsch Museum. However, all genres – from early drawings to the rituals his enemies branded blasphemous – are represented.

Television broadcasts and newspaper cuttings give a hint of the embittered feud between the determined artist and populist media trying to create a chorus of outrage. Museum curators have done an excellent job in offering a clearly structured overview on the manifold directions Nitsch’s art has taken throughout the decades.

>> http://www.nitschmuseum.at