Commonly associated with operas, balls, Secession architecture and imperial history, Vienna is also surprisingly rich in contemporary art galleries. When visiting the city, culture lovers will want to stroll through Vienna’s new artistic hotspot in Schleifmühlgasse, located in the emerging 4th district. We explore this hip neighbourhood – and other areas of Vienna – to bring you ten of the best contemporary galleries currently thriving in the Austrian capital.
Young artists have their what might be their first opportunity to be exhibited at Bäckerstrasse4, an interesting space dedicated to art students still studying, or recently graduated. The gallery hosts shows four times a year, with works selected by a professional jury. The gallery welcomes artists both from Austrian and international art schools and is not limited to genre, as it displays works ranging from sculpture to photography, installation and video art. The goal at Bäckerstrasse4 is not only to give emerging artists a boost, but also to showcase the variety that young contemporary artists are pursing today.
Bäckerstrasse4, Bäckerstraße 4, Vienna, Austria, +43 676 555 1 777
Gabriele Senn Gallery
Multilayered communication is what the Gabriele Senn Gallery hopes to exhibit through its group of Austrian and international contemporary artists. An example of this is a past exhibition featuring two multimedia artists – Brit David Batchelor and German Andy Hope. For Batchelor, colour, urban, abstraction and the tradition of monochrome can be found as themes throughout his work. These are contrasted by Hope’s historical and pop-culture references. Cooperation with other galleries, both Austrian and international, as well as museums and individual curators and artists, gives rise to the unique artistic collaborations in which Gabriele Senn Gallery engages.
Gabriele Senn Gallery, Schleifmühlgasse 1A, Vienna, Austria, +43 1585 2580
Galerie Andreas Huber
Austrian mixed media artist Florian Schmidt, American film and sculpture artist Rita Sobral Campos and Austrian public art and intervention artist Leopold Kessler are just a taste of the range and diversity regularly shown at Galerie Andreas Huber. The space itself, located on the second floor of a historical building in Vienna’s fourth district, feels like a Viennese apartment thanks to its wood floors, high ceilings and big windows. This gives the works on display a special vibe not felt in more classic gallery spaces. With a focus on artists who include politics, theory and social culture in their work, Galerie Andreas Huber is unafraid to display art that is both surprising and provocative.
Galerie Andreas Huber, Schleifmühlgasse 6-8, Vienna, Austria, +43 1586 0237
Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art
Galerie MAM works with a number of renowned international artists especially those from the Mediterranean area. This classic gallery in Vienna’s first district was founded in 1972 and places a special focus on sculpture; indeed the large main floor of the 1,200 square metre gallery space is dedicated to this medium. The gallery represents a range of contemporary artists, with an eye towards exhibiting together those bound by a common theme, but whose work developed independently. Featuring a whole room dedicated to young artists, MAM is home to a range of intriguing creatives, such as Spaniard Carlos Aires who creates vinyl wall objects and Austrian artist Bertram Hasenauer’s haunting portraits.
Galerie MAM, Weihburggasse 26, Vienna, Austria, +43 1904 2004
Vienna’s photography enthusiasts have a special gallery just for them – located in a former bakery in Vienna’s 10th district, the so-called Brotfabrik. Galerie OstLicht seeks to create collaborative projects between rising stars and more established artists. Photographers who have been exhibited here include Swiss René Burri, rock singer Bryan Adams and German filmmaker and photographer Wim Wenders. OstLicht has a well-stocked photography library, bookshop and bar, making it the perfect gathering space for fans of the genre. This is Vienna’s newest evolving cultural centre, with a number of different studios, galleries and showrooms dedicated to art in a variety of forms.
Galerie OstLicht, Absberggasse 27, Vienna, Austria, +43 1996 2066
Galerie Ulysses has been at the forefront of contemporary art in Vienna since 1974. This is where you go to see sculptors Joannis Avramidis and Bruno Gironcoli and splatter painter Hermann Nitsch, not to mention Cy Twombly and Georg Baselitz, two other artists who exhibited in Vienna thanks to Galerie Ulysses. The two directors have different interests – one looks to America with a fondness for abstract expressionism, while the second is focused on European contemporary artists. For the visitor, this means an ongoing education about the international art scene.
Galerie Ulysses, Opernring 21, Vienna, Austria, +43 1587 1226
Georg Kargl Gallery
From solo exhibits to themed shows, Georg Kargl Gallery focuses on showcasing the best of contemporary artists. The gallery has been operating on Schleifmühlgasse since 1998, and in 2005 they took a creative leap and opened Box on the same street. This new venue represents artists from abroad and gives the gallery another platform in which to hold interesting exhibitions. Artists hosted in the Georg Kargl Gallery in the past have included Austrian multimedia artist Gabi Trinkaus, who uses collage to speak on advertising and the mass media, and a group show of exciting young artists who work with film and video installations. At Box, curators have – among others – joined the works of German installation and object artist Michael Sailstorfer with those of Austrian minimalist painter Herbert Hinteregger.
Georg Kargl, Schleifmühlgasse 5, Vienna, Austria, +43 1585 4199
Kerstin Engholm Gallery
The open nature of Kerstin Engholm Gallery gives director Kerstin Engholm lots of creative movement when it comes to working with her chosen artists. She prefers to showcase young Austrian and international artists who work in a range of media, but have a strong conceptual approach. Both solo shows and group exhibitions are shown, and artists often have the possibility to create site-specific work, due to the gallery’s unique design and outlook. A group show curated by film artist Anna Jermolaewa working with other film artists and a solo exhibition by Austrian painter Drago Persic are just some of the gallery’s fascinating past exhibitions.
Kerstin Engholm Gallery, Schleifmühlgasse 3, Vienna, Austria, +43 1585 7337
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
Beginning as Augarten Contemporary, known for versatility and innovation, the gallery has been managed since 2012 by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, which has brought an element of novelty to the featured exhibitions. Located in an English landscape garden, the gallery has hosted a number of well-known shows over the years, in addition to operating an artist-in-residence program. This creates a spin on the dialogue between the Austrian art scene and international artists. Another highlight of the gallery is that they commission projects, many of them unconventional, which cannot be pigeonholed into an existing art space, style or genre.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Scherzergasse 1A, Vienna, Austria, +43 1513 9856
Lukas Feichtner Gallery
Lukas Feichtner Gallery is dedicated to bringing the contemporary art world to Vienna. Innovative photography, painting, collages and installations are welcome guests here, and the program includes eight different exhibitions every year. These could range from charcoal drawings by Petar Mirkovic to a group sculpture show or perhaps a bold painter such as Stylianos Schicho. The gallery’s clean white space, brightened by natural light, is a lovely backdrop to the vibrant pieces from the artists on display.
Lukas Feichtner Gallery, Seilerstätte 19, Vienna, Austria, +43 1512 0910