Subjective guide to Vienna Contemporary 2021 and other satellite events

Under the direction of the newly appointed artistic director Boris Ondreička, viennacontemporary starts on 2 September this year and will bring you the best that the city has to offer. Austria’s most important and prestigious art fair gives us an opportunity to explore the flourishing Central and Eastern European art market during the enormity of unique art events, exhibitions at top Viennese art galleries, talks, and guided tours. 

As usual, we are here for you to report live from the event. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with a daily dose of artistic experiences and don’t forget to visit our press stand in the magazine zone.  

First, let us introduce you to our subjective guide to viennacontemporary and other satellite events. 

  1. Viennacontemporary 2021

Alte Post
Postgasse 10, 1010 Vienna


This year, viennacontemporary is developing a new concept. From 2-5 September, the art fair is showing an exhibition in Alte Post in cooperation with selected galleries. The organisers lean toward a more flexible, decentralised event that will help to reaffirm the role of the artist in the art market and better reflect the challenging times we live in.

viennacontemporary 2021, (c) Sebastian Gansrigler
viennacontemporary 2021, (c) Sebastian Gansrigler

  1. Belvedere 21

Arsenalstraße 1, 
1030 Vienna


Apart from the possibility of getting acquainted with the rich offer of the permanent exhibition and the Belvedere 21 sculpture garden which showcases works by internationally renowned artists, you will have an opportunity to see a whole range of temporary exhibitions presented during viennacontemporary. Gustav Klimt’s last works will be presented in a special exhibition at the Upper Belvedere together with the last female portrait he created,: Lady with Fan, which is on show in Vienna again after more than a century. Till November 1, you can see Ugo Rondinone and the world’s largest rainbow painting made by children aged 6 to 12 years that have painted rainbow pictures creating a hope-filled project that will be launched in the spring of 2021.

Get a chance to explore the works of a pioneer of a distinct, artistic ecology -– Lois Weinberger, or a German artist, Maja Vukoje, who concentrates on cultural hybridity and transculturality as basic conditions of our globalized lives.

Lois Weinberger, Green Man, 2004, Photo: Paris Tsitsos © Studio Lois Weinberger Courtesy: Studio Lois Weinberger and Gallery Krinzinger Vienna
Lois Weinberger, Green Man, 2004, Photo: Paris Tsitsos © Studio Lois Weinberger Courtesy: Studio Lois Weinberger and Gallery Krinzinger Vienna

  1. Curated by


Curated by is a gallery festival that takes place from 4 September to 2 October with its opening weekend on Saturday 04.09 and Sunday 05.09, 12pm – 6pm. It presents solo and group exhibitions curated by international and national curators. This year, the theme of the festival is COMEDY – examining the disappearance of the boundaries between comedy and tragedy, and their interpenetration. You can read the essay by Estelle Hoy exploring this concept here: www.curatedby.at/essay

Participating Curators & Galleries:

  • Charim Galerie / curated by Olesya Turkina
  • Crone Wien / curated by Poetry Machine
  • Croy Nielsen / curated by Nicolas Trembley
  • EXILE / curated by Cindy Sissokho
  • FELIX GAUDLITZ / curated by Niloufar Emamifar and Pujan Karambeigi
  • GIANNI MANHATTAN / curated by Sarah Johanna Theurer
  • Galerie Martin Janda / curated by Francesco Pedraglio
  • Galerie Kandlhofer / curated by Phoebe Cripps
  • Georg Kargl Fine Arts / curated by Valentinas Klimašauskas
  • Christine König Galerie / curated by Andrea Bellini
  • Krinzinger Schottenfeld / curated by Jannis Varelas
  • Krobath / curated by SPATZI SPEZIAL
  • LAYR / curated by Studio for Propositional Cinema
  • Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art / curated by Stephan Stoyanov
  • Meyer Kainer / curated by Zdenek Felix
  • Galerie nächst St.Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder / curated by Martin Germann
  • Raum mit Licht / curated by Salvatore Viviano
  • GABRIELE SENN GALERIE / curated by Jörg Heiser & Sarah Khan
  • shore / curated by Bonny Poon
  • Silvia Steinek Galerie / curated by Pierre-Yves Desaive
  • SOPHIE TAPPEINER / curated by Lisa Long
  • VIN VIN / curated by Francesco Tenaglia
  • Galerie Hubert Winter / curated by Mouna Mekouar
  • Zeller van Almsick / curated by The Performance Agency
curated by, viennacontemporary

  1. Haus Wien

Kunstverein Haus
Große Neugasse 44/2, 
1040 Vienna


The second edition of Haus Wien is taking place in Vienna from August 30 – September 5, 2021 during the most important art fair in Austria. 

Haus is a collaborative and experimental exhibition format that brings together various artistic and curatorial interventions gathered in an intimate setting. The most important idea of ​​this project is rooted in independence – it is non-profit and it’s led by artist exhibition spaces that demonstrate new modes of collaborating based on non-hierarchical structures. 

  1. Jüdisches Museum Wien

Museum Judenplatz
Judenpl. 8, 1010 Vienna

Museum Dorotheergasse
Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Vienna


Jüdisches Museum Wien welcomes its visitors at two locations: Museum Judenplatz and Museum Dorotheergasse. 

In its permanent exhibitions, the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna documents Vienna’s Jewish life from the Middle Ages to the present day. There are plenty of temporary exhibitions combining the Jewish history of the city with cultural and socio-historical themes. During viennacontemporary you will have a chance to see three exhibitions taking place in both locations. Museum Judenplatz holds an exhibition of a photographer Yevgeny Khaldei who documented the liberation of Vienna by the Red Army as an official war reporter. At Dorotheergasse visit Just in at M. E. Mayer, which pays tribute to the popular but sadly long-forgotten Viennese perfumery at the visible storage and “Everyman’s Jews: 100 Years Salzburg Festival”.

Lockenhaus, 1945, Collection Erich Klein, Image Jewgenij Chaldej
Lockenhaus, 1945, Collection Erich Klein, Image Jewgenij Chaldej

  1. Kunsthalle Wien

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier
Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna

Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz
Treitlstraße 2, 1040 Vienna


Kunsthalle Wien welcomes its visitors at two locations: Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier and Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz. 

This year, Museumquartier will present two exhibitions:

And if I devoted my life to one of its feathers? combines works by more than 35 artists from around the world. Their works seek to awaken public consciousness to the realities of environmental exploitation and to question traditional Western patriarchal models, gender roles, and enduring colonial and racist discourses. 

Averklub Collective. Manuš Means Human presents the Averklub group’s latest research and artworks which were created in collaboration with various generations of residents of the Chanov housing estate. Artists look into successes and failures of Roma emancipation policies during socialism.

Karlsplatz will present Ho Rui An’s first solo exhibition in Europe. He is a Singapore-based artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance, and theory. The Ends of a Long Boom investigates the complex ramifications of late-capitalist ideology in the media and in cultural production presented in his most recent video installations and other works which he created especially for this exhibition.

Installation view: And if I devoted my life to one of its feathers, Kunsthalle Wien 2021, photo: www.kunst-dokumentation.com
Installation view: And if I devoted my life to one of its feathers, Kunsthalle Wien 2021, photo: www.kunst-dokumentation.com


Untere Weißgerberstraße 13, 1030 Vienna


Founded by one of the most important Austrian artists, – Friedensreich Hundertwasser, it is not only a space that exhibits the largest collection in the world of his paintings, printed graphics, tapestries and architectural designs –. Kunst Haus Wien is Vienna’s first “green museum” presenting its founder’s visionary ecological commitment as well as a house dedicated to photography exhibitions.

This year during viennacontemporary, you can visit the museum to see Ines Doujak’s exhibit in which she refers to subjectively and culturally shaped approach to nature. She created an installation especially for the exhibition in Kunst Haus, called Landscape Painting. It was developed by using a natural archive at her disposal as artistic material. The standardised classification and naming of plants, according to the Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné, often went hand in hand with the colonisation and strategic exploitation of nature. The artist counters this system by renaming over 100 plants with the names of revolutionary women from the past and present, including the Brazilian women’s rights activist Maria da Penha, the Philippine guerrilla commander Felipa Culala alias Dayang-Dayang, and the Afghan rapper Paradise Sorouri.

Exhibition view „Ines Doujak. Landscape painting” Photo: Markus Wörgötter”
Exhibition view „Ines Doujak. Landscape painting” Photo: Markus Wörgötter”

  1. Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna


Kunsthistorisches Museum is one of the largest galleries in the world with an extremely valuable permanent collection of European paintings, ancient art, and numismatic objects.

During viennacontemporary you will have the possibility to see an installation by artist Susanna Fritscher. Her work was created specifically for the unique architectural setting of Theseus Temple and consists of a parcours formed by thousands of translucent silicone threads stretched from ceiling to floor.


Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna


At the time of viennacontemporary, Leopold Museum presents two exhibitions. 

The first exhibition is called Josef Pillhofer:. In a dialogue with Cézanne, Giacometti, Picasso, Rodin… With it, marking the tenth anniversary of the artist’s death in 2020 as well as his 100th birthday in 2021, the Museum is dedicating a comprehensive retrospective to Josef Pillhofer, one of the most eminent sculptors and draftsmen in Austria.

The exhibition The Body Electric: Erwin Osen and Egon Schiele at the Leopold Museum is based on a number of recently discovered drawings by Erwin Osen. In the exhibition, Osen’s drawings from the Garrison Hospital are juxtaposed with his portraits, executed two years previously, of patients from the psychiatric hospital Am Steinhof, as well as with the depictions of pregnant women and new-borns Egon Schiele was able to create in 1910 at the 2nd Gynecological Hospital. The medical context is inscribed into all these images, though the questions raised by them about the background of their creation, about gaze and objectification are not limited to them. With this perspectivation, The Body Electric illustrates that, within the context of a “clinical modernism”, seemingly well-known works may be viewed in an entirely new light.

Exhibition views The Body Electric © Leopold Museum, Vienna, Photo: Lisa Rastl
Exhibition views The Body Electric © Leopold Museum, Vienna, Photo: Lisa Rastl

  1.  MAK – Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst / Gegenwartskunst

Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna


Museum of Applied Arts has a lot to show to its visitors this year. 

The Vienna Biennale for change 2021 aspires to fire our imaginations, promote the vision of eco-socially sustainable societies and economies, and offer innovative ideas and solutions: to mitigate the climate crisis, to restore and preserve ecosystems, to maintain biodiversity, and to use digital technologies for the benefit of the climate and environment. It not only encourages visitors to stop and reconsider but also demands that every socio-political force and every individual take resolute action to overcome the climate and ecological crisis.

Woman artists of the Wiener Werkstätte. Names that immediately come to mind when thinking of who influenced the style of the Wiener Werkstätteare are those of the great male artists Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Dagobert Peche. But female artists were also involved in the WW’s creations. In the course of our research, about 180 female artists were identified and approximately half of these are represented in an exhibition titled Women artists of the Wiener Werkstätte.

You will also have a chance to see the art of Erwin Wurm – Dissolution. Erwin. His ceramic sculptures, reminiscent of abstract characters, mirror deconstructions, deformations, distortions, contortions, as well as dissolution and decline— though the artist is playing with paradox all the time. In these sculptural forms, Wurm combines realism with abstraction. The multifaceted gestures of an imaginary role play are familiar to us; at the same time, the abstract, sculptural forms assume figurative, human traits.

MAK Exhibition View, 2021, ERWIN WURM. Dissolution, from left to right: Erwin Wurm, Peace Cautious, 2018, Female, 2020, Courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac, MAK Branch Geymüllerschlössel, © Bildrecht, Vienna 2021, Photo: Aslan Kudrnofsky/MAK
MAK Exhibition View, 2021, ERWIN WURM. Dissolution, from left to right: Erwin Wurm, Peace Cautious, 2018, Female, 2020, Courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac, MAK Branch Geymüllerschlössel, © Bildrecht, Vienna 2021, Photo: Aslan Kudrnofsky/MAK

  1.  mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien

Museumsplatz 1, A-1070 Vienna


The mumok is the largest museum in Central Europe for art since modernism. It makes the various aspects of the international and Austrian avant-garde accessible to everyone interested in the arts.

In the beginning of September, the visitors will have a chance to see three interesting exhibitions. 

The first one being Ane Mette Hol: Becoming (working title). The artist explores marginal phenomena of art production. Her eye locked on minor matter—items that fall on the ground while making art in the studio, for instance, or traces left in an exhibition space after installing the works—she sharpens the viewers’ awareness of the conditions surrounding artistic production.

Up to April next year you can visit Enjoy – the mumok Collection in Change. The selected works range from classical modernism to the present day, following the path of the collection’s development. Twenty years after mumok opened in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier, and forty years after the founding of the Austrian Ludwig Foundation, this exhibition is both a survey of the past and a glimpse ahead to the future.

The last one on our list is a solo exhibition of Heimo Zobernig. Painting, along with sculpture, film, performance, and design, is a central component of his intermedia art. Since the beginning of his artistic practice in the early 1980s, the artist has built up a comprehensive painterly oeuvre, always based on his attempt to explore colour like a “scientist.”. Thus, in Zobernig’s work, painting has become a machine for the creation of insight. Characteristics of the artist’s method in this context are strategies of simplification, standardization, and systematization using predefined rules and the artistic appropriation of industrial norms and widespread samples (such as TV test patterns).

Corita Kent The sea queen, 1967
Corita Kent, The sea queen, 1967

  1.  Secession

Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession
Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Vienna


At the moment, Secession hosts three exceptional exhibitions. Until 5 September you have the last chance to see all of them at Friedrichstraße.

French contemporary artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is working in such genres as: environmental art, installation, photography, and film. For her formally spare environments, she often combines literary references, influences from films, and quotations from other artists in rooms that are suffused with a peculiar mood. She is presenting her art during an exhibition Volcanic Excursion (a vision) for which the artist has created an extremely condensed environment –: a 79-feet-wide and 16-feet-tall pictorial collage convenes role models from the past and the present, colleagues who share her ideas and friends for a fictional trans feminist and antiracist gathering, countering the fissures that have come to mar the social fabric with a tableau exuding strength and confidence, optimism and courage. 

The conceptual draftsman and sculptor František Lesák’s work is dedicated to describing and understanding the world of objects and associated questions of perception. Creating systems of spatial reference, exploring alternating perspectives, surveying and mapping selected sceneries, and toying with shifts of scale are key elements of his creative toolset. 

At the Secession, during his exhibition Supposition and Reality, he shows several bodies of work, mostly dating from the past few years, that have not, or only rarely, been seen on public display. The presentation sheds light on the contemporaneity of his art and continuities in his oeuvre.

Karimah Ashadu’s practice examines conditions of living and working in the socioeconomic context of West Africa. The filmmaker and visual artist’s new film installation Plateau, which premieres at the Secession, follows undocumented workers mining for tin and columbite on the Jos Plateau in central Nigeria. Without moralizing, Ashadu brings into focus the beauty in the everyday and people’s self-reliance and struggle for emancipation.

Karimah Ashadu, Plateau, 2021, installation view Secession 2021, photo: Pascal Petignat
Karimah Ashadu, Plateau, 2021, installation view Secession 2021, photo: Pascal Petignat

  1.  Wien Museum Karlsplatz Open Air

Karlsplatz 8, 1040 Vienna


Don’t miss an exciting project at Wien Museum Karlsplatz Open Air. One of the most famous squares in Vienna, yet not a classic tourist hotspot – a transit zone and green space, venue for events and discourse, location of educational and cultural institutions, problem zone and urban oasis. The exhibition Urban Natures Street Art at the Construction Side project on the construction fence of Wien Museum Neu, becomes a canvas for street art in the summers of 2021 and 2022. Today’’s Karlsplatz is the starting point for the often site-specific art – a place that is as contradictory as it is exciting, where the most diverse forms of use and abuse collide. 


  1.  Albertina Museum

Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna


The Museum is devoting a monographic exhibition to Franz Hubmann, one of Austria’s most important post-war photojournalists. The exhibition Franz Hubmann. Artist Portraits. The Helmut Klewan Donation concentrates on a selection of artist portraits taken by Hubmann between the 1950s and the 1990s. His images of Picasso, Chagall, Giacometti, and Warhol are matched in their immediacy and candidness by those of Lassnig, Rainer, and Wotruba. In such photographs, Hubmann convincingly demonstrates his instinct for expressive moments and his interest in the human face.

read also viennacontemporary, (c) Nicko Havranek

A Shift Towards Proactiveness. A Conversation with the New Artistic Director of the viennacontemporary

Dobromiła Błaszczyk Aug 25, 2021

viennacontemporary is the most renowned contemporary art fair in Central Europe. That’s why we spoke with the new Artistic Director of the fair — Boris Ondreička. In this uncertain financial climate, we talked about how the art market is changing, how Covid-19 might influence collectors’ buying choices and how the fair impacts the Viennese art scene.

Now, if you are looking for something more, probably less art-related, there are plenty of events Vienna has to offer in the beginning of September. We decided to share some of the most interesting ones for you to live this experience to the fullest and dive into the Viennese lifestyle. 

  1. Rathausplatz Film Festival

Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna


Rathausplatz Film Festival takes place each summer, at the square in front of Vienna’s Rathaus city hall which turns into an open-air cinema. This year, from 3 July to 4 September you have a chance to participate in free showing of operas, concerts, and gigs on screen. This film festival has a separate gastronomy section as well. 

  1. Technical Museum, Artificial intelligence?

Mariahilfer Straße 212, 1140 Vienna


An exhibition at the Technical Museum lasts until summer 2022 and seeks to highlight the true scientific reality, technological potential, and sociocultural implications of AI in the modern world. This huge interactive exhibition is spread across five levels.

Return to the homepage

This might interest you