Ever walked through the innards of an alien? You can at the Kunsthaus.
Like the Murinsel, the Kunsthaus (“Art Museum”) was created for European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2003. The architects, Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, took a mass of iridescent acrylic panels and wove them into an amorphous blue blob. If it seems strange to have a “friendly alien” embedded in the red roofs of a medieval city, then you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Because the interior is even more disorientating. There are curves that lead into darkness and slanted escalators that never come down. Security guards wander through the Stygian gloom. Provided you can find the “Needle” at the top of the building, you may take a seat inside the glass terrace and browse through books on the dialectics of 1970s hyper-realism. Or something like that.
The Kunsthaus specializes in contemporary art from the 1960s to the present day. All exhibitions are temporary. When I visited, they had an “art production” on Landscape in Motion. As part of this experience, you were invited to watch Guido van der Werve walk across the ice ahead of a giant icebreaker.
You could read this as an indictment of our impact on the Arctic. Then again, you could say it’s a man walking across ice.
Tips for Visiting
The Kunsthaus is located south of the Mariahilferkirche, just across the river from the Franziskanerviertel and Franziskanerkloster. It is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday; guided tours take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. or on request. Stow your bags in the luggage lockers in the basement & don’t miss the bathrooms!