He who has the gold... When tracking a story, an investigative journalist is told to follow the money. In the art world, that’s not so easy. There are two types of art markets:  One is the art circulating between art buyers, museums and investors, bought and sold on the global art market. Here art is property, as a commodity that can...
New Year’s Concert by the Philharmonic The New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, said to be the “most famous concert in the world”, is held three times each year, in the Golden Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein, at 11 a.m. on New Year’s Day with two previews on 30 and 31 December. Long since sold out, the concert, with Latvian Mariss...
We’ve been getting great feedback from our readers. Thanks very much for your thoughts, ideas and insights.   To the editor, Thank you for the interesting and informative magazine about this great city. I was pleased to read the article on our Grätzl, the Freihausviertel. I am surprised though that there is no mention of the United Nations (and the Vienna International...
The Paris attacks make the return of border controls essential This essay was first written in the early hours following the six-attack night of horror in Paris.  Much in the European fishbowl of terror alarms and refugee floods I knew would look different by the time this came into your hands.  Things would shift, leaders would react and the wheels...
What impact will China’s slowdown have on the red-hot contemporary art market? For emerging-market investors, art has become a critical tool for facilitating capital flight and hiding wealth. These investors, particularly the Chinese, have become a major factor in the art market’s spectacular price bubble of the last several years. So, with emerging market economies from Russia to Brazil mired in...
Does culture still matter in a world where big money often defines value? On a Monday evening in mid-November, the narrow street in front of the Dorotheum was throbbing with activity, as a steady stream of high-polish guests poured in over a golden carpet into the marble depths of the Continent’s largest auction house. It was opening night for Vienna Art...

Art for Arms

From antiquity to today, looting art for the black market remains big business There is nothing new about plundering antiquities for money. In 1869 the Ottoman rulers criminalized the unauthorized export of cultural treasures from Syria, Iraq and their other territories. It didn’t help then and helps little now – except against the occasional hapless tourist like the METROPOLE journalist...
As fear of terrorists and calls for heightened security sweep the European continent, experts argue for keeping the door open to secure pensions and invigorate Europe’s future workforce. November’s terrorist attacks in Paris are likely to compound Europe’s deep divisions over how to respond to its refugee and migrant crisis, particularly given reports that one of the perpetrators arrived amid...
The importance of art depends on what society makes of it. Four pillars of Vienna’s art scene told us how they – a museum director, a curator, a gallerist and an art collector – want to affect and promote artists and their work.   Hans-Peter Wipplinger Director of the Leopold Museum “A museum must not be a graveyard of history.” Having started as director...
Getting connected and funded as a foreign artist – with a little help from City Hall For creative professionals, Vienna could be the New York of the 1960s or the early ‘90s in Berlin. Back then, as here now, artists can find affordable rents and living costs and time to actually make art, as well as friends destined to be...
In staging their signature shows, Vienna’s art exhibitors navigate an opaque world filled with secretive collectors, oligarchs and layers of fancy lawyers Vienna is a city of exhibitions. Big exhibitions. Expensive exhibitions – with dozens of masterpieces worth €10,000,000-plus each, and insurance bills that can soar to over half a million euros. The journey of a masterpiece from the auction...
Helga Nowotny takes on institutional science in her new book: The Cunning of Uncertainty Helga Nowotny is fascinated with uncertainty. Not with its risks, but with its possibilities. As a scholar and former president of the European Research Council (ERC), this has been her life-blood. We have “entered a phase in which uncertainty ... is losing the allure of being a...
Anna Porter’s The Ghosts of Europe shows different paths to transition and the continuing identity crisis Nearly three decades after the “velvet” revolutions of 1989, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) continue to have difficulty living up to the democratic standards set by Western Europe during the Cold War. Throughout the Iron Curtain years between 1947 and 1989,...
Peter Vergo’s re-issued "Art in Vienna, 1898-1918," recounts the fitful birth of the Modern In conservative Vienna of the 1890s, culture had ossified, while the world around it was being reinvented through industry and scientific progress.  The writer Hermann Bahr, a driving force of Jung Wien (Young Vienna), argued that life in Vienna had been “transformed down to its very...
David Clay Large’s engaging history: The Grand Spas of Central Europe  In a sense, David Clay Large took a lifetime to write The Grand Spas of Central Europe.  Even as a young academic he understood – as his sub-title A History of Intrigue, Politics, Art and Healing makes clear – that the spa towns of Karlsbad, Marienbad in Moravia, of...
Ball season is back and we asked how the tradition has endured so long and what changes will keep the debutantes coming. Ball season is like a microcosm of Viennese life. Well, a certain kind of life. The pillars of each community – confectioners, coffee brewers, musicians or doctors – meet with the 18-year-olds “entering” society, whatever that means nowadays....
Citizens and celebrities gather at the ORF Radiokulturhaus to mourn and protest the passing of an era. Early in Spring, Das Ohr, the four-meter high ear sculpture standing outside the Radiokulturhaus on Argentinierstrasse, was attacked with green paint by a 45-year old woman. Quickly apprehended by security, she said simply “I don’t like it.” What’s not to like? The statue...
Spittelberg
Spittelberg hosts one of the city’s loveliest Christmas markets, a favorite with the locals who come for the specialty foods and handicrafts – and happily, it’s harder for tourists to find. Newcomers never really believe it when people say Wien is a’ Dorf, “Vienna is a village”. How many villages have a world-class subway system, an international airport, or rank first...
Portraits by Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka at the Lower Belvedere Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka are hardly new to art lovers in this city. These three masters color the background of Viennese life. But in case you’re feeling overly familiar with the Wiener Moderne, take heart: Along with the sumptuous society portraits, the angular, masturbating nudes, the thick...
Illustrating the unlikely friendship between two artists, the Albertina displays over 100 works At first glance, it may not be evident that two very different artists like Lyonel Feininger – comic strip pioneer, leading exponent of Expressionism and early Bauhaus member – and Alfred Kubin, the highly influential illustrator and early member of Der Blaue Reiter, would have much to...
A plethora of performances on stages both large and small, to delight even the youngest. So borrow a child and go! One of the most wondrous moments I remember with my elder son was his rapt attention, sitting in my lap, watching his first live ballet. He was two. It had been an experiment, in the last row by the door....
Vienna’s English Theatre’s Pygmalion is enjoyable, but fails to capture the true Shavian spirit George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion at Vienna’s English Theatre is selling out to full houses, with audiences relishing the wit, and applauding for more. It’s hardly a surprise: The famed tale of linguist Henry Higgins, who wagers he can turn the flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a duchess...
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel soldier through this beautiful yet shallow reflection on age, memory and friendship in the Swiss Alps There is no doubt that  academy award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino (La grande Belleza, 2014) makes beautiful films, and his latest, Youth, is one more stunner. Shot on location in and around the Art Noveau Hotel Schatzalp in Davos, Switzerland, the...
Todd Haynes’ drama sets romance against a hostile society, gaining accolades and generating academy award buzz No stranger to challenging the heteronormative, director Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, I’m not There) revisits the socially repressive 1950s, previously portrayed by him in Far from Heaven (2002) with much technicolor sarcasm. This time he plays it straight though to better serve his subject material,...
Silvesterpfad
Ringing in the New Year takes you through the many-sided Viennese soul This article has been updated to reflect the 2017/2018 times and dates.  Beneath the majesty of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, two slinky Goths in thick eyeshadow and black nail polish are dancing in a loving embrace to the strains of the Blue Danube Waltz, the music provided by what seems...
Die Liebe offers a passionate tapas-style meal alongside delicious wines, all within the quiet bustle of Marktwirtschaft, the new indoor food market. The concept of Marktwirtschaft and its mainstay restaurant Die Liebe doesn’t challenge Viennese diners. It’s at the intersection between a Wirtshaus (tavern), a Lebensmittelmarkt (food market), a café and a Feinkostladen (delicatessen) – all things the Viennese know...
Steiereck's Chef Heinz Reitbauer's quest is perfection – or a reflection of the essence. Chef Heinz Reitbauer ends many of his sentences with a pleasant “ja.” Like a graceful exclamation point, it befits his Restaurant Steirereck, currently listed as number 15 of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants.” In Austria, he and his restaurant are unarguably at the top. Reitbauer took over...
At the Kunstsupermarkt, original art has a tiny price tag. Who knows? You may pick up the next Ernst Fuchs, Hermann Nitsch or Gottfried Helnwein. What ever happened to art being a “matter of taste”? If people didn’t have to be rich, eccentric and well-connected to purchase original art we might get closer to enjoying the stuff for its aesthetic merits....
Wines
It’s one of the miracles of Vienna – most of Austria’s greatest wines grow right nearby. ON THE VINE will guide you through our wine regions, wines and some of the growers behind them. Burgenland is first on the tour. Traveling south-east out of Vienna, once past Schwechat, the Pannonian plain is flat to Budapest – except the area around and...
Skiing
The sequestered slopes and secluded log cabins of Zettersfeld offer a different kind of skiing holiday. There’s a certain romance in packing a week’s provisions into the cabins of a gondola cable car. OK, this is hardly the pioneer spirit of a ski trip to wilder parts of Alaska, but when you are leaving the world of cars and supermarkets...
We asked the director of the Belvedere Museum, Agnes Husslein-Arco whether she thought museums are primarily a bridge between times and cultures, or a preserver and protector of a society’s heritage? Dear Readers, I think they are equally important – by presenting and explaining art, we not only build bridges between times and cultures, but above all, between people.  Art is a...