There is a palpable sense of anticipation in the air here in Vienna at the moment as a whole host of new openings – and re-openings – over the next few months will add more highlights to the capital’s museum scene. Furthermore, a series of major exhibitions will complement what will be a very exciting year for culture in the city.
New Museum Upside Down
This new addition to the City Museum has been eagerly awaited, and rightly so. Currently taking shape in the heart of Vienna and due to open in early 2022, a brand new museum will provide a fitting home for the Heidi Horten, one of Europe’s leading private art collections. For the past 30 years, patron Heidi Goss-Horten, one of the few founders of museums worldwide, has pieced together an impressive cross-section of art history from early modernity to the present day – stars of the show include the work of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall and Gerhard Richter.
Her remarkable group will reside in the Stöckl Building – a majestic palace in the old town – in the Hanuschhof, which is located between the Vienna State Opera, the Albertina and the Burggarten. Work on transforming the space began in summer 2020; The interior of the building has been completely destroyed and the facade has been carefully restored and greened. In all, about 1,500 square meters of exhibition space is available, spread over three seemingly floating levels. Contemporary art is also set to play a major role in the new museum.
Hanuschgasse 3, 1010 Vienna
The former summer residence of Prince Eugen in Rennweg, a striking element of the Baroque Belvedere complex, will open its impressive doors to museum-goers once again after a comprehensive renovation project. The Lower Belvedere was completed in 1716 – including the stately state rooms – in keeping with the standards of contemporary international museums over the past few months. The new restaurant, numerous accessibility and technology updates will ensure a world-class museum experience. The original scope of the renovation project was expanded to take advantage of the pandemic.
The Lower Belvedere will reopen in January 2022 with a major exhibition examining the special influence of Viennese psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud on the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali.
Rennweg 6, 1030 Vienna
A new look at medical history
Closed for renovation, the Josephinum Museum in the 9th district, containing the medical collections of the University of Vienna, will reopen in 2022. Work to reconfigure and expand the heritage-listed 18th century building as a museum dedicated to medical history. In 2019. The main focus of the project was to return the original classic masterpiece to its former glory. The central part of the Josephinum – a historic hall nine meters high – will be completely reconstructed, with the outer courtyard and main entrance reconfigured.
Constructed in 1785 during the reign of Emperor Joseph II, it was originally an academy of military surgery to train doctors and midwives. Its collection of medicinal artifacts is unparalleled in Europe. Several permanent exhibitions are planned in the future.
Währinger Strasse 25, 1090 Vienna
A new public space dedicated to culture is currently being formed at Stubenviertel in District One, adding another global hotspot to the capital’s portfolio. Under this new project, the former headquarters of the Post Office will be converted into Lebendiges Haus. The sprawling complex of buildings that served as the headquarters of Austrian Post between 1850 and 2011 is being completely renovated in preparation for its future as a mixed-use facility housing apartments, shops, hospitality providers, offices, co-working facilities, and cultural spaces.
Responsibility for its artistic design rests with artist and perception researcher Sha and his team of creatives in Vienna. At present, work is continuing to create a new type of contemporary museum in various locations within the historic building. Dominikanerhof’s multimedia artwork will add a focal point in the form of an immersive 360-degree experience for all senses. Tenants will move to different parts of the complex as the individual phases are completed. The cultural show will be available from Summer/Fall 2022 – free of charge and around the clock.
Dominikanerbastei 11, 1010 Vienna
Another of Vienna’s leading ladies is scheduled to be honored with her own museum in 2022: Marguerite Schütte Lehwitzky. Her latest apartment in Vienna’s 5th district – where she has lived for three decades – was designed to the personal requirements of a leading architect, and is currently being renovated and restored. The recently listed, heritage-listed 55 sq m apartment is 35 sq m and is scheduled to open to visitors in summer 2022. In its new form as the Schütte Lehutzky Center, the space will open once a week and feature a temporary focus sponsored by Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W).
Schütte-Lihotzky, who died in the city in 2000 shortly before her 103rd birthday, left a lasting legacy. Remembered as a pioneer in the field of social housing, she was also an advocate for women’s liberation, a peace activist, and a campaigner against National Socialism. A major milestone in her design career occurred in 1926 when she invented the fitted kitchen, which she named the Frankfurt Kitchen. But Loos protégée Schütte-Lihotzky vehemently refused to be categorized by her greatest invention.
Franzensgasse 16/40, 1050 Vienna