As soon as you step into the sprawling courtyard of Vienna’s largest museum complex, you can feel the MQ’s immense creative energy. Works from all over the art historic map fills the buildings around you and you might not know where to begin exploring. This guide takes you through the MQ’s most important museums and collections.
Inside the largest museum for modern art in Central Europe, an impressive collection of international artists like Max Ernst, René Magritte, Pablo Picasso, Joseph Beuys, Cindy Sherman, or Andy Warhol waits for curious visitors. The mumok celebrates avant-garde works in a grey, basalt, cuboid building that appears fittingly unconventional. It also owns one of the most significant collections of Viennese Actionism, which rocked the city’s culture scene in the 20th century.
Q21 is part exhibition space, part art studio. Emerging creators take part in the museum’s artist-in-residence program to autonomously work on their projects and maybe exhibit them after. For visitors, there are rotating shows by some of the world’s most interesting contemporary artists and a behind-the-scenes tour that shows your the otherwise inaccessible work spaces.
The LEOPOLD MUSEUM, a bright sandstone cube, houses one of the most important collections of modern Austrian art. Not only does it show the world’s largest collection of works by Egon Schiele, but important art by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and designers of the Wiener Werkstätte. It’s hard to believe this wealth of stunning works was accrued by an individual, the late collector Rudolf Leopold. For a deep dive into one of Austria’s most iconic artistic periods, the LEOPOLD MUSEUM is an absolute must.
The Kunsthalle Wien is another space for rotating exhibits by mostly contemporary artists. The institution was founded in 1992 as a kind of makeshift venue for avant garde work, and it retained this free-spirited approach until today. The Kunsthalle, which runs a sister museum on Vienna’s Karlsplatz square, also hosts the Vienna Biennale, which launches at the end of May.
Architecture nerds must visit the MQ’s flagship Austrian architecture museum. Its collection holds objects and sketches by Austrian innovators in the field, a research library accessible to visitors, and a range of special exhibits that focus largely on 20th and 21st century work. The Architekturzentrum’s permanent show, a_show, takes you through the highlights of Austrian architecture from the last 200 years.