Saturday, 5 November 2011

Andy and the Mumok Factory

I just got back yesterday from Vienna (my 4th time there!) and I am really feeling like a local. I can competently take the U bahn (Subway) anywhere it goes, and I’m almost as confident with the Strassenbahn (Bus). With my map of Vienna in hand I felt unstoppable pounding the pavement, while looking for a few shops I found on This is a site that I found while looking for things to do in Vienna. It’s wonderful, not only for its artsy, cultured and cuisine savvy content but for its edited content. I really appreciate a tourist site that doesn’t make you feel like a tourist once you get there. It only lists the best of the best, writes a quirky little review and gives you the map right on the page. You can also go up to the top left corner and switch your city (which I have done for my trip to Paris!).
Here’s the link:
So go nuts and get traveling! 

 While I was in Vienna I had two very strong objectives: Go to Museums and Go Shopping at stores other than H&M and Forever XXI (Which are great, but need to be used in moderation)

So I managed to see three exhibits in two days. With the help and generosity of my host mom and sister we went to the Leopold Museum and the MUMOK on Thursday and then just Sandie and I went to the Kunsthall on Friday to see an exhibit titled Vanity.
At the Leopold there were four prominent exhibitions. The first we saw was The Excitement Continues which was walls full of modern art by many different artists. I found it to be a little all over the place. A little pop art a little realism a little charcoal a little sculpture. I suppose it gave a sense of where we are at today in the art world, an interesting contrast to the exhibit we would see next. Melancholy and Provocation was one I was looking forward to and it turned out to be my least favourite. It was mostly pictures upon pictures in every room done by Egon Schiele. He was an Austrian painter who died at the are of 28 and was a protégé of Gustav Klimt’s. It is the 10 year anniversary of the Leopold Museum and I understand why they wanted to showcase their country, but I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t so overwhelming.  Especially since this painter’s work is “characterized by a strong sense of melancholy and sadness, but also by his fascination with the unusual and the ecstatic.” There was definitely too much of a good thing here and had it been a little more edited I think I would have enjoyed it more. 

Then on the next floor, guess what, more Shiele! But this one was more enjoyable, when combined with a little Klimt and Art Nouveau it really gave the sense of a collection. Standing in front of Klimt’s “Death and Life” was really a wonderful experience. Especially after seeing the film Klimt (2006) I could marvel at it a little more educatedly. But his work really speaks for itself. Masterful.
The last floor we happened upon by accident. We got off the lift and stepped onto -2 floor to a press event to begin the new Nitsch exhibit which opened the next day. And standing twenty feet away from us was the man himself (known for his work with performance and real blood). Crazy, you’d never know from this cute little man with a santa beard clad in black cloth. My host mom said hello to her old art teacher and we all hurried back up the lift after being told the floor was closed for the press. All together a very exciting morning!

Best Pasta in Vienna
Vapiano is known in for it’s Italian cuisine, and more precisely it’s pasta. After an exhausting morning of Museums I needed to carb-up. It was my second time and my host mom’s first time there. Needless to say after the former commentary; best pasta of my life.
You enter and are given a plastic card (like a credit card) and you proceed to either a pasta, pizza, or antipasti line. Everything is freshly cooked/baked right in front of you. You order it up then swipe your card and the cook makes it, with all fresh indigents. After having a pizza last time I had to try these much talked of noodles. I ordered linguine with Pomodoro e Rucola (tomato sauce and rucola). So simple and so good, with parmesan on top my day was complete. Then after you’ve eaten, in their comfortable and very hip atmosphere you give your card to the front and pay. Easy as pie and oh sooo good. I am happy for you, but a little disappointed to say that this, I just found out, is indeed a chain restaurant. Find one near you! (soon, even in Vancouver, Canada)

The MUseum MOderner Kunst in Vienna is just as cool inside as it is outside. First impressions of the building tells the viewer exactly what to expect, minimalist, modern, cool art. Inside I had to remark at the artsy staff. Two brunette receptionists sat behind a stark white desk, one with blunt bangs and one without, and both with Rayban eyeglasses. Yep, I’m at home now. 
The exhibit Museum of Desires is described as “showing works and groups of works by pioneers of classical modernism right up to some of the most recent positions of the contemporary artists featured in the mumok collection.” We saw some excellent work that truly did depict where art had been recently and where it is going. Some that really stuck out for me were the abstract 50s and 60s works of Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis. They were displayed so beautifully it really makes one want to experiment with colour and try different combinations oneself. Next was the multi-video project Do it. Whenever I see a video in a gallery I head straight for it. But this one caught be by surprise. I was wandering around when I saw a black and white grainy film of a gun. A man in the film proceeded to show the viewer the common ways to commit suicide (shot to the head/brain/mouth) and how every way was false and could lead to an unfavorable survival. The whole thing was rather comical by the dry “matter of fact” tone in his explinations. Then, lastly, he showed the correct method, gun pointed down over one’s head. So morbid, but well edited and fascinating.
When I came around the corner on level 2 I knew there could be no mistake. It’s almost as if the entire exhibit was leading up to this one moment. Orange Car Crash is an diptych entirely painted orange with the repetition of a print of a car crash in purple not entirely covering the left panel. It was huge and said everything it needed to say. “By doing so, he questions how newspaper photos work, the visual culture they create, and how they affect our experience of reality,” beautifully said by the info brochure. I was reminded of Michael Kors’ tagline “Keep it Simple, Stupid,” (too much Project Runway for me).

Left: Orange Car Crash Andy Warhol Centre: Trixie Dee John Chamberlain Right: Plexi Louise Lawler
I also saw a Picaso, but strangely it didn’t have the effect on me as did the Warhol. Though it was true to his style this house hold name just didn’t resonate with me as much as Orange Car Crash. Also check out the movie Factory Girl (2006). It depicts the relationship between Andy Warhol and his prominent muse Edie Sedgwick and also her relationship with a folk singer (see if you can guess which one). Beautiful to watch, and set in my favourite decade.

Morris Louis Dalet Rash
Kenneth Noland Eternal Scholar

Use A Bag
After a very stimulating morning and midday it was off to shopping at of course, Mariahilfestrasse. I took the opportunity to explore the streets around there (Neubaugasse area, if you want to map it out) and visit some of the main shopping street stores. First off was Common People, small but good selection, but it had a little vintage area in the back and that made for a really wide pice range. A scarf in the front was 80 Euros and a shirt in the back was 8! I think they might need to specify their clientele. Then I went to Be a Good Girl and Wood Wood which both carry very obscure cool designers that come at a luxury price. The latter carries their own brand and the Danish Moon Spoon Saloon. Interesting to visit, but not in my price budget. Then when I thought all hope was lost of ever finding anything I could afford other than chain stores the Hallelujah chorus broke out inside Use A Brand
Use a Brand is a small store with innovative and well made clothes that range in price from the sale items (30-50 Euro) to a coat at 119 Euro (which I tried on, loved, then realizing it’s thin fall-like material put back in anticipation of a winter version). Everything is a basic with a twist, and beautiful rich colours of grey, black, white, blue and a little mint and orange.  I got a neat tunic. At first glance it’s just black with long sleeves, but look closer and you’ll see thin crisscrossed paneling that adds a neat texture, and the neck line is a sort of big crew. It looks really glamourous on, but easy. A great piece for my wardrobe and it only set me back 49 Euro; my treat for the trip. The concept of the store is very interesting as well. It’s an online store with one flagship in Vienna and all the designs are done by random people. Anyone can submit a drawing of their design. Then people vote online and every month a winner is chosen and their design is made and they get a profit for every one sold! The product is really unique clothing that the people want. Take a look:

Circle Scarf from AA

Forever XXI, yes, I caved.

Sandie and I took the next day to visit an exhibit at the Kunsthall (in between the Mumok and the Leopold). It was a bunch of fashion photographs that depict what the style was at that time. From the 30s to the present we saw it all. I rediscovered my love for the 60s and the really avant garde. There were two films, one at the entrance which was mostly a montage of fashion shows and experiences (I could pick out a few memorable Alexander McQueen shows) the next film was more planned. It featured a few shorts, my favourite being the last. It was dark, epic and delicate, in two words; Black Swan. (Wow that reference is getting over used, but I feel the film almost created it’s own genre, or enhanced one at least.) 

After that a little shopping, a little eating, and a little tea shopping!

Chocolate that comes in many different flavours

The Tea shelf in my room

(Yay Tea!)
Yes, I bought more Chai.

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