Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday, June 3

I woke up to more rain, but this time at least I brought my umbrella with me all day.

After breakfast, I dashed off to the Belvedere to see more 20th-century mostly Austrian art. I had time to walk around the upper Belvedere to see the house and then it was in to see the Klimts and others. I skipped past the Biedermeier art (art produced in Austria and Germany between the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the Revolutions of March, 1848 -- also referred to in German as the Vormärtz) on the 3rd floor to go right to the late 19th and early 20th-century art that I prefer.

They have a very nice collection, but the Klimt paintings are the stars of the show. They also have some nice Austrian expressionists works, and some great German expressionist paintings by Kirschner, Munch, and Nolde that whet my appetite to see the rest when I get to Berlin. I got my camera out and snapped pictures of the German paintings, but when I tried to take a picture of the Kokoschka, the guard came up and told me that no photographs were permitted (there weren't any signs and I figured it was a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than permission).

After I left the museum I returned to the Naschmarkt for lunch, but because it was still raining, there was no place to sit outside and I ended up eating in a chain restaurant (Nordsee). The food was so-so. Then I browsed the market and bought a haselnußschnecken for dessert.

From there I went back to the Museumsquartier to see the Museum of Modern Art collection, but most of the floors are closed in preparation for a new exhibition. Instead, I saw their two temporary exhibits on Nouveau Realisme of the 1960s and the Vienna Actionism movement of the 1960s and 70s. The most well known member of the former is Christo and the stuff was ok -- mostly conceptual art. You know, the kind made with "found objects" meant to convey a commentary on the vacuity of modern life. Still, it was more digestible than the Vienna Actionism collection. This was a very avante-garde movement that really put a great emphasis on violence and the body. The art was very physical and confrontational, with a lot of material that, I felt, reflected the Catholic emphasis on the crucifiction (only reenacted on the artists' bodies). Really not to my tastes at all.

Now, I'm off to the Hundertwasserhaus, and, if I have time, which I doubt, the Freud museum (actually, I've just decided, the other way around). If my hotel will store my luggage for me, I´m going to try to go back to the Jewish museum and see the other half in the morning, then I'll take the afternoon train to Budapest.

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