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700 museums open their doors for Long Night event

Night owls and culture vultures can explore over 700 of Austria’s museums from 6pm to 1am on Saturday, courtesy of the ORF’s Long Night of Museums event.

700 museums open their doors for Long Night event
The hare with amber eyes. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband/Michael Harvey

Many museums are offering special events or exhibitions for the occasion. One ticket covers all the museums in the city where you are based and costs €15 (or €12 for concessions). Children aged 12 can enjoy the event for free. Tickets can be purchased at the Museum Information Point in every state capital (in Vienna this is located at Maria-Theresien-Platz), and in the museums themselves.

As well as the bigger museums we recommend checking out some of the smaller, quirkier offerings – such as the Museum of Funeral Services in Vienna’s Central Cemetery, Vienna's Urania Observatory, or the Alpen Verein museum in Tyrol. 

Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) also happens to be celebrating its 125th anniversary and to mark the occasion it’s showing the famous ‘hare with amber eyes’ miniature sculpture. The sculpture inspired a family memoir by the British ceramicist Edmund de Waal. His family, the Ephrussis, were once a very wealthy European Jewish banking dynasty, centered in Odessa, Vienna and Paris.

They lost almost everything in 1938 when the Nazis seized their property, including priceless works of art. However an easily hidden collection of 264 Japanese netsuke miniature sculptures was miraculously saved, and tucked away inside a mattress by a loyal maid at the Palais Ephrussi in Vienna during the war years. It will be the first time the ‘hare with amber eyes’ has been displayed in Vienna. Netsuke are beautifully crafted decorative buttons made of ivory or wood, which were traditionally attached to a man’s kimono.

An exhibition of Edmund de Waal’s work opens at the KHM on October 11th, and will feature further works which were recovered from the Ephrussi collection.

More information on the Long Night of Museums on October 1st at: https://langenacht.orf.at/

ART

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy

As the art world plans to celebrate the centenary of Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele's death, some of his nudes have been dubbed too racy to show in their full glory, not least in the London underground.

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy
Photo: Christian Lendl/Vienna Tourist Board/AFP
Austrian museums will next year host a series of exhibitions and events to mark the centenary of his passing but time has apparently not dimmed some of the prudish attitudes prevalent in his lifetime regarding his rawest works, Vienna Tourist Board director Norbert Kettner told AFP.
   
Two of his works — “Seated Male Nude (Self-Portrait),” from 1910, and his 1914 work “Girl With Orange Stockings,” appear with their genitals covered over after Transport for London found the uncensored originals beyond the pale.
 
Advertising hoardings in Germany have similarly covered the offending parts, even though the works were deliberately selected as “we wanted to raise a discussion and the theme of nudity seemed pertinent,” Kettner told AFP.
 
“The campaign was ready but when we came up with the first visuals we had several reactions of 'that won't do; regulations won't allow us to show genitalia,'” he explained after the London Tube and a German airport both complained.
 
“We had the green light for a very large format and, the day before they went up, agreement was withdrawn as an ethics committee felt (full nude versions) wouldn't be acceptable for an airport public” or patrons of London's underground trains.
 
The Viennese tourist office quickly revamped the pictures, covering up the offending organs and adding on the blotted out section the slogan, “SORRY, 100 years old but still too daring today.”
 
They have also added the hashtag #ToArtItsFreedom in London – a play on the “To every age its art. To every art its freedom” inscribed on the entrance of the Vienna Secession building housing the union of Austrian artists movement.
 
Kettner revealed that a Viennese display did not share the artistic-sexual qualms of the British or the Germans and had approved a “non-censored” version.
 
The prolific Schiele, born in 1890 and who died of Spanish flu aged 28, was not always popular in his homeland where some, notably in conservative circles, took a dim view of his vision of tortured eroticism.
 
Nonetheless, a retrospective of his work will see a number of exhibitions highlight his talents as well as those of his first mentor and Secession co-founder Gustav Klimt.