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Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons, an exhibition organised by the culture and art portal

Destinations · Europe · austria · Vienna · Insider's view ·

Insider: Mia Legenstein & Katharina Abpurg

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Insider: Mia Legenstein & Katharina Abpurg

A Metropolis With the Character of a Village

Vienna has always been famous for its vibrant cultural scene and continues to be so today. Due to its strategic location in Central Europe, the city serves as a bridge between the East and the West and is a crossroads of cultures, including the arts. A fine example of this is the Viennacontemporary art fair, which will be held this year from September 24 to 27.

The fair’s new home – the recently renovated 20,000 m2 Marx Halle – was built in the 19th century. The Viennacontemporary art fair is unique in being the only fair to unite both Central European and Eastern European art under one roof, drawing galleries, artists and art aficionados from both the East and the West.

The fair also has a VIP programme for its special guests, among whom one can find a number of prominent art collectors from all corners of the world. Aware of the fact that this event provides visitors with arguably the most exclusive key to the city, we met with Katharina Abpurg and Mia Legenstein from the fair’s VIP relations team.

Upon returning to a city, one usually wonders what’s new and what has happened since one’s last visit. What have been the most visible changes in Vienna in recent years?

Mia: Vienna is now more international. For many years, we’ve been at the top of the list of world cities in terms of quality of life.

Katharina: It’s still a very good life balance for your income and what you get for it. Even a student can get a really nice flat inside the city.

M: New areas are emerging, like the 2nd District around Karmelitermarkt.

K: Before, the bohemian scene with all the artists’ studios was in the 7th District. This has now moved to the 2nd District, which is much larger. The 7th is already too expensive.

M: The 16th is also up-and-coming. It’s very mixed. It’s multicultural and a lot of artists are living there, and it’s still much cheaper than the 2nd District. But districts aren’t so important in Vienna, because in ten minutes you can be in the next district. It’s not Paris, where you sometimes must drive 45 minutes to your favourite bar or restaurant. Vienna is more concentrated, but at the same time, not overly so.

What do you love most about living in Vienna?

M: The public transport system. That’s really important for me. It works so well, and getting from point A to point B is so fast and never too stressful. It’s absolutely a sign of the high quality of life here.

K: We have great culture on offer, whether it’s opera or a pop concert. You can do everything here for a normal price. As I said, the life balance in Vienna is very good, also for young people. We don’t have too many sad people who are struggling. Anybody can have a good time here, and it’s not a fast city. Life here is quite slow and comfortable. That makes people want to stay in Vienna.

M: I think it’s really about the pace of life. Living in Vienna still feels a little bit like a village, but you can have everything here. Everything that you want.

Which are the must-sees at the moment for someone interested in contemporary art?

K: The Biennale (Vienna’s first art biennale is running through October 4th) is going on right now and the fair viennacontemporary in September is a Must.

M: And a tour through the best viennese galleries. They are really worth seeing. Furthermore there are always interesting exhibitions at TBA21, 21er Haus, Museumquartier, for example at Leopold Museum. There is a great online magazine which shows the cool art events every week:

K: We have many great galleries which are working on an international level and showing lively up to date program: In the 1st district there are for example: Galerie Krinzinger, Galerie Charim, Galerie Emanuel Layr, Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälderand Thoman. At Schleifmühlgasse there are Christine Koenig Galerie, Gabriele Senn, Kerstin Engholm, Andreas Huber and Georg Kargl. Finally at Eschenbachgasse you find Galerie Crone, Meyer Kainer, Steinek, Martin Janda and Krobath.

How would you describe the true Viennese people?

M: They can be difficult. Viennese people have the image of being a bit arrogant, but when you get to know them, they are sweet.

K: It’s hard to capture their hearts, but when you do, you have them forever. It’s not on a superficial level. That’s not possible here. Small talk doesn’t work in Vienna.

Could you name your favourite restaurants/bars in Vienna?

Mia&Katharina: Albertina Passage (Opernring/ Opergasse; – the most exciting dinner club in Vienna.

Skopik & Lohn (Leopoldsgasse 17; – one of the most famous restaurants in the currently stylish 2nd District. The ceiling was painted by Austrian artist Otto Zitko.

Ulrich (St. Ulrichsplatz 1; – the best wild boar schnitzel in town at the foot of the magnificent Baroque-style St. Ulrich’s Church. Zur Herknerin (Wiedner Hauptstrasse 36) – Austrian retro-style cuisine.

Kleines Café (Franziskanerplatz 3) – super-secret, super-small, super-charming. Serves the world’s best hot chocolate.

Café Hawelka (Dorotheergasse 6; – an institution. Try the legendary Buchteln. Loos Bar (Kärntner Durchgang 10; – an architectural masterpiece by Adolf Loos, still popular with locals and tourists alike.

Roberto Bar (Bauernmarkt 11-13) – oddly enough, this bar was opened by one of the former bartenders at the Loos Bar. Many young people go there and it’s always crowded.



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