“Vienna – Berlin. The Art of Two Cities ” – a must see exhibition at the Belvedere – has already drawn a lot of attention. Curator Alexander Klee answered how the dialog between these two cities evolved throughout the years and pointed on their differences.
What is the response to the exhibition? In Vienna? In Berlin?
The exhibition, which could be viewed in the Berlinische Galerie between October 24, 2013 and January 27, 2014, was a hit in Berlin! It attracted around 130,000 visitors. The level of attendance is also extraordinary in Vienna. The enthusiastic response from Vienna itself is particularly remarkable, and thoroughly gratifying. It shows not only a general interest in the topic, but also the relevance of the issue.
What did the dialog between these two cities look like at the beginning of the 20th century? How does it look now?
Both cities experienced economic and social development with similar social consequences. However Vienna has been a political, economic, social, and cultural center for centuries, whereas Berlin only assumed this role since the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871. In comparison with this time, Berlin now has a “poor but sexy” appeal, and Vienna as a cultural platform is regarded as a cultural and economic hub. The freedom that Berlin offers stands in opposition to the diversity of stimuli and cultural influences that can be found in Vienna.
What are the clichés about people in Vienna and Berlin that haven’t changed?
The clichés have not changed and are more or less as relevant now as they were then. Together the two cities form the strong, young art scene that seeks and finds its scope here as it does there.
What do the contemporary art scenes in Vienna and Berlin have in common? What is the biggest difference?
The two cities have little in common due to their cultural surroundings and their completely separate reference points. Nevertheless there is an active exchange of art.
Many people call Berlin Europe’s cultural capital for contemporary art. Do you think Vienna is the next Berlin?
Both cities have different identification models: As the new capital city, Berlin represents the young metropolis again. By contrast, Vienna is located in a cultural region and has once again assumed the bridging function.
Art Historian Alexander Klee has been working as the Curator for the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century at the Belvedere Palace and Museum in Vienna since 2010. He is the founding member of the Adolf Hölzel Foundation in Stuttgart and is compiling the complete catalog of Adolf Hölzel’s works. The exhibitions that he has curated at the Belvedere Palace and Museum include the ones on Max Oppenheimer and Hans Makart, as well as the current Vienna – Berlin exhibition. He focuses his research on the 19th and 20th century.
“Viena-Berlin. The Art of Two Cities” – from Feb 14, 2014 until Jun 15, 2014
Location: Lower Belvedere
Daily 10 am to 6 pm
Wednesday 10 am to 9 pm
Rennweg 6, 1030 Vienna