In spring 2011, the Neue Galerie will present an exhibition entitled Vienna 1900: Style and Identity. The show will be curated by Christian Witt-Dörring and Jill Lloyd. It aims to reveal a common thread running through the fine and decorative arts in turn-of-the-century Vienna: the redefinition of individual identity in the modern age.
Major works by fine artists Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele will be on view, as well as furniture by architects Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos, and decorative artists Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser. There will be a special emphasis on fashion, with loans of key clothing and accessories from the period. The exhibition will also explore the overlap with new attitudes towards gender and sexuality that surface in Viennese literature and psychology at the time.
The exhibition will fill both the second and third floors of the Neue Galerie, with each room taking a different approach to the theme of identity. One is devoted to changing representations of women, with paintings that range from the searing psychological portraits of Oskar Kokoschka to the decorative, highly nuanced canvases of Gustav Klimt. Another gallery explores the crossover among art, medicine, and psychology. Egon Schiele and Richard Gerstl were two of the artists working in this milieu, driven by a common desire to pierce through the outer façade of appearance to reveal essential truths about the body and the mind. The final gallery on the second floor contains drawings by Klimt, Schiele, and others.
The third floor will begin with a room dedicated to architect Otto Wagner, father of the modern movement in Vienna. The second room will be dedicated to the artists of the Vienna Secession, and examples of the art they championed, ranging from French Impressionist paintings to Japanese prints. The final large gallery on this floor will be dedicated to Viennese decorative artists’ two divergent paths to Modernism: one exemplified by the members of the Wiener Werkstätte (Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Dagobert Peche) and their desire to create a Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art, and the other by the strict formalism of Adolf Loos. In a small fourth room, the music of composers such as Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schönberg, with their wish to abandon established norms, will be explored.
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