Viennese Post-1945 Avant-gardes

In the time after 1945 Vienna acquired special significance through the push for modernisation in intellectual and artistic terms that originated here. The output of the artists of that period, their activities in the context of the cultural climate of the post-war years and their communication structures are to be made visible in the city’s topography.

Taking stock of these Viennese avant-gardes and presenting the results to the public in suitable forms is an essential part of the preservation of Vienna’s cultural legacy. In addition to this, the uniqueness of this period has considerable potential in terms of defining the identity of Vienna as a city of culture, also in the light of sharpening the city’s profile as a tourism destination: Vienna as the source of a push for modernisation in intellectual and artistic terms, Vienna as a hotbed of creativity.

Panel Discussions

viennAvant’s first public project to get started was a series of panel discussions organised by members of the team in collaboration with academic and extramural research institutions and designed to get an interested public involved in the topic.

The first panel discussion with contemporary witnesses took place on 4 April 2006 at the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Literatur; architecture was the topic of a panel discussion at the Künstlerhaus on 1 December 2006 and another panel on 25 June 2007 dealt with the role played by artists’ associations. This was followed on 5 May 2010 by a panel discussion on “Avantgarden – Motor für gesellschaftlichen Wandel?” [Avant-gardes – A motor of societal change?] at the music information center austria mica.

Details for the Panel Discussions in German

Panel discussions on arts, film, music and jazz are being planned.

Symposium “Test-Track Art. Viennese Avant-gardes after 1945”

A symposium at the Austrian Academy of Science (21–23 October 2009) dealt with the theoretical foundations, issues surrounding the definition of the Viennese avant-gardes of the time and the methodological approaches of comparable projects.

See concept and structure of this symposium in detail

Research Projects

The issues raised at the Symposium are being developed into multidisciplinary research projects. A series of publications is being considered as an additional option.


An exhibition is going to present objects that are related in terms of time and content under one roof, which will result in the presentation of a vivid picture of the avant-gardes. A catalogue will document the exhibition and make it accessible to a broader public. Media reportage and attention-generating focusing events in connection with the exhibition are expected to add an international dimension.

What we are aiming for is to bring about an enthusiastic recognition of the Viennese avant-gardes 1945–1970 as a discrete epoch of the city’s cultural life comparable, if in a different context, to the one triggered by the Künstlerhaus exhibition “Traum und Wirklichkeit. Wien 1870 –1930” (Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien/today: Wien Museum, 1985). This is within reach if the necessary concerted effort is made.