Continental Britons: Hans Gál and Egon Wellesz
February 25 to May 2, 2004
“Continental Britons: Hans Gál and Egon Wellesz” is the first in a series of music exhibitions to be organized in the next two years under the general heading of “Revolution in Music”. The idea behind the series is to investigate the recent musical history of Vienna, which is characterized by its “resistance to the modernists”.
It is symptomatic of the music scene in Vienna that the full set of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies was not performed until 22 years after the end of the Second World War. By this time, the Vienna modernists had attracted so much attention throughout the world that the resistance of the Viennese music institutions and public was finally overcome. Mahler became accepted and the performances conducted by Leonard Bernstein in the 1970s even established a “Mahler tradition” in Vienna, in the wake of which musical treasures rejected and prohibited by the Nazis as “degenerate” and the works of composers murdered by them have again been able to see the light of day. In collaboration with other cultural institutions, the Jewish Museum is initiating a series of exhibitions and events that showcases the works of the most interesting and important of these composers.
“Continental Britons: Hans Gál and Egon Wellesz” is the first exhibition in this series. Between the wars, the Viennese composers Hans Gál (1890-1987) and Egon Wellesz (1885-1974) were among the most prominent names in the German-speaking music world. Their works were performed in all major concert halls and opera houses in Austria and Germany. After their expulsion from Vienna in 1938, they both ended up in Great Britain, where they were interned on the outbreak of war as enemy aliens. They remained in their new home, taught at universities and continued composing for many years. They are good illustrations of the heterogeneity of the Viennese music scene – and also of the terrible loss to it as a result of war and anti-Semitism. Gál and Wellesz both received high honours in Austria after the war, but their music was rarely played – many of the great names who had flourished during the Nazi era were able to continue to perform without let or hindrance.
Curators: Michael Haas, Marcus G. Patka
Vienna, City of Jews – the World of Tante Jolesch
May 19 to October 31, 2004
The Jewish Museum Vienna, in cooperation with Wiener Festwochen, is organizing an exhibition entitled “Vienna, City of Jews – the World of Tante Jolesch”. The exhibition documents the various aspects of the Jewish experience in Vienna between the wars. “Vienna’s Jews are an integral component of the city,” wrote the art historian Hans Tietze in 1933.“They are part and parcel of the Viennese culture to which they have contributed for so long.” During the era of the First Republic (1918-1938), there were more than 200,000 Jews living in Vienna – almost 11 per cent of the population. After Warsaw, the Jewish community of Vienna was the largest in Europe and formed an important segment within the population. Jewish citizens were visible in all aspects of public life and often had a marked influence on it. They were not by any means a homogeneous group and the Jews of Vienna were no less dispersed among the various social and political classes than the rest of the population.
The exhibition is organized into 21 stations showing the various aspects of the Jewish experience in Vienna during its last flowering. It reveals a panorama that takes in the poverty of the orthodox Jews who had fled the stetls of Galicia, the cafés of the Bohemians and meeting places of the intellectual elites, the offices of the municipal authorities during the “Red Vienna” period, and the salons of the enlightened bourgeoisie. Each of the 21 stations is marked by a milestone, a significant event around which the display is arranged (e.g. opening of Goethehof kindergarten as symbol of educational reform, or the founding of Zsolnay-Verlag representing literature). The exhibition relates the history of the Jews from the perspective of that time, an era before the Holocaust cast its deathly shadow over the city, a time of expansion and change in which Utopian ideals for reforming society and cultural life were rife and Jews and non-Jews alike struggled in a seething social climate for recognition of their ideas.
Curator: Joachim Riedl
Abgestempelt? Abgestempelt! Portraits of Jewish Personalities on Austrian Stamps
September 22 to October 26, 2004
The Jewish Museum presents the exhibition “Abgestempelt? Abgestempelt! Portraits of Jewish Personalities on Austrian Stamps“ in co-operation with Österreichische Post AG. In the past years numerous renowned Austrians were represented on stamps. In the scope of research on a stamp with the image of Theodor Herzl it was repeatedly discussed that there are actually numerous Austrian stamps featuring portraits of renowned Jewish personalities: politicians, artists, scientists and important people from the world of medicine – from Sigmund Freud, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Kraus, Arthur Schnitzler, Emmerich Kálmán, Arnold Schönberg and Liese Meitner to Victor Adler, Hans Kelsen and Billy Wilder.
The exhibition, which will be on view at the Auditorium of the Museum includes more than 40 personalities represented on stamps. In numerous cases we will not only show the final designs of these stamps but also preliminary versions and interesting details. Short biographies of the personalities will round off the presentation.
Curators: Erich Haas, Silvia Klampferer, Herma Heiss, Katharina Wessely, Andreas Sperlich
Colors of War. A Warrior Cult
September 22 to December 12, 2004
The Austro-Israeli artist Oz Almog presents his latest art installation “Colors of War” at two venues: while the Hofmobiliendepot shows “Camouflage” as of 15 September, “A Warrior Cult/Der Kriegerkult” is on view at the Jewish Museum starting on 22 September. The background of Oz Almog’s recent project: to increase unit cohesion and pride, modern soldiers often wear a distinctive shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI) identifying their unit. Sometimes the insignia becomes so beloved by the unit that vehicles, other war materiel, and even buildings bear a form of the SSI.
Oz Almog has assembled more than 1,000 SSI images, which he reproduced in oil, taking care to preserve in this different medium the individual character of each image. Briefly, the “warrior cult” is the symbolic significance that the elite soldier, the warrior, carries with him. This can be expressed in terms of the fearsome image of the soldier in the eyes of the public as both threat and protector, the culture of “toughness” that the elite units cultivate for themselves, or the fear units try to instil in their enemies. This exhibition evokes all three aspects, but that of the soldier relating to his own “warrior cult” is the most present, since it is the one closest to the production of the insignia themselves.
What makes these shoulder sleeve insignia so remarkable is their great variety. While the majority of larger units have official insignia, smaller units (in particular elite units) occasionally have their own unofficial insignia produced. Even if these insignia are often disrespectful, “politically incorrect” and sometimes even obscene, they perfectly reflect the reality these units are confronted with in action. The examples presented in the installation show the entire stylistic range of shoulder sleeve insignia: from the traditional British Navy insignia in the style of the coat of arms of noble families to the insignia of reconnaissance units of the US Marines in the Vietnam War. The slogans were crude and the words were often misspelled, as the Vietnam tailors had no command of English.
Curator: Oz Almog
The Liebens – 150-year History of a Viennese Family
November 11, 2004 to April 3, 2005
The Liebens were entrepreneurs, bankers, salon hostesses, scientists, inventors and artists. They were one of the most prominent bourgeois families in Vienna and left their mark on the city over several generations. Whereas the forefathers of the family had to seek permission to live in Vienna because of the restrictions placed on Jews, their children and grandchildren formed part of the country’s social elite. The Ignaz L. Lieben Prize donated by the family from 1863 to 1937 was regarded as one of the most prestigious awards presented to scientists in Austria. After the Jews obtained full civil rights in 1867, Ignaz Lieben’s son Adolf was one of the first Austrian Jews to be appointed professor of chemistry at the University of Vienna. Ignaz’s grandson, Robert von Lieben, was a pioneer in the history of radio. Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, a great-granddaughter of Ignaz L. Lieben, became a painter and is regarded today as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. The family’s successful progress came to an abrupt end as a result of the events of 1938, which brought persecution, flight and exile, even for those members of the family who had long been baptised.
The exhibition “The Liebens – 150-year History of a Viennese Family” at the Jewish Museum Vienna highlights the fate of the Liebens against the background of Austrian history from the Vormärz (pre-1848) era to the present. The Lieben Prize was reintroduced in 2004 thanks to the generous support of the American chemist and entrepreneur Alfred Bader. He is not related to the Liebens but shares their fate, as he was also driven out of Austria in 1938 by the Nazis.
Curators: Gabriele Kohlbauer-Fritz, Evi Fuks
Alexander Rodchenko – Moscow
November 11, 2004 to January 30, 2005
As part of the Photography Month, the Jewish Museum Vienna will be presenting an exhibition featuring Alexander Rodchenko, one of the most important representatives of Russian photography. In 1932, Isogis, which published books of photographs and the famous periodical “USSR in Construction”, commissioned the artist, designer and photographer Alexander Rodchenko to take pictures of Moscow.
In 1932 the Moscow pictures were in fact published as a postcard series. It was one of the first authorised photo series in the history of Soviet photography. Pictures of monuments and views had already existed since the turn of the century, but Rodchenko’s photos showed aspects of Moscow that interested him, such as a factory canteen, a telephone box or a power station, a sports parade, post office truck, street trader or the garage of the architect Melnikov. As an artist, designer and photographer, he noticed the changes in the city, understood them and appreciated their value.
Rodchenko had already photographed the city: the first pictures with their foreshortened perspective had been taken in 1925, when he photographed Myasnitzkaya Street with a West Pocket Kodak from the balcony and roof of his house. While helping to make the sets for the film “Moscow in October” (1927), he carefully selected expressive locations in the city for open-air photos, and as a photo reporter for the magazines “Dayosh!” and “Smena” and the newspaper “Vechernyaya Moskva” he also produced photo reportages of new buildings.
Today, Rodchenko’s photographs and postcards are rare collectors’ items that are not even to be found in the archives. The Museum therefore had the idea of making his project accessible to the public today as the history of an old but visibly changing city and as the history of Russian photography.
“Alexander Rodchenko – Moscow” comes from the collection of the Moscow House of Photography.
Curators: Olga Sviblova, Alexander Lavrentiev
ceija stojka – a life
December 2, 2004 to April 24, 2005
Ceija Stojka was born on 23 May 1933 in an inn in Kraubarth, Styria. She was the fifth of six children and her parents were itinerant Lovara Roma from Burgenland. In 1941, at the age of eight, she was deported with her family to Auschwitz. She survived and was liberated by the British army from Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945. Of the 200 members of her extended family, only her mother and four brothers and sisters survived with her. After 1945 they returned to their old way of life, ignored and marginalised by society in a country where her people continued to suffer discrimination at the hands of the population and the authorities. In 1988, her book “Wir leben im Verborgenen” [We Live in Seclusion] was the first work by a Romni to be published in Austria. It describes her fate, survival and the murder of the Austrian Roma and Sinti in the Holocaust. The book acted as a stimulus for the establishment of a Roma movement, enabling the fate, history and culture of this people to be presented to the public for the first time. Ceija Stojka also began to paint and to perform the songs of the Lovara Roma. In her pictures she deals with her onerous past, the suffering and death in the Nazi extermination camps. And yet her pictures, songs and texts are characterised not only by the horror of human cruelty and sadness at all the deaths, but also by a powerful zest for life, memories of the freedom of the open road and of an itinerant lifestyle, and the beauty of nature and life. Her pictures show a brutal and sad world but also a wonderful and magnificent one. They breathe the force of a woman who, in spite of all the blows that fate has dealt her, has the courage to uphold the traditions of her people and live her life. In the few years that this self-taught painter has been working, she has created an astonishingly mature oeuvre, which tends increasingly towards the abstract and manifests a deep originality and honesty.
Curator: Gerhard Milchram
Franz Schreker. Border Crossings, Musical Frontiers
December 15, 2004 to April 24, 2005
As the second exhibition in the series ”Revolution in Music“, the Jewish Museum Vienna presents a comprehensive overview of the life and work of a composer who has recently experienced a true renaissance: Franz Schreker. Schreker (1878-1934) established himself as one of the leading opera composers of his generation with works such as Der Ferne Klang, Die Gezeichneten, Der Schatzgräber, and Irrelohe. His use of dramatic material would anticipate cinema and his seductive sound scapes opened perspectives that were further developed only decades later by composers such as Witold Lutosławski and György Ligeti. Born in Monaco as the son of Bohemian Jewish Court photographer and a mother from the Austrian Aristocracy, he studied in Vienna under Robert Fuchs and Arnold Rosé and rose to prominence as a conductor (he led the premiere of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder). Among Schreker’s students were the composers Ernst Krenek, Karol Rathaus and Berthold Goldschmidt as well as the conductors Jascha Horenstein, Josef Rosenstock and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt. In 1920 he was appointed director of the Berlin Academy of Music and in 1933 he fell victim to the Nazi purge of Jewish officials and died of a stroke shortly thereafter.
The exhibition offers a unique glimpse of one of the most dynamic eras of modern cultural history in which music and opera were at a crossroads between Jugendstil in Vienna and Neue Sachlichkeit in Berlin, between the fading glow of Romanticism and the bracing assault of Modernism. For the first time original scores, manuscripts, personal documents and photos of historic performances are on display.
Curators: Michael Haas, Christopher Hailey