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New Gallery Graz
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New Gallery Graz
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Joanneumsviertel Zugang, Kalchberggasse
Graz
Austria

rzarlif's picture

Contributor

In an area surrounded by those impressive 17th century buildings sits the smart Neue Galerie Graz.

It's a great downtown location with an easy walk to the medieval quarter, assorted other musuems, and loads of restaurants.The Galerie is part of the city's Joanneum Universal Museum, a pet project of Archduke Johann of Austria. The Archduke had more then his share of ups and downs in the endless wars fought by the family army to defend Hapsburg Empire from Napoleon, Bavarians, and others. His heart wasn’t in it though and he went off for a PhD in Edinburgh, and then modernized the hopelessly backward city of Graz in Austria’s southern Styria region. The Joaneum Museum's made up of a dozen odd museums and the Neue Gallerie is one.

The entrance is impressive, a big glass hole in the middle of Joanneum Quarter square. Down the hole you have to choose between the Natural History Museum or library on the sharp right and the Neue Galerie on the left. After that it gets less interesting, though there is an elegant marble staircase leading up to the galleries. However, the lighting is poor, reflecting off the paintings. 

The Gallerie is supposed to show off works from the last 200 years, primarily of Austrian artists, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way.Wandering the monumental halls, there’s not a lot on the walls. It starts with some formal and stiff 19th century Austrian art. Vienna apparently got the good stuff and the Galerie hasn't found local, Styrian talent to show. The highlight is the terrifying Günter Brus, whose did all sorts of things to his own body, and a sometimes others', often in public. He has his own gallery, called the Bruseum.

The place was empty except for a handful of 'guards,' and these folks were nice and happy to comment on the pieces on display. But they were also awkward and overly present. When we entered a hall they scurried out, then popped back in as if by chance, eyes averted…you get the picture. Beware, the little museum shop is rubbish and there’s no coffee shop. Good thing the delicious Graz deli Frankowitsch is within striking distance.