Vienna museum tilts paintings to illustrate climate change threat

Gustav Klimt's well-known Attersee lake painting, among other works of art, tilted by Vienna's Leopold Museum to draw attention to how unchecked climate change could affect landscapes.

Vienna museum tilts paintings to illustrate climate change threat
The exhibition placard hangs next to the stairs of the Leopold Museum in Vienna, on March 22, 2023. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Gustav Klimt’s well-known Attersee lake painting tilted by two degrees, Egon Schiele’s painting of a tree in late autumn rotated by five degrees. As part of the initiative “A Few Degrees More”, Vienna’s Leopold Museum has tilted 15 paintings by the number of degrees unchecked climate change could affect the landscapes depicted.

The initiative, launched on Wednesday, comes after climate activists poured black liquid over a glass screen protecting a Klimt piece at the museum. “We want to contribute to raise awareness of the dramatic consequences of the climate crisis,” museum director Hans-Peter Wipplinger said.

Developed together with the research network Climate Change Center Austria, the action runs until late June.

Wipplinger dismissed the November “attack” — one of a string of similar protests by activists in London, Rome and other cities to highlight the climate emergency — as “absolutely the wrong way” to raise awareness.

READ ALSO: Is Austria doing enough to protect children from the climate crisis?

Following the protest, the museum put more works behind glass screens, increased watches and introduced stricter controls at the entrance, he said. “But in the end, we can’t exclude this” from happening again, Wipplinger said, regretting the increased costs incurred by the measures — and the higher insurance premiums.

Sofie Skoven, an 18-year-old student from Denmark visiting Vienna with her class, said the sight of the tilted paintings “of beautiful places” made her sad.

“It makes you want to do something about it — it reminds you of what’s going to be lost,” she told AFP.

Another visitor, Joachim Burdack, was less impressed. “I think it trivialises climate change,” the 71-year-old German retiree told AFP. 

READ ALSO: What are the biggest threats facing Austria this year?

It was too easy to get used to the tilted works, he added.

The Leopold Museum, with its 6,000 artworks, houses one of the world’s most important collections of Austrian art, focusing on the second half of the nineteenth century and subsequent Modernism.

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Ten unmissable events in Austria this June

June is packed full of vibrant summer events all over Austria. Here are ten of the best.

Ten unmissable events in Austria this June

1st to 4th of June: Narzissenfest, Bad Aussee

Every year, the Ausseerland-Salzkammergut region is transformed into a sea of yellow and white as blooming daffodils cover the landscape.

To celebrate, the region hosts the annual Narzissenfest (daffodil festival) –  Austria’s largest flower festival.

This year, the town of Bad Aussee will host the festival’s main attractions – including the Narzissennacht (daffodil night) and the parade of the daffodil figures on June 4th, which culminates with the announcement of the winning figure at 3 pm.

1st to 18th of June: Vienna Pride

For the first half of June, Austria’s Capital will host a variety of events to celebrate diversity, equality, and LGBTQ+ rights during Vienna Pride.

The event’s main attraction will be the Pride Parade – also known as the Rainbow Parade – on June 17th, where more than 250,000 people are expected to celebrate and demonstrate together in the city centre. 

The Rainbow Parade in Vienna, 2019. Photo: John Samuel/Wikimedia Commons

Other highlights include a contest of Austria’s top drag artists on June 9th, and Vienna Pool Day on June 4th at the Schönbrunn outdoor swimming pool.

3rd to 25th of June: Baden Rose Days, Baden

Every year, the Rosarium in the charming spa town of Baden, near Vienna, comes to life for three weeks during the Badener Rosentage. Visitors can immerse themselves in the enchanting world of blooming roses and enjoy over 25,000 rose bushes comprising more than 900 distinct varieties of the romantic flower.

To mark the onset of the rose blossom season in Baden, the city will host an exciting lineup of concerts on Saturday, June 3rd. The evening’s program will culminate with a piece fusing rock, opera, and classical music, promising an unforgettable experience.

7th to 11th of June, Spring Festival, Graz

For five days, springfestival Graz will transform the entire city of Graz into a buzzing hub of art and electronic music.

This unique event blends its artistic programme with the distinctive architectural features of the city, expanding beyond traditional venues like clubs and bars to include parks, warehouses, and other public spaces.

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The festival is known for its electronic art and music, and it will feature musical performances and poetry slams at various venues, most of which are situated within walking distance of the city centre.

8th June to 2nd of July – Kikeriki Children’s Short Film Festival, Tulln

The second edition of the Kikeriki Children’s Short Film Festival promises to be a great event for Austria’s little culture lovers. 

There will be 33 short films from Austria and 15 other countries and art workshops on offer every Thursday and Sunday afternoon throughout the festival at the Kunstwerkstatt in Tulln.

8th of June: Sommernachtskonzert, Vienna

On the 8th of June, the Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna will host a spectacular – and free – musical programme from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Over 100,000 people are expected to flock to the palace park to enjoy the Summer Night Concert, which this year will be led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin – music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

The Summer Night Concert in 2019 in the Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna.

The Summer Night Concert in 2019 in the Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna. Photo: C.Stadler/Bwag/Wikimedia Commons

Soloist Elīna Garanča – a well-known name in the Austrian classical music scene – will sing three arias from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen”, from Charles Gounod’s “Sapho” and from Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Samson et Dalila”.

9th to 17th of June 2023: Tanz Ist Festival, Dornbirn

Established in 1994 by dancer and choreographer Günter Marinelli, tanz ist festival has become a renowned international dance festival that fosters collaborations between artists and institutions.

Each year, the festival focuses on a specific theme and explores various aspects of the dance world. In this edition, the spotlight shines on Canada, offering a glimpse into the country’s dance avant-garde. The programme showcases both emerging talents and renowned figures who have left an indelible mark on the dance scene.

9th to 24th of June: Sonnwendfeier, Wachau-Nibelungengau-Kremstal

Every year in June the Wachau-Nibelungengau-Kremstal region along the Danube river comes alive with dazzling summer solstice celebrations.

Throughout the period, local towns and villages alongside the river and in the river valley host traditional midsummer celebrations, from bonfires to fireworks to displays of thousands of floating lights covering the Danube river.

23rd to 25th of June: The Donauinselfest, Vienna

The Donauinselfest, also known as the Danube Island Festival, is one of Europe’s largest open-air music festivals.

It takes place on the Danube Island, where numerous stages will host performances by both local and international artists.

READ ALSO: Bonnie Tyler and RAF Camora: What are the highlights of Austria’s 2023 Donauinselfest?

As well as music, there will be cultural performances, art exhibitions, entertainment for children, food stalls and drink stands to keep everyone entertained. 

25th of June: Alpine Summer Opening, Lungau

Old customs and traditions remain strong in the Salzburgerland region and every year, a different town hosts a lively festival to mark the official start of the Alpine summer

This year, the festivities will be held at the Branntweinerhütte and the Kösslbacher Alm on the Aineck above St. Margarethen in Salzburg’s Lungau region. There’ll be music, traditional Alpine dances and cuisine.