Sunday, August 17, 2008


That just makes me kind of laugh: "Wien".  It's the actual name of the city of Vienna, as written/spelt/pronounced by the natives.  The temporary digs here in Vienna have free internet!  Wooo!

Landlord, for reasons not to be elaborated on, is a huge jerk.  This was reaffirmed when we moved out of the apartment.

My baggage was so heavy, it hurt so bad.  Can you see how red and angry the skin on my shoulder/collarbone is?  Wahhhh.  I can't believe I'm going to haul it around Europe.  I am such an idiot.

I took an overnight train from Amsterdam to Vienna.  I'd never done this before, and it turns out that it is quite a Hogwarts Express experience.  You have a train compartment with either four or six beds (fyi, four is better, there is more head room for everyone involved).  Each compartment has a little door that you can close if you want.  I shared a compartment with three others, a silent German man, a friendly German woman, and a talkative and slightly crazy Austrian named Helmut.  

Some of the crazy things Helmut told me:
1). if he had been born a 14 days later, Hitler would have been his godfather
2). the first American was 'as black as a telephone'
3). the first people to come to America were the Ancient Egyptians

Sleeping on a train is not ideal, but whatever.  I'll  be home soon, and there will be time enough for sleeping in a real bed then.  I, and my baggage, arrived in Vienna all safe and sound.  I dumped my self-made albatross at the hostel where I'm staying, cleaned up, and headed out into the city.

Vienna, looking toward the Albertina.

From the balcony of the Albertina.

Museums visited include the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts), the Albertina, the Leopold Museum, and the MUMOK - which I think is a shortening of Museum of Modern Art, Kunst in German/Dutch.  I also went to the MAK, the contemporary art museum, but they didn't accept my get-into-museums-free card, so I left.  Contemporary art is, as previously stated, big on the misses and low on the hits.

I went to the MUMOK - a name which no doubt sounds terrible when vocalized - to see a show called, "Bad Paintings, Good Art".  The poster child for the exhibition was the following:

John Currin, Thanksgiving, 2003

I thought the exhibition would be cool, as John Currin's work is fabulously representational.  He works in a very old-school technique, but paints unlikely images, as you might be able to guess.  The show was just okay though, there definitely were lots of bad paintings, and some bad art as well.

More Vienna.

I walked around for quite a bit in this lovely park.

I also bought a hot dog from a street vendor, not counting on getting this monstrosity in return.  So far, I think it is the grossest thing I've ever taken a picture of.  The hot dog lady took a roll, cut the very tip off, and then jammed the whole thing onto a heated pike.  The she pulled it off, dumped ketchup and mustard into the hole, and jammed the giant wurst into it.  Then she took the whole thing and smashed it in a panini cooker.  The sausage was so big it stuck out the end for a good couple inches.  I felt totally ridiculous with it.

Hideous looking, but yummy.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum.

This museum was nice.  Several of their paintings needed some work though - old discolored varnishes and inpainting that no longer matched.  Don't get me wrong, everything was in good shape, but not in the tip-top condition that everything was at the Albertina.  More love is needed for the paintings at the Kunsthistoriches.  Their Greek/Roman/Egyptian collections were in spectacular condition though.  All the love is apparently going there.

Highlight - the Steinway-Haus.  It wasn't open, but I'm not sure I'd go in it it was.  I'm too plebeian for them, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

I know this will be a shock, everyone knowing that I am a BIG fan of paintings, I actually recognized the work of John Currin. Thanks to CBS Sunday Morning! I enjoy his work, it's amusing and interesting. Sounds like a lovely day in Vienna. However, the wurst was rather gross.

Ynn said...

I thought that wurst looks somewhat pornographic. The wurst we had in Wien was tasteful and discrete and served dantily on a plate with sauerkraut. One of the other ladies in our tour went to the Albertina but her 16 year old son, Will, rather agreed with Frank's assessment of non-traditional art. Not being an expert, I didn't notice painting that were in need of work, but definitely enjoyed the Egyptian collection.

mamamia4859 said...

The overnight train ride from Amsterdam to Vienna sounds like quite an experience. Helmut kept you entertained! Good luck lugging that baggage around Europe, but I have faith that you can do it!

Jessica said...

Yes, I was really hoping that the show would have lots of works by Currin, but it turned out that there were only three by him. Most of the rest looked like giant crappy fingerpaintings.