• “Béton”

    Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier
    Museumsplatz 1
    June 25–October 16, 2016

    Curated by Vanessa Joan Müller and Nicolaus Schafhausen

    Concrete (béton) is chic again. Its rehabilitation was officially ratified last year when a number of stark Brutalist buildings served as backdrops for fashionable figures in a Prada fall/winter ad campaign. For many years the material was considered drably utilitarian at best—the primary stuff of a postwar modernism associated with civic projects foisted on the public by town councils and other bureaucratic institutions. The irony of such a reading, however, is that many of the architects who employed concrete did so in hopes of opening up architecture to the outside. Featuring work by twenty international artists, including Tom Burr and Isa Genzken, this show should reveal the social implications registered within the dense medium. With any luck, the exhibition will move beyond reactionary readings (from Prada’s romance with ruins to neoliberalism’s gripe with public institutions) to prove that the use of concrete was driven as much by ethical concerns as it was by aesthetic ones.