previews

  • “Post-Otto Wagner: From  the Postal Savings Bank  to Post-Modernism”

    MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art
    Stubenring 5
    May 30 - September 30

    Curated by Sebastian Hackenschmidt

    Otto Wagner (1841–1918) was the most significant designer of the early modern movement to be most effectively suppressed by his heirs, owing largely to the eccentric pomp of his architectural vision. In his native Vienna, where his splendid, seemingly armor-clad buildings dot the cityscape, the MAK is attempting to reconnect the master with his legacy: Its exhibition will feature more than eight hundred objects, including photographs, models, furniture, and architectural plans, that demonstrate how Wagner’s oeuvre evolved along three parallel tracks—technical, formal, and urbanistic—toward a sensibility that anticipated the conceptualizations of design and urban planning in the twentieth century. Costarring such disparate figures as the reserved Rudolph Schindler and the extravagant Ettore Sottsass, the show could help retrieve Wagner from the “idiosyncratic” pigeonhole to which he was largely confined by his postwar successors, and where even his more recent “rediscoverers” have been all too happy to leave him.