With its compact and walkable center, Vienna is the perfect city for some gallery hopping. And although contemporary art is not the first thing many people associate with the city, it is indeed one of the best destinations to discover interesting new artists. After all, Vienna has been one of the most influential European capitals for centuries, and nowadays it is carving a special place for itself in the contemporary art world. Here you can find art everywhere, from street art to public installations, museums and foundations, and of course galleries. 

I loved Vienna the first time I went there as a kid and loved it even more on a recent trip, when I had the pleasure to discover its art scene. Vienna is the perfect destination if you love spending time in outstanding museums. With its incredible MuseumsQuartier, you don’t even need to walk far to visit some of the best museums you can find in Europe, all overlooking the same square. But Vienna is a great destination for collectors and gallery lovers as well. The city has some long-standing galleries, and younger ones promoting and working closely with local Austrian artists, or international ones. 

This makes the city not just enjoyable, but a great source of inspiration and discoveries, especially if you are looking for emerging artists from the area or East Europe. And you can easily pair a day of gallery hopping with your museum visits and or a day or two at Vienna Contemporary, the contemporary art fair that the city hosts annually, or Foto Wien, one of the most prestigious photography festivals in Europe, that opens its 2022 edition this week. 

To help you out in discovering the best the city has to offer, here are 6 – and I mean SIX – contemporary art spots to include in your gallery hopping tour of Vienna. Most of them are closely located in the same area, Schleifmühlgasse, just steps away one from the other, and from MuseumsQuartier. You can stop by at the local Naschmarkt, for food or coffee between visits, and enjoy the lively area. 

Ready for this gallery hopping tour?

contemporary art gallery vienna
Exhibition view TRIO FEMININ | Cornelia BALTES, Ira SVOBODOVÁ, Natalia ZAŁUSKA |
Christine König Galerie, Vienna 2022 | Photo: kunst-dokumentation.com / Manuel Carreon Lopez

Christine König Galerie

Let’s start with a bang. Right in the middle of Schleifmühlgasse, nestled between other contemporary art galleries, cafes, and vintage shops, Christine König Galerie is the perfect place to start this tour. 

The gallery was founded in 1989, but moved to this area in 1999. It represents internationally recognized artists, but also works closely with some of the most promising emerging artists, promoting them on a national and international level. 

The gallery’s program and its selection of artists reflect the central concerns of Christine König: politics and activism, feminism, literature, as well as post-conceptual approaches. The gallery has a rich program of events and talks, and aims to put in direct contact the public, specialized and not, with artists, curators, and critics, fostering exchanges and broader dialogues.

And if you are particularly interested, as I am, in emerging artists, make sure to check KOENIG2 by_robbygreif. Opened in 2017, it is the Christine König Galerie’s project space, located just around the corner from the main space. It focuses on young and experimental positions, inviting artists who have never exhibited in Vienna before. It works mainly with site-specific installations and projects, providing a special platform to launch new and upcoming artists on the city’s art scene. 

Christine König Galerie
Schleifmühlgasse 1A, 1040 Vienna
Margaretenstraße 5, 1040 Vienna (KOENIG2 by_robbygreif)

Info, exhibitions, and opening hours:

contemporary art gallery vienna - Gabriele Senn Galerie
ALEXANDER RUTHNER “I Love You” – “What Does, I’ Mean?” | Exhibition View |
Photo courtesy Gabriele Senn Galerie

Gabriele Senn Galerie

For the second stop on our gallery hopping tour of Vienna, we are not moving too far, as we just stroll down Schleifmühlgasse to Gabriele Senn Galerie. Founded in the late ‘90s, the gallery moved to its current location in 2000, helping the area become the art district of Vienna.  

The gallery was the first to showcase the work of Cosima von Bonin in Austria in 1997, and has kept a consistent program ever since its opening. It works with both established Austrian artists, such as Marko Lulic, Hans Weigand, and Elfie Semotan, but also with international emerging ones, like Michael Riedel, Kitty Kraus, Josephine Pryde, and Tomasz Kowalski. 

The gallery collaborates with international institutions, museums, and curators, always keeping a close eye on the production and promotion of its artists. Moreover, the gallery has made a name for itself throughout the years, by participating in some of the most prestigious international fairs, like Art Basel Statements, Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Cologne, the Armory Show New York, Art Dubai, Frieze Art Fair, viennafair, ARCOmadrid and many more.

Gabriele Senn Galerie
Schleifmühlgasse 1A, 1040 Wien, AT

Info, exhibitions, and opening hours:

Georg Kargl Fine Arts

Let’s move just a few steps away to our third stop, Georg Kargl Fine Arts. The gallery was founded in 1998 and just like the previous ones, it works with both innovative emerging and established artists, Austrian-based or international, across various media. It supports their visions and promotes vital dialogue with institutions, critics, curators, and collectors. 

The gallery has an exhibition space of 350 square meters and two additional locations, all on Schleifmühlgasse: BOX, with a storefront designed by Richard Artschwager, and PERMANENT, dedicated to experimental projects.

With that much space and different approaches, the gallery is a great player not just in this neighborhood and art district, but for the Viennese art scene in general.

Georg Kargl Fine Arts
Schleifmühlgasse 5 A-1040 Wien (Main gallery and BOX)
Schleifmühlgasse 17 A- 1040 Wien (PERMANENT)

Info, exhibitions, and opening hours:

Galerie Martin Janda - Exhibition View
Július Koller: Subjektobjekt | Galerie Martin Janda | Photo courtesy the gallery, ph: Markus Wörgötter

Galerie Martin Janda

Tired of Schleifmühlgasse? Here are two galleries a little bit further away. Moving west from the art district of Schleifmühlgasse, past Naschmarkt and the Secessionsgebäude (the stunning Secession Building with its golden cupola), you will find them both on the same street, and just a stone’s throw away from Museumsplatz and the MuseumsQuartier. 

The first gallery is Galerie Martin Janda. Famous for its focus on Conceptual art, the gallery works with artists across all media. The gallery collaborates with East European artists, as well as international ones, which are exhibited in well-curated solo a group exhibitions. 

Galerie Martin Janda
Eschenbachgasse 11, 1010 Vienna

Info, exhibitions, and opening hours:

Galerie Meyer Kainer

Literally next door to Galerie Martin Janda, Galerie Meyer Kainer is the fifth stop in our itinerary. 

Founded by Christian Meyer and Renate Kainer in 1998, this 200 square meter gallery has made itself a name as an institution and as a space for innovative contemporary art. It works with well-established artists such as Franz West, Heimo Zobernig, Liam Gillick, Yoshitomo Nara, and Raymond Pettibon, while also promoting the careers of a younger generation of artists such as Gelitin, Sarah Morris, Marcin Maciejowski, Christian Jankowski, and Mathias Poledna—all of them now enjoying international attention and approval.

The gallery has an off-space, Boltenstern. Room, located right above the main exhibition rooms, where it regularly organizes concerts and exhibitions. 

Galerie Meyer Kainer
Eschenbachgasse 9, A-1010 Vienna

Info, exhibitions, and opening hours:

Galerie nächst St. Stephan

Galerie nächst St. Stephan

For the sixth and last stop of our itinerary, we will walk to the very center of Vienna. Once you exit Galerie Meyer Kainer, pass Museumsplatz (you need another day to visit the museums!) and marvel at the magnificent Hofburg, the former imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty. Cross Heldenplatz and walk straight to Stephansplatz and Vienna’s gothic cathedral dedicated to St. Stephen. 

The last stop of our gallery hopping tour of Vienna is right around the corner. So close, that the name of the gallery literally means “Gallery Next to St. Stephan”!

Galerie nächst St. Stephan is a real historical place, for Vienna and contemporary art in general. Founded in the 1920s, the gallery has been located in the same place for over a century. 

Over the years the gallery has worked and launched some of the best international artists, such as Imi Knoebel, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Gerhard Richter, and Richard Prince, and was the first to exhibit Minimal and Conceptual art in Austria. Nowadays it works with promising young artists from all over the globe, as well as the best contemporary masters. 

Galerie nächst St. Stephan is the perfect place to end our tour, pairing its long history with a look to the future. And at the end of the tour, you are right in the middle of Vienna, ready to enjoy a coffee, chocolate, or Sacher torte in one of the many cozy cafes nearby.

Galerie nächst St. Stephan
Grünangergasse 1, 1010 Vienna

Info, exhibitions, and opening hours:

Cover image by Philipp Stelzel on Unsplash