The Essl Museum is the home of the Essl Collection of contemporary art with more than 7000 works collected by Agnes and Karlheinz Essl. It offers a matchless perspective on present-day art. The collection is characterized by the very personal approach taken by the collectors and by continuous growth through new acquisitions. Even if Austrian painting after 1945 represents the central part, the collection also boasts important holdings reflecting contemporary art trends from Europe, the USA, Australia, India, Mexico and China. The holdings of the collection are showcased at two exhibition sites, the Essl Museum and the Schömer-House, both designed by the Austrian architect Heinz Tesar. About ten exhibitions per year present the artwork in constantly new discursive contexts. The exhibition halls are designed to help the visitors explore contemporary art through the interplay of art, light, space and movement. Both premises together provide 4.500 square meters of exhibition space. The Essl Museum also offers visitors a café/restaurant with an open-air terrace, a bookshop, a freely accessible library and generous art storage facilities for the collection. The exhibition program is developed on the basis of the holdings and objectives of the Essl Collection. The main pillars of the program are collection overviews, theme-related exhibitions, monographic presentations, guest curators’ views on the collection and art from other cultural areas. The >emerging artists< series and the >Essl Award for Central and South-East Europe< present young artists from all over Europe who are not yet firmly established on the art market. Entirely privately financed and autonomous in its management, the museum is a forum for an open exploration of the arts.
Another focus of the Essl Collection lies in the promotion of contemporary, electronic and experimental music. Under the artistic guidance of the composer Karlheinz Essl jr., concerts, performances and sound installations are organized regularly at the two exhibition buildings (Essl Museum and Schömer-House), there-by establishing a forum for New Music in a museum context of international reputation that is unparalleled in Austria.
Curiosity, the discovery of unknown worlds (of art) and an exploration of personal creativity are the main aspects of the many-faceted art education program. It is a particular concern of the art collectors that children, adolescents and adults should be given an opportunity to discover their own ways of appreciating contemporary art. The options on offer include instructive texts, the so-called >Offenes Atelier< (Open Studio) for 3-6 year olds or >Team.Painting< for executives.