Sex in Vienna

This “Vienna Museum” (Wien Museum) is a city history museum whose collections are “a blend of art and history”, meaning that there are numerous art works on display to illustrate the historical development of the city.

Although the museum is in a very central location on Karlsplatz, it is often overlooked because the building itself is modern and rather nondescript. Also, I suppose the topic of local history does not sound as momentous as some of the other museums and palaces in and around the city.

Exhibition poster

But the day I was there the Wien Museum was crowded beyond belief, not only because it was the Austrian national holiday and admission was free, but also because they had just opened a new temporary exhibition entitled:

“Sex in Vienna. Desire, control, disobedience.”

The exhibition brought together “countless examples from the nineteenth century through today” to show “how the struggle over prohibition and freedom continues to leave its mark on every sexual encounter.”

It was a thoughtful and intelligent exhibition, but I think I missed a lot just because it was so crowded. Theoretically it was only for adults, from age 18, but some of the visitors looked younger and no one made any attempt to check their ages.
(Photography was not allowed in the exposition. Sorry about that.)

My photos in this post are from 2016. I revised the text in 2021.

See more posts on Vienna, Austria.
See also: Museums in Innsbruck, for “The Cultural History of Sexuality.”

8 thoughts on “Sex in Vienna”

  1. I was feeling a little awkward to open the link after reading the headline. But your closing remark is funny 🙂 You have raised expectations with a catchy heading, some might get dissapointed 😀 But at least you enjoyed your visit to the exhibition.

    1. Yes, I was a bit worried that the title might be considered click-bait. But so far this post hasn’t had an unusual number of views.

    1. Somehow I never realized that the film “Eyes Wide Shut” (which i havent seen) was based on Schnitzler’s “Traumnovelle”. But I know Schnitzler’s play “Reigen” because it was later made into an opera by Philipp Boesmans.

  2. This was interesting, not least because operetta was a theme in the exhibition, with a focus on various erotic readings of popular works – Elsie Altmann-Loos in Kalman’s Gräfin Mariza was included. See here: http://operetta-research-center.org/sex-vienna-new-exhibition-wien-museum-explores-forgotten-aspects-operetta-history/ And here is another piece inspired by the show, with remarks on Krefft-Ebing and much else: https://straysatellite.com/vienna/

  3. I can supply the want of photos via two links (see below). This show was interesting, not least because operetta was a theme, with a focus on various erotic readings of popular works – e.g. Elsie Altmann-Loos in Kalman’s Gräfin Mariza was included. See here: http://operetta-research-center.org/sex-vienna-new-exhibition-wien-museum-explores-forgotten-aspects-operetta-history/ And here is another piece inspired by the show, with remarks on Krefft-Ebing and much else: https://straysatellite.com/vienna/

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