Austria’s government announced sweeping new restrictions for public gatherings in attempt to stymie the spread of the coronavirus, including banning any indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. As a result, several of the country’s largest museums, which can attract thousands of visitors daily, said they would close, while others said they would allow 100 people at a time.
In statements posted to their websites, several Vienna institutions—the Albertina, the Kunst Historisches Museum Wien, the Kunst Haus Wien, the Leopold Museum, and all three locations managed by the Belvedere—all said they would be closed until further notice, and at least until the end of March or early April.
In an email to ARTnews, a spokesperson for the Leopold Museum said, “We hope that we can go back to normal rather soon,” adding that he hopes the museum would still be able to mount its next set of exhibitions at the end of May.
The Museum der Moderne Salzburg and the Kunsthalle Wein in Vienna both said they would remain open but would only allow in 100 visitors to the museum at a given time. The Kunsthalle currently has on view the group exhibition “… of bread, wine, cars, security and peace,” which is the first show curated by What, How & for Whom / WHW (Ivet Ćurlin, Nataša Ilić and Sabina Sabolović), the institution’s newly appointed three-person director team.
The Universalmuseum Joanneum, which manages 19 museums in and around the southern city of Graz, also said that its museums would remain open, but that any events through the beginning of April expected to assemble more than 100 people would be canceled. One of the affected institutions, the Kunsthaus Graz, was set to open two exhibitions with a reception on Thursday: a solo show of Bill Fontana and the traveling exhibition “Where Art Might Happen: The Early Years of CalArts.” The reception has been canceled but the shows will be accessible to visitors starting Friday.
Two other Austrian institutions, the Kunsthaus Bregenz and the Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz, said that they will remain open and did not specify a limit on the number of visitors. Both said their events would follow protocol and that some might be canceled.