Artists’ Associations

The Künstlerhaus

Founded in 1861, the Künstlerhaus, or, to spell out the name in extenso, the Künstlerhaus, Gesellschaft bildender Künstler:innen Österreichs, is the oldest association still in existence. This private association with around 440 members from the disciplines of painting, sculpture, architecture, applied arts and film wants to provide a platform for creative artists and art lovers and acts as a cultural-policy advocacy forum for its members. As a matter of principle, the Künstlerhaus (current president: Michael Pilz) is non-aligned with museums or galleries and pursues an exhibition programme with a thematic focus on the connection of everyday culture, film, music, design, architecture and the new media. During the current renovation, Künstlerhaus has been temporarily moved to the Altmann’sche Textilfabrik (Künstlerhaus1050) predictably until fall of 2019.

The Vienna Secession

The Vienna Secession, or more precisely, the Vereinigung bildender Künstler:innen Wiener Secession, (Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession) was set up in 1897. Following disputes within the Künstlerhaus association relating to the status and future direction of contemporary art, a group of artists led by Gustav Klimt left the association to establish their own movement and exhibition venue. The exhibition programme is drawn up by artists on a democratic basis, guided exclusively by artistic aspects. The fundamental mission of this association is the presentation of current developments in Austrian and international art, as well as the readiness to engage in experimentation. The board (current chairman: Herwig Kempinger) invites artists to prepare exhibitions dedicated to this venue. The association has 250 regular members and a great number of honorary and corresponding members.

The Forum Stadtpark

Forum Stadtpark was founded in Graz, Styria, in 1959 by artists, scientists and creative professionals at the vacant former Stadtpark-Café. The name refers to both the association and to the building in Graz's Stadtpark. Forum Stadtpark is open to multiple disciplines with an extended notion of art and a cross-genre approach. Carola Peschl was the first woman to lead the association in 2009. Followed by former vice president Heidrun Primas in 2011.


Maerz was founded in Linz in 1913 in Linz when a group split from the Oberösterreichischer Kunstverein which was too conservative in the seceding group’s opinion. Re-established again after the Nazi regime, but without their own premises, the association organised exhibitions, concerts and readings, with artists such as the sculptor Daniel Spoerri. In 1968, the association took up premises at Galerie Maerz on Taubenmarkt in Linz, offering a regular programme and a forum for all artistic disciplines. In 2003, Maerz moved to the premises of the former Linzer Volksküche. The scope of the association extends to the visual arts, architecture, literature and music. In 2011, Peter Sommerauer was appointed its president. The majority of the approximately 200 members are visual artists.

The Salzburger Kunstverein

Founded in 1844, the Salzburger Kunstverein was one of the first institutions of its kind in Austria (set up on the initiative of Cardinal Prince Schwarzenberg). 1885 saw the erection of its venue, the Künstlerhaus, today the only surviving free-standing building from the 1880s in Salzburg. Since the 1990s, the association has consistently pursued an international programme in fulfilment of the intentions of its founders. Committed to providing a fertile ground for art production, new ideas and creative practice, the Salzburger Kunstverein places the artist at the centre of its programme. While the programme is open to all types of contemporary art, the focus lies on new media, film and video installations, concept art and photography. Current president: Séamus Kealy. Members are free to apply for a studio at the Künstlerhaus and for a place in the annual exhibition.