There's no better place to be, if you're an art aficionado, than Miami for this year's Art Basel Miami Beach. The annual celebration showcases the world's greatest artists and the future of creativity. As a new partner in Art Basel this year, there are few who know this better than Norbert Kettner, director of the Vienna Tourist Board. We chatted with him about the inaugural partnership between Art Basel Miami Beach and the Vienna Tourist Board, and how Vienna is having an impact in art and culture around the world.
Artist Nychos and Vienna Tourist Board Director Norbert Kettner in Grüne Lounge.
It's great to have you here in Miami. Talk to us about what attracted you to partnering with Art Basel for the first time?
NORBERT KETTNER: Thank you! It’s great to be here. We receive more American visitors each year to Vienna. Their support of Viennese arts and culture offerings naturally inclined us to want to support here domestically, at a hub of artistic commerce. Artists, dealers, and curators seem to increasingly play interconnected roles on a global scale, and at a critical time to communicate, crossing borders to do so. While 2018 marks Vienna’s debut supporting Art Basel in Miami Beach, we have been partnering with Art Basel in Basel since 2013! Vienna’s entry into the American market—here beneath the palm trees—marks our increasingly connected role in the world of contemporary art—and appreciation of direct flight routes to Austria’s capital. Travelers from the U.S. can choose from up to 37 direct flights a week to Vienna. Services depart from Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City (both JFK and EWR), Miami, and Los Angeles.
How will the staging of the Grüne Lounge and Vienna Coffeehouse showcase the best of Vienna?
NK: Two of our popular exports are wine and coffee and coffeehouse culture. Wine and coffee cross languages and cultures, and are favorite rituals for many. Seasonal harvests and sustainability are guiding pillars in the city’s development. So we wanted to offer a taste of wines, produced within the city itself, which is a rarity. Visitors sometimes remark on how light and crisp Viennese wine is, and ask why it’s harder to come by in the US. We explain it’s because we drink most of them before they can be exported... [Smiles] Today we share those wines, with our compliments. Similarly, the Viennese coffeehouse culture, was added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural assets in 2011. The “salon style” meeting of the minds, often historically to discuss arts, culture and commerce is very much a live and well ritual in Vienna, and one we enjoy sharing.
Visitors will also get a special look at “Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and other Treasures” curated by Wes Anderson and the world’s first ever major monograph exhibition focused on Pieter Bruegel the Elder, no?
NK: Yes, we will offer vantage points into current and next year’s museum shows in Vienna. Two favorites now are at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna this fall through winter season: “Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and other Treasures” curated by Wes Anderson and his gifted partner Juman Malouf, and the world’s first ever major monograph exhibition focused on Pieter Bruegel the Elder are two of many. In spotlighting these two exhibitions as vantage points into the city, we celebrate ancestral artistic heritage alongside the modern creative pulse that flows through our borders.
How much of an impact do you think a city's culture has on travel decisions? I've found friends ask about food, art, and entertainment more and more when they plan their getaways.
NK: I am an avid explorer, so the magic mix of a city or destination, the way the air feels, the brightness of the light, effects the food and drinks, and how they taste. The architecture and greenspace effects how I absorb the art and entertainment staged on the land. So I think when you hear a place has a mix that inspires devotion and pleasure, I for sure, become curious why.