Toilet of Modern Art, Vienna

I’m not even going to mention the most famous toilet in modern art, but here’s another pretender to the throne, no pun intended.

Hundertwasser was an Viennese architect. His quirky creations are a guide book mainstay, with their undulating floors and irregular windows. Coach parties love him.

Just streets apart in the East of the city are the playful KunstHausWien, and a co-designed apartment block called Hundertwasser House. Both are equally tacky, equally welcoming.

And I would defy even the most hardline modernist not to get sucked into the gaudy arcade opposite. It was so cold in late November, aesthetics were barely a consideration.

This busy market is where you will find the so-called Modern Art Toilet. Which proved so irrestistable, I forked over 60 cents for a service I did not at the time require.

Aside from some crazy tiling effects and cracked mirrors, it was not all that different from a less artistic toilet. But there was an option to wash hands in a fountain.

Ahead of me in the queue were a delegation of elderly Italians. The turnstiles kept rejecting their money and they were exhibiting symptoms of toilet rage.

This may not be exactly what Hundertwasser had in mind. But this art nouveau hippy does have an eye for the main chance. Upstairs you could buy posters and prints of his artwork.

But say what you like about his nemesis, Adolf Loos. The more sober local architect, with his ‘devil’s tools’ (straight lines, according to Hundertwasser), has much more desirable merch.

And his buildings do not pander to your inner child. Only streets away is a prime example built by his student Paul Engelmann and his friend Ludwig Wittgenstein.

It’s a notorious fact that elements such as doorhandles took a year each to design. But still, one has no real desire to turn them and enter this villa of good taste. Perhaps that is the point.

Is it me, or are these washbasins over selling themselves here?

The door is locked. Come back when you’ve read Tractatus and make an appointment.

Toilet of Modern Art can be found in the shopping complex opposite Hundertwasser House on the corner of Lowengasse/Kegelgasse.

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