Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


CANCELLED: Red Vienna and the Aesthetics of Defeat

01 March 2024, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm

Ringstrasse des Proletariats

Unfortunately the speaker is no longer available to give this talk and so the event has been cancelled.

This event is free.

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Forum
G17, ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower St, London

In the interwar period, the Austrian capital became the focal point for a socialist experiment: Red Vienna was the first to test the possibility of municipal socialism, the successes of which centered not least on the area of culture. The municipal buildings have remained visible in a very special way, turning the attempt at a cultural counter-hegemony into a concrete reality that continues to the present day. At the same time, the relatively weak position of Red Vienna and the ideological limits of Austromarxism can still be seen today in the example of the municipal buildings. The lecture focuses on these ambivalences and limits of Red Vienna. 

The Marxism in Culture seminar series was conceived in 2002 to provide a forum for those committed to the continuing relevance of Marxism for cultural analysis. Both ‘Marxism’ and ‘culture’ are conceived here in a broad sense. We understand Marxism as an ongoing self-critical tradition, and correspondingly the critique of Marxism's own history and premises is part of the agenda. ‘Culture’ is intended to comprehend not only the traditional fine arts, but also aspects of popular culture such as film, popular music and fashion. 

Image credit: David Mabb

About the Speaker

Johan Hartle

Rector at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Previously he was interim Rector of the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design at which he held a professorship for Art and Media Theory. After obtaining his doctorate, he was granted research fellowships for Jerusalem and Rome before he became Assistant Professor for Art Philosophy and Cultural Philosophy at Amsterdam University. Hartle was Adjunct Professor of Aesthetics at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou and is an Associated Member of the Institute for the Humanities of Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. His publications explore positions in contemporary art, institutional art theories, political aesthetics, and the legacy of Red Vienna.

More about Johan Hartle