It all began when four artists from Austria and Germany at a Los Angeles artists’ residency decided to reconstruct Adolf Loos’ famous American Bar. Because they realised that the classic, elegant bar, a significant example of Austrian modernism, would fit perfectly into their backyard studio – just on a slightly smaller scale. With modest financial resources, mahogany became cardboard, glass became mosquito mesh, and rather than signature cocktails, everything was served simply “on the rocks”. Even in this DIY version, the Viennese charm of the iconic original asserted itself, and before long the LA art scene was drinking and sweating between the press board walls. Two years later, the bar was rebuilt in the basement of an art space in Brussels using only reeds to create the interior. And now the suspiciously Loos-like façade of a former record store in Vienna’s 10th district generated the idea to resurrect the bar a third time. The LAX BAR is a walk-in art installation characterised by a methodical play wile and material. As a copy, it is deliberately flawed and visually alienated, while being geographically closer to the original than ever before. On some evenings, the LAX BAR is also a performative happening, with a series of artistic guest appearances. And when one Friday determines the one after, one thing is certain: it is also a pretty good bar.
17 May in the LAX BAR:
Philipp Quehenberger at bar piano // Rosa Anschütz live // „Sad hour” at midnight
At the bar piano, Philipp Quehenberger serves up some “pianistic flabbergasting” with variations from Bach’s The Art of the Fugue (simple fugues, counter-fugues, mirror fugues, shadow gaps). So fugue-ing great to play!
Another highlight of the evening is Rosa Anschütz live: electronic arrangements and mesmerizing vocals.
“Sad hour” begins at midnight – with sadder music and higher prices.
24 May in the LAX BAR:
Philipp Quehenberger at the Barpiano // Jung an Tagen live (LAX BAR commission) // „Sad Hour“ at midnight
Still at the bar piano: Philipp Quehenberger tirelessly and masterly cultivates The Art of the Fugue between Johann Sebastian Bach and The Caretaker. Jung an Tagen immerses the space in the complex soundscapes of his new composition for the LAX BAR’s multichannel sound system and makes polyrhythms collide with the tiles. Polished!
„Sad Hour” at midnight sharp, sadder music and higher prices
31 May in the LAX BAR:
(A)SEXUAL MEASUREMENT // Die Vorspielservice // „Sad Hour“ at midnight
Marino Formenti aka MC LOOOOOSE measures the LAX BAR – both its physical and social dimensions. The musical material consists exclusively of music that, like the Loos Bar, was created in 1908: formerly scandalous works by Alban Berg, Arnold Schönberg, Charles Ives, Gustav Mahler, Erik Satie, and popular songs from that year, such as the lascivious “Cuddle up a Little Closer, Lovely Mine”. This material is in turn drawn through the physical/social space and measured.
Schallplatten Brigitte, the record shop which used to be located on the premises currently housing the LAX BAR, opened its doors in 1959 and soon became a mecca for Vienna’s disc jockeys of the 60s and 70s. As a tribute to this iconic store and its founder Brigitte Komarek – music expert and business woman with an imperturbable sense of taste – music lovers will be able to buy vinyl there one last time: DJs from the legendary collective female:pressure play, comment and sell selected records from their their illimitable archives as well as exclusive original hits from the Brigitte inventory live! But all of this in transposed keys – LAX BAR style!
“Sad hour” again at midnight: sadder music and higher prices.
7 June in the LAX BAR:
Philipp Quehenberger at the Barpiano // Members of BAchCHorWien // „Sad Hour“ at midnight
Three and a half weeks LAX BAR and again and again the Art of the Fugue, three and a half weeks Klavierexerzitien with Philipp Quehenberger.
Honouring the fugue and practising polyphony, members of BAchCHorWien present a special LAX BAR programme of J. S. Bach’s motets and masses.
“Sad Hour” at midnight with sadder music and higher prices.
14 June in the LAX BAR:
The return of Dr. LOOOSE // Bobby Would – Fare Well Family Showcase // “Sad hour” at midnight // DJ Natascha Muhic
Two weeks after his “(a)sexual measurement”, MC LOOOSE aka Marino Formenti is returning to the LAX Bar to again measure the space and the people. The interactive part is raised and lowered. The goal of this re-examination is still to explore the osmosis between autism and empathy, isolation and participation that is so vital to music by using the example of the unexampled LAX BAR. Archetypal evergreens of bar music such as Johann Sebastian Bach’s Art of the Fugue and John Cage’s ASLSP form the basic material, as perhaps do Frank Sinatra and original sounds. Music that did or did not originate in 1908. For a donation in the five- to twelve-figure range, you can request your absolute favourite song and hear an unrecognisable version of it.
With melancholic rock ’n’ roll lullabies, Bobby Would is not only ending a long Europe tour but is also commemorating the LAX BAR’s last evening. To ensure that the pain of saying goodbye isn’t too overwhelming, a live band of members of Heavy Metal, Sick Horse, HÄXXAN, Acid Baby Jesus, Victor, Delfin, Schiach, and Muscle Barbie will join!
At midnight we will have our very last “sad hour”, with sadder music and higher prices. And Natascha Muhic (Vinylograph) presents selected records and proves how much architectural theory can fit into a DJ set – from the Bed Room Punks of Vienna to Mies van der Rohe! Architecture as an expression of the innermost structure of time.
- Artistic Team
By and with Christoph Meier, Ute Müller, Robert Schwarz, Lukas Stopczynski and guests
Comissioned by Wiener Festwochen
Ute Müller studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and at the Royal College of Art in London. She presented solo exhibitions at mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Künstlerhaus – Halle für Kunst und Medien in Graz, Galerie Kunstbuero, Wien, Künstlerhaus Klagenfurt and participated in numerous group exhibitions. She publishes the artist-fanzine Black Pages in collaboration with Christoph Meier and Nick Oberthaler. Her works have been awarded the Kapsch Contemporary Art Prize, the Klocker Foundation Advancement Prize and the Styrian Viktor Fogarassy Prize, among others.
Christoph Meier is a visual artist living and working in Vienna. He studied architecture at Vienna University of Technology as well as sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and at the Glasgow School of Art. In addition to his participation in numerous international exhibitions, Christoph Meier has also had solo shows at Casino Luxembourg, KIOSK Ghent, Kunstverein Hamburg and the Secession, among others. Since 2009, he has been publishing the artist-fanzine Black Pages together with Ute Müller and Nick Oberthaler; since 2016 he has been running the independent exhibition space Guimarães in co-operation with Hugo Canoilas and Nicola Pecoraro. Since January 2019, Meier has been heading the Research Unit for Three-dimensional Design and Modelling at the Institute of Art and Design of Vienna
University of Technology.
The work of Robert Schwarz is poised at the interface of architecture, music and visual art. He studied architecture at Vienna University of Technology and computer music at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, combined with sound studies at Berlin University of the Arts. His work has been published by the labels Gruenrekorder, AVA, Laton and Sonic Terrain, and he has participated in exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien, Ars Electronica, CTM Berlin among others. His work has been honored with scholarships and awards including a MAK Schindler scholarship, a DAAD study scholarship, a SUAL Award und top positions in year-end charts by A Closer Listen and Musique Machine. He is a co-founder and curator of the Viennese festival PARKEN; Or, Live in the Park aimed at mediating experimental forms of music in public space.
Lukas Stopczynski, together with Ute Müller, Christoph Meier and Robert Schwarz, has been regularly copying Adolf Loos’ American Bar since 2015.