Pub culture in Linz
The Wirtshaus: a place of longing when the pew is too hard, work is tiresome or when food at home is not to one’s taste. A bolt hole when storms rage – metaphorically or quite literally. As an alternative “living room“ in quite concrete terms, the Wirtshaus offers its patrons a venue for a broad range of occasions, from baptism celebrations to funeral feasts. Who can say how many relationships first saw the light of day at the bar of a Wirtshaus? How many pairs of shoes have been danced to pieces at weddings? Who has counted the nightcaps? The nest eggs paid into the local savings association? Who has kept count of the plans to save the world cobbled together at the table of the regulars, of the business contracts, of all those schemes passionately propounded only to be discarded again? In a word: the Wirthaus is the stage where life puts on its shows.
Progressive and at the same time conservative, the Wirtshaus brought modernity to Linz with the first phonographs and silver screen motion pictures. In its heart of hearts it remained a bastion of masculinity for a long time. It is a place where politics is not only a recurrent topic but that is itself a plaything of politics, as has recently been demonstrated by the allergen directive and the ban on smoking.
Prost, Mahlzeit! illustrates the multifaceted history of the Wirtshaus and allows us to take a look behind the scenes of this fixture of Linz’s everyday culture, a place that is a perennial source of pleasure for some, while for others it is an extremely demanding, arduous workplace. Many objects loaned or donated by Linzers have helped curators Klaudia Kreslehner and Georg Thiel to put together a show that demonstrates how the Wirtshaus – innovative and conservative at one and the same time – shaped Linz in the past and continues to do so to this day.
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