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Opening in Austria in conjunction with http://steirischerbst.at">steirisher herbst, the 30-year-old festival of the arts in Styria, is a wonderful new art museum, the Kusthaus Graz. A gift from the city of Graz to itself on the occasion of the city being chosen European Cultural Capital for 2003, this new biomorphic structure by London architects Cook and Fournier floats above the street level. Viewed from the hill above town, the strange dark green roofline makes an exciting contrast and connection with the red roof tiles of the historic old town, and with the clock tower on the top of the hill dating from 1712, the bell dating from 1382.

And inside the http://www.kunsthausgraz.at ">Kunsthaus Graz is one of the most interesting shows I have seen recently: Einbildung, which explores perception with intriguing interplay between works by a wide variety of artists. Offerings from Bridget Riley, Liz Larner, Taft Green, Olafur Eliasson, and Herbert Brandl are brilliant, scintillating.

Between the new museum and the old clocktower runs the river Mur, where Vito Acconci floats a new cafe/bar, http://www.art-idea.com/pages/murinsel/murinsel.html ">03-bar. This hip real life art piece makes a fascinating transition for Acconci’s important conceptual work. Is it decadent or fabulous? Maybe it is both: the food is great, the cocktail list is pages long, and the spectacle of the bar floating on the river at night is at once futuristic and enchanting.

- Cheryl Meeker [Tuesday, November 18th, 2003]

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