After World War II, Austria set up cultural centers in several world capitals to promote its citizens' contributions to western civilization. The New York branch was established in 1962, operating under the auspices of the Austrian Foreign Ministry. It hosts more than 200 free events annually and showcases Austrian contemporary art, music, literature, and academic thought in New York. The Austrian Cultural Forum enjoys long-standing and flourishing partnerships with many venerable cultural and academic institutions throughout New York and the United States.
The center has no permanent collection, but first-rate exhibitions throughout the year feature works by contemporary artists from Austria, the United States, and around the world.
Concerts, film screenings, lectures and social gatherings are part of the mix as well. To house an expanding roster of activities, the institute demolished its 1904 brownstone to construct a dramatic 20-story structure designed by Austrian architect Raimund Abraham (1933-2010). The new facility, which opened in 2002, has five floors of gallery space, a state-of-the-art theater and expanded library space.