Max Neuhaus: Time Piece Graz

8.50 am to 9.50 pm daily
ten minutes before each hour


In everyday life, sound is often perceived as a signal: sounds are heard as a warning or signs of reference and orientation. Over the centuries, various sounds in the city of Graz have ensured that people went to church on time, finished school, sought refuge or even simply knew what time it was.

Within this spirit, Neuhaus’ Time Piece Graz creates a space outdoors around the Kunsthaus that is defined with sound. It occurs periodically as a sound signal. Unlike the traditional sound signal of a bell, though, whose sound commences at its peak and then slowly dies out, at the Kunsthaus Neuhaus has created a sound that enters the consciousness of passers-by when it disappears. Beginning inaudibly ten minutes before each hour, the sound gradually grows. Five minutes before the hour, at its peak, it suddenly stops, creating a moment of stillness.
Thus, this building, which as a house of art is focused upon human perception, at regular intervals emits a signal that momentarily reminds people of its presence. Max Neuhaus has given the Kunsthaus Graz its voice.


Max Neuhaus (*1939, USA) was commissioned in the Spring of 2003 to focus on the then growing Kunsthaus and ist environment. Sounds form Neuhaus' basic material.


Among other projects, Neuhaus has created sound artworks for Times Square in New York and numerous other sites in Europe. He has dedicated this latest work to the Kunsthaus Graz.


More about Max Neuhaus:


Max Neuhaus


Neuhaus was the pioneer of artistic activities with sound. Starting from the premise that our sense of space depends on what we hear, as well as what we see, he utilised a given context as a foundation to build a new perception of place with sound. 
With the realisation of these non-visual artworks for museums in America and Europe over the last thirty years, he became the first to extend sound as a primary medium into the domain of contemporary art.


Neuhaus was renowned for his interpretation of contemporary music while still in his twenties. In the early sixties, he gave solo recitals in Carnegie Hall and toured America and Europe as a percussion soloist.


The world of the percussionist is one focused on sound timbre: Neuhaus travelled with one thousand kilos of percussion instruments to perform his solo repertoire. He extended this palette of sound colour by inventing several early electro-acoustic instruments. His solo album recorded for Columbia Masterworks in 1968 stands as one of the first examples of what is now called live electronic music. 
Neuhaus went on to pioneer artistic activities outside conventional cultural contexts and began to realise sound works anonymously in public places, developing art forms of his own. Utilising the sense of sound and people's reactions to it that he acquired after fourteen years as a musician, he began to make sound works that were neither music nor events and coined the term 'sound installation' to describe them. In these works without beginning or end, the sounds were placed in space rather than in time.


Over the last 41 years he created a large number of sound works for various environments as well as museums.


Active Soundworks


since 1990 Three 'Similar' Rooms, Galleria Giorgio Persano, Turin 
since 1992 Three to One, AOK Building, Kassel 
since 1993 (untitled), Collection CAPC Musée d'Art Moderne, Bordeaux 
since 1996 (untitled), Collection Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin 
since 1999 (untitled), Collection Swisscom, Worblaufen-Bern 
since 1999 Suspended Sound Line, Collection Kunst im öffentlichen Raum, Bern 
since 2002 Times Square, Collection: Dia Art Foundation, New York 
since 2002 La Barma, Collection: Pierre Huber, Saint Luc, Switzerland 
since 2002 Promenade du Pin, Collection: Fonds Contonal d'Art Contemporian, Geneva 
since 2003 Time Piece Graz, Kunsthaus Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum
since 2006 Time Piece Beacon, Dia:Beacon, Beacon, Collection: Dia Art Foundation, New York
since 2007 Eybesfeld, 2007 Collection: Conrad-Eybesfeld
since 2007 Time Piece Stommeln, 2007 Collection: City of Pulheim, Germany
since 2008 Sound Figure, 2007 Collection: The Menil Collection, Houston



Max Neuhaus (1939-2009)


Musician and sound artist Max Neuhaus died on 3rd February 2009. He was a pioneer in going beyond traditional cultural contexts, and experimented with the effects of acoustic phenomena on our spatial perception. He may thus be rightly seen as the key exponent of acoustic spatial installations. Trained as a musician, in the 1960s he gave concerts with Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and toured the USA and Europe as a solo percussionist. He was an inventor of early electro-acoustic instruments. Neuhaus developed a unique feeling for sound, and was the first to introduce it into contemporary art as a sculptural element and key medium. He created important non-visual works of art for museums throughout the world, coining the term "sound installation" for them - in these works without beginning or end, sounds were located in space rather than time.



Max Neuhaus devised his installations mainly for particular locations. One such location is the exterior of the Kunsthaus Graz, which he defined in sound. Time Piece Graz is a periodic sound signal that pierces our consciousness only when it stops. The Friendly Alien thus owes its "voice" to this remarkable man and artist. Other important installations by him are in Times Square, New York, the synagogue in Stommeln, Pulheim, the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, the Dia Beacon Museum in Beacon, New York and the Swisscom Center in Worblaufen, Bern. Max Neuhaus' death has robbed the art world of a major voice. We extend our sympathies to his family and friends. 


Kunsthaus Graz

Lendkai 1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9200


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T: +43-316/714 957


24th/25th December 2023