Until 1 November 2020, the MAK is showing a temporary intervention by Helmut Lang in the HELMUT LANG ARCHIVE, questioning the archive as a simultaneous collection, storage, and exhibition place, as a store of memories, and the potential of its use. The MAK is the only institution worldwide where the history of Helmut Lang’s brand development and identity can be traced. Since retiring from the fashion industry in 2005, the 1956-born Austrian has concentrated on his artistic work, and 20 international museums have received his donations.In 1969, the furniture exhibition Sitzen 69 [Seating 69] took place in the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (today’s MAK) in which a comprehensive selection of dignified “joiner’s chairs” from Scandinavia, Italy, Germany, and Austria was presented. However, the many colorful and trendy seats that today seem so characteristic of this epoch, were missing: The exhibition had made a last heroic attempt to reply to an increasingly pronounced consumer and throwaway society with traditional of high-quality, artisanal furniture. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Sitzen 69, the exhibition “SITZEN 69” REVISITED offers an opportunity not only to look back on the era of the 1960s, which was decisive for the development of international design, but also to reconstruct an important chapter in the museum policy of the MAK. Through the meaningful juxtaposition of the dignified joiner’s chairs, which were intended at that time as an impulse for craftsmen, producers, and consumers, and the playful and crazy furniture objects now shown, which have become the epitome of alternative and utopian living concepts of the 1960s, a great omission can be compensated for.Curator: Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Curator, MAK Furniture and Woodwork CollectionOtto Prutscher (1880–1949) was an architect and designer, an exhibition designer, teacher, and member of all the important arts and crafts movements—from the Secession to the Werkbund. Prutscher was one of the first students of the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. Being taught by Josef Hoffmann and the painter Franz Matsch clearly left its mark on Prutscher’s designs: this is evident in both their high-quality draftsmanship and their constant alignment with prevailing architectural trends. Prutscher’s known oeuvre comprises over 50 buildings, almost 50 exhibitions, some 170 interiors, 300 interior designs, and more than 200 pieces and sets of furniture. His designs were executed by over 200 companies, above all the Wiener Werkstätte and firms like Backhausen or Augarten. 70 years after Prutscher’s death, this exhibition explores his complex creative work and his role in the development of Viennese Modernism. The show was inspired by the collector Hermi Schedlmayer’s generous gift of 139 designs, objects, and furniture by Prutscher. Curator: Rainald Franz, Curator, MAK Glass and Ceramics CollectionTo commemorate Thonet’s 200th anniversary, the MAK is presenting a major exhibition on modern furniture, in which the signature bentwood furniture of the world famous company is placed in the context of contemporary technological, typological, aesthetic, and historical developments. Thonet’s bentwood chairs are compared with chairs made of tubular steel and plastic as well as with classic office chairs and avant-garde furniture experiments.    In 1842, the German joiner Michael Thonet moved to Vienna to perfect the bentwood furniture he had developed and to found the largest furniture empire of the 19th century. With chair No. 14, produced from 1859, the company not only created one of the world’s best-selling pieces of furniture, but also an undisputed design classic. The exhibition at the MAK shows the central importance of the Thonet company for modern furniture design and, in addition to the company’s history, also tells about the stages in the development of bentwood technology, from artisan production to industrial series production.The MAK holds one of the world’s most important collections of bentwood furniture, which is supplemented in the exhibition by excellent international loans. The approximately 240 exhibits are each placed in comparison groups, in which several objects face each other. In this way not only material technological steps in the development, but also typological parallels and iconographic affinities become visible.The typical aesthetics and perfect shape of the Thonet furniture have repeatedly served as a source of inspiration for contemporary artists—for example, the exhibition includes works by Birgit Jürgenssen, Bruno Gironcoli, Ineke Hans, Rolf Sachs, Uta Belina Waeger, and Markus Wilfling, who deal with the bentwood furniture from an artistic perspective. Guest Curator: Wolfgang ThillmannCurator: Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Curator, MAK Furniture and Woodwork CollectionContemporary fashion designed/made in Austria is the focus of the first comprehensive major exhibition on Austrian fashion design. A time travel through fashion design in all its facets from the 1980s until today shows the wide spectrum of designers who are from Austria, work here, or were educated here in fashion. Embedded into a spectacular, spatial installation by architect Gregor Eichinger, SHOW OFF: Austrian Fashion Design makes the artistic work of creative disciplines tangible on multiple levels in the context of fashion. Fashion as an object in the form of an item of clothing is presented by significant fashion statements by approximately 60 designers from the past four decades. The exhibition begins with Rudi Gernreich’s late work, whose designs from LA in the late 1970s revolutionized the global approach to fashion, and Viennese U-fashion with its stars at the time, such as Ledea Muard, Marc Thomas Merz, or Schella Kann. Viennese cult labels such as Wendy&Jim and fabrics interseason, “big player” Andreas Kronthaler, for the past two years part of the label “Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood,” and the renowned younger generation—represented in the exhibition among others by Kenneth Ize—contribute to the formation of a multifaceted scene with an international standing. In her “Wiener Salon,” Susanne Bisovsky has been working on exceptional creations, which will be presented in the exhibition, since 1996. Additionally, works by 30 photographers give insight into Austrian fashion photography. Documentaries on legendary and formative events, magazines, and interviews give an impression of the social and cultural perception of fashion as a phenomenon. The unique education in fashion at the University of Applied Arts Vienna with its numerous international visiting professors completes the storyline of the exhibition. Starting with the innovation boost under rector Oswald Oberhuber in the early 1980s and the first “fashion professor” Karl Lagerfeld, followed by further top stars like Vivienne Westwood, Helmut Lang, Raf Simons, and currently Lucie and Luke Meier, the highlights of the internationally renowned fashion education at the “Angewandte” are presented.This presentation features an ornamental box, now part of the MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection, that was elaborately produced in 1890 to protect and frame the certificate of honorary citizenship presented to the Viennese industrialist, collector, arts patron, and philanthropist Nikolaus Dumba (1830¬–1900).Dumba launched his political and business career at a young age and rapidly became one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Vienna during the second half of the 19th century. He maintained a special relationship with the Imperial Royal Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (today’s MAK) from the moment it opened in 1864, spending years as a member of its board and becoming a close friend of its then-director Rudolf von Eitelberger.This 130-year-old ornamental document’s presentation marks the completion of a diploma project in the field of object restoration at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Restorer Maria Holzleitner analyzed the certificate, conducted examinations of the materials, and replaced and reconstructed elements that were damaged or missing. Holzleitner’s work also affords a glimpse into how the original artists dealt with the technological innovations that transformed the production of arts-and-crafts towards the end of the 19th century.The four-part construction of this box with its numerous quotations of ornamentation done in silver, enamel, and gilt brass marks this exceptional object as a masterpiece of historical book art.Trust in the digital age is one of the most pressing issues of our time. In a series of collaborative workshops, the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava (AFAD), and the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, have been working on interpretations, interventions, and objects dealing with the role of design in the digital age and the responsibilities of designers regarding trust in new technologies.Topics range from multi-disciplinary relations between economics, sociology, and information technology to copyright vs. open-source design, social design (socially responsible design, Big Data and data protection, manipulation of reality, authenticity and forgery), and design strategies on the interface between human and non-human entities, including their relation to education, entertainment, hygiene, lifestyle, and mobility. This international collaboration between students gave rise to several concepts, from which three projects have been developed for presentation at the MAK FORUM in Vienna in 2020 as part of the Project EU Interreg VA SK-AT “Design & Innovation.” OpeningTue, 3 March 2020, 7 p.m. HUMAN BY DESIGN presents concepts, methods, model situations, case studies, and innovative solutions that give voice to an urgent need for change and sustainability. It focuses on the critical voices of a young generation of designers and theorists.The exhibition is a part of the cycle of activities Design & Innovation, Cross-border Cooperation of Design Institutions in Digital Age supported by the cooperation program INTERREG V–A Slovakia–Austria 2014–2020.OpeningTue, 3 Mar 2020, 7 p.m.Guided tour of the exhibitionSat, 21 Mar 2020, 2 p.m.Curators and Exhibition RealizationCurator: Mária RiškováCo-Curator: Lucia DubačováCuratorial Cooperation: Klára Prešnajderová, Maroš Schmidt, Diana Klepoch Majdáková, Zuzana Duchová, Lubica Kollárová, Ján Pernecký, Tomáš Tholt, Anna CséfalvayArchitecture and Exhibition Realization: Subdigital / Ján Pernecký, Tomáš Tholt, Anna CséfalvayGraphic Design: Truben studio / Pavol Truben, Marek MenkeProduction Management: Lubica Kollárová, Lucia Dubačová, Natália Galbavá, Zdenka PepelováProduction Cooperation: Helena Cibulková, Gabriela RybárikováEU INTERREG SK-AT Project Management MAK: Marlies Wirth, Curator, DigitalCulture and Design CollectionProject Coordination MAK: Eva Adam-Maxa, Project Assistant EU INTERREG SK-ATExhibition Management MAK: Mario Kojetinsky (Head), Alena VolkThe MAK will open its doors once again on Whitmonday, 1 June 2020. We will start with our current special exhibitions.FREE TOURSFrom 11 a.m.  to 4 p.m. on Whit Monday every hour you have the opportunity to take part in a free guided tour through one of our exhibitions.REGISTRATIONLimited number of participants (9 persons): registration is absolutely necessary (see below "PROGRAM").  PROTECTIVE MEASURESThe general protective measures for the museum visit also apply during the tour.Further information here HEADPHONESIf possible, please bring your own headphones for the tour. MEETING PLACEMAK Columned Main Hall The Austrian-American architect Raimund Abraham (1933–2010) saw architecture in close connection with art, philosophy, literature, and film—an ideational interaction highlighted in the current MAK exhibition. The exhibition title, Angles and Angels, is a play on words, one that can be interpreted as conceptual and poetic. In his manifesto EYES DIGGING (New York, 2001), Abraham sketches his exploratory approach to architecture and the importance of visionary writers, philosophers, poets, theorists, and composers such as Stéphane Mallarmé, James Joyce, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Arnold Schönberg to his architectural practice.Structural, archetypal, and neo-futuristic basic shapes characterize Raimund Abraham’s designs and buildings. In the early 1960s, he was part of Vienna’s avant-garde scene, along with Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler, Hermann Nitsch, and Peter Kubelka. Initial drawings and collages for visionary spaces, architecture, and utopian city models were created. Abraham’s international network involved partnerships with Vito Acconci, Peter Eisenman, and Lebbeus Woods, among others, and he was a close friend of film director Jonas Mekas, who portrayed him in his film Scenes from the Life of Raimund Abraham (2013).Abraham himself spoke of “imaginary architecture,” (unrealized) “projects,” and “executed buildings.” Based on his drawings as a stimulus for thought and the storyline of his architectural creations, the MAK exhibition uses collages, models, and furnishings prototypes to showcase Abraham’s designs, projects, and architectural achievements, which explore the conflicting interplay between the individual and sociopolitical challenges of his time.Curator: Bärbel Vischer, Curator, MAK Contemporary Art CollectionOn the occasion of the 150th birthday of Adolf Loos (1870-1933)  the MAK is presenting an exhibition that has been developed in cooperation with the Albertina:  ADOLF LOOS: Private Houses. Throughout his life Loos applied himself to private and public housing. This exhibition focuses on private homes and presents design drawings, plans, photos, and models of his in most part luxuriously furnished single family houses, villas, and country houses. By way of contrast, the display will also include revolutionary social projects, such as buildings for the municipality of Vienna.On the occasion of his 150th birthday, the exhibition JOSEF HOFFMANN: Progress by Beauty comprehensively documents for the first time the entire oeuvre of the architect, designer, teacher, and exhibition organizer Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956), one of the luminaries of Viennese Modernism and the international life reform movement. With his indefatigable design work and teaching, Hoffmann cultivated an exemplary model of modern lifestyles based on a construction and product culture that was both shaped by craft and artistically ambitious. The show presents a cross section of Hoffmann’s revolutionary design and his most important buildings, including the Stoclet House in Brussels (1905–1911) and the Purkersdorf Sanatorium (1904–1905).COVID-19: EXHIBITION POSTPONED TO 2021To date far too little attention has been paid to the women artists of the Wiener Werkstätte (1903–1932). This exhibition is about to change that: Gudrun Baudisch, Vally Wieselthier, Mathilde Flögl, Paula Lustig, and Mizzi Vogl are but a fraction of about 180 women who made an essential contribution to the development of Viennese arts and crafts—especially with their innovations in the fields of commercial graphic design, textile design, fashion design, toys, wall decoration, and ceramics.Who Knows the Women Artists of the Wiener Werkstätte? WE ARE LOOKING FOR YOUR STORIES!For the exhibition WOMEN ARTISTS OF THE WIENER WERKSTÄTTE (27 May – 20 Sep 2020), we are looking for more information: biographical data, life events, personal histories, visual and textual material, or as yet unknown works. If you have any information about the following or other women artists of the Wiener Werkstätte, please get in touch via frauenderww@MAK.atPUBLICATIONThe exhibition is accompanied by the publication WOMEN ARTISTS OF THE WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, edited by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Anne-Katrin Rossberg, and Elisabeth Schmuttermeier, with contributions by Megan Brandow-Faller, Elisabeth Kreuzhuber, Anne-Katrin Rossberg, Elisabeth Schmuttermeier, Lara Steinhäußer, and Angelika Völker. German/English, ca. 288 pages with numerous color illustrations. MAK, Vienna/Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2020. Available from end of May at the MAK Design Shop and online at MAKdesignshop.at for € 44.95.The 2019 annual exhibition in the Josef Hoffmann Museum in Brtnice is dedicated to Josef Hoffmann’s (1870–1956) association with Otto Prutscher (1880–1949). Ten years younger than Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos, Otto Prutscher belonged to the first generation of Vienna Arts and Crafts School students, which was to benefit from the curricular reforms directed by Felician von Mayrbach and from the teaching of young professors such as Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser. Like many other students of the Vienna Arts and Crafts School, Otto Prutscher came from a family of craftspeople: his father Johann Prutscher was a cabinet maker and Otto’s first teacher. Prutscher mastered a range of materials not only in his father’s workshop but also during his time as student at the Arts and Crafts School. For during the long summer vacations, he completed an apprenticeship in bricklaying and practical training in carpentry—paralleling the careers of both Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffmann. His successful application to the Vienna Arts and Crafts School in 1897 led Prutscher in the “General Studies Department” to Willibald Schulmeister’s class in ornamental drawing and then, for two semesters, to Josef Hoffmann’s specialist class in architecture. The training he received from the secessionist architect Hoffmann and the premodern painter Franz Matsch was to leave its mark on Prutscher’s designs and completed works, in terms both of the graphic quality of his designs and of his orientation towards current trends in architecture. From 1907 Prutscher began to work for the Wiener Werkstätte, and from 1909 he taught, like Hoffmann, at the Arts and Crafts School. For many years, Josef Hoffmann and Otto Prutscher cooperated on projects such as the Vienna Kunstschau of 1908 and the Cologne Werkbund exhibition of 1914. Like Hoffmann, as designer and architect Prutscher was master of all materials used in the applied arts. He was an exhibition designer, a teacher, and a member of the most important reform movements in art from the Secession to the Wiener Werkstätte and the Werkbund. Prutscher was also motivated by an unbounded creative drive and imagination, giving rise to a thousand sketches and plans. Today we know that Otto Prutscher’s oeuvre includes a very wide range of projects: over 50 buildings (villas, apartment houses, and portals), several architectural projects and designs, nearly 50 exhibitions organized and designed alone or with others, ca. 70 installations commissioned by named and over 100 by unnamed clients, over 300 designs and plans of installations, and over 200 suites and individual pieces of furniture. Otto Prutscher’s designs were implemented by more than 200 enterprises: the Wiener Werkstätte alone realized hundreds of his designs. He was artistic advisor to Thonet, Loetz Witwe, and Wienerberger; other important manufactories were Backhausen, Klinkosch, Augarten, Meyr’s Neffe, Schappel and Melzer & Neuhardt. Even the Deutsche Werkstätten in Dresden used his designs. The exhibition in the Josef Hoffmann Museum aims to present Otto Prutscher, seventy years after his death, in his association with Josef Hoffmann and to elucidate his important role in the development of Viennese Modernism.Curators:Rainald Franz, Curator, MAK Glass and Ceramics CollectionRostislav Koryčánek, Curator of Architecture and Design, Moravian Gallery, BrnoExhibition design:Itai Margula The exhibition is held under the patronage of the ambassador of the Czech Republic in Austria, Ivana Červenková.The exhibition is realized with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund, and is part of the project “Bilaterale Designnetzwerke” within the framework of the programme INTERREG V-A Austria – Czech Republic. A joint branch of the Moravian Gallery in Brno and the MAK, Viennanáměstí Svobody 263, 588 32 Brtnice, CZA wealth of documents and individual objects spotlight the exhibitions of the past 15 years and the significance of Josef Hoffmann’s oeuvre not only for his contemporaries but also for artists andarchitects today.The exhibition is held under the patronage of the ambassador of the Czech Republic in Austria, Dr. Ivana Červenková.The MAK's collection of lace, and its holdings of glassware—especially Venetian glass—are considered among the finest and most varied in the world. Even in the Baroque period, Venetian glasswork was particularly treasured, and both men and women spent vast sums on the sumptuous lace decoration that fashion demanded.While glass-making is one of the oldest handicraft techniques in the world, the history of lace-making only begins in the late Renaissance period, probably in Italy. A distinction is made between needlepoint lace and bobbin lace, but combinations of the two techniques are often seen. Florence, and later Venice and Milan, were the centers of Italian lace-making in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, before lace-making in France and Flanders began during the eighteenth century.Venice was the center of European glass-making from the Middle Ages onwards. Around 1500, Venetian glass-makers succeeded in producing clear, colorless glass. Glassblowing spread from Venice across the whole of Europe. In the north, centering on Bohemia and Silesia, there was a preference for harder glass that could be decorated with relief or intaglio engraving, or glass decorated with enamel, Schwarzlot ("black solder"), or gold. This presentation of glasswork and lacework is not based only on art-historical criteria, but also on the visual effects of the materials—their "transparency", material delicacy, and the virtuosity of the craftsmanship involved in their production—which may today be the aspect of them that arouses the greatest admiration. / Angela Völker (curator of the MAK Textiles and Carpets Collection during the phase of the reinstallation of the MAK Permanent Collection in the early 1990s)Artistic intervention: Franz GrafA design intention = states of affairs. The wealth of appearances.The legacy of those who were here before us = the form of actions, our inheritance = memory: museums are also, like cemeteries, our quiet bliss: because the nature of the encounter also gives rise to understanding: it seems there can be no truth concerning this, but only original, brilliant works: silence is the word extinct. Because the same thing once meant something else: because the essence of things is forever dead, and its material properties maintain this expansion into a different world: because a past exists that the living individual can reach into and at least the possibility is hinted at of coming to an end through oneself and beyond with the early ***** appearance. / Franz GrafBiography Franz GrafBorn 1954 in Tulln, Lower Austria. Lives and works in Vienna. Franz Graf is one of the most important representatives of a neo-conceptual position. His innovative combinations of divergent media such as drawing, photography, and installation repeatedly lead to new and open structures. The spectrum of his motifs ranges from abstract to ornamental, figurative and emblematic, or to factual representations of reality made with the camera.Due to preparations for the exhibition BENTWOOD AND BEYOND: Thonet and Modern Furniture Design, the MAK Permanent Collection Historicism Art Nouveau will be temporarily closed from 23 October 2019. From 13 November 2019 to 29 March 2020 we will be showing the temporary exhibition “SITZEN 69” REVISITED there. We apologize for any inconvenience.Although bentwood furniture was not a Viennese invention, the bentwood chair is still frequently referred to outside Austria as the "Viennese chair.” The technique of bending steamed wood was common as early as the Middle Ages. Born in Boppard on the Rhine, Michael Thonet (1796-1871) was an innovative furniture-maker, and during the 1830s he attempted to develop a technically more economical version of curved, late Biedermeier furniture shapes. He succeeded, using bent and glued laminates.His move to Vienna in 1842 by arrangement with Prince Metternich opened up to him the much wider market of the Austrian Empire. He continued consistently to develop bentwood techniques further, and in 1852 succeeded in registering a patent for the bending of glued laminates into curvi-linear forms, and finally in 1856 a patent for the bending of solid wood. In addition to the further development of bentwood techniques, Thonet's immense achievement lay in his talent for applying these techniques for producing distinctive products whose natural form and timelessness appealed to a broad public. His aesthetic, which developed out of his fascination with a production technique, opened new perspectives in seating furniture.From its furniture collection, the MAK presents an overview of over a hundred years of production by Thonet and competing firms, from the 1830s to the 1930s. / Christian Witt-Dörring (curator of the MAK Furniture and Woodwork Collection during the phase of the reinstallation of the MAK Permanent Collection in the early 1990s)Artistic intervention: Barbara BloomThe movie synopsis would read something like this: Michael Thonet, a German chair designer, so impressed an Austrian prince with his elegant designs and innovative manufacturing techniques, that he was commissioned to design some woodworking for a palace in Vienna, and then encouraged by higher-ups to relocate his factory to Austria. There, his business flourished to become a late nineteenth-century international success story.This is an exemplary case of an aesthetically sophisticated designer who was willing to experiment with production techniques. A man dedicated to reductive methods, in which (as a forerunner for the Modernist's "Form Follows Function”) he allowed the intrinsic qualities of his material, wood, to dictate the form of his designs. He was a reductivist in terms of production as well, sparing materials and time with his economical assembly line; turning a handicraft into an international mass-produced industry. He mass-advertised and distributed his furniture by catalogue, indicating that Thonet was also a brilliant early capitalist. He understood the need to develop a consumer society whose needs were created and then met.It's a good docudrama with a clear linear narrative. I'd like to see the part of Thonet played by someone like Nick Nolte, accented, and convincingly depicting his long and eventful life. There would be International Trade Fair first prizes, certainly several Vienna café scenes, and perhaps a factory class conflict. Good plot!But I really look forward to (and hope I live long enough to see) a made-for-interactive video-docudrama, which might be made in the early or mid-twenty-first century, about the life of Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA. This late twentieth-century prototype of business success needs no introduction. But in the future it will be remembered as a marketer of great appeal to a wide range of customers; from most European intellectuals who filed their libraries on "Billy" bookshelves, to young 1 1/2-kid families who were helped over the hurdle of spending money by IKEA's clever tactic of giving every object in their catalogue a proper name. So, you didn't need to buy a couch, when you could bring "Bjorn" home with you.So, imagine a double-bill of these two movies. Together they form a good paradigm of progress. What lives on? Is it the self-evident aesthetics and design finesse of Thonet? His dedication to experimental techniques? His reductivist methods? Or, some mutant late capitalism, some anthropomorphised form of supply and demand, in which the consumer need is created by "Bambi-fication". I'm sure the IKEA movie will be produced by Disney. / Barbara BloomBiography Barbara BloomBorn in 1951 in Los Angeles. Lives and works in New York.Barbara Bloom transforms in her work objects from various cultures into compositions and installations. Her primary concern lies in themes related to consumerism, information, and reality. Beauty and symmetry serve her as tools for investigating illusion, fragility, and transience in our society.A heterogeneous mass of consumers arose during the first half of the nineteenth century, something never previously seen in Austrian cultural history. With the effects of the Industrial Revolution and the growing cultural, social, and economic strength of the middle class, it became both possible and necessary to produce differentiated products for these consumers. It now became both necessary and possible to put at the disposal of the more general public items that had previously only been available to a small circle of consumers. Besides the wide variety of tastes, the range of products on offer was therefore also marked by a subtle gradation from expensive luxury items to cheap substitutes. A generally understood language for materials and forms thus emerged, which was no longer specific to any particular social stratum, but instead determined by financial factors. The depictions were no longer symbolic in character, but were related to real people, things, and events.The selection of objects displayed here therefore shows, alongside outstanding achievements of Austrian art and craft production, above all the variety of designs and materials used for everyday commodities during the Empire and Biedermeier period. The explosion of richly varying forms is demonstrated by a series of variations in chairs, porcelain cups with a limitless range of moods, glasses conveying all sorts of information, and silverware pieces with designs ranging in character from abstract to decorative. / Christian Witt-Dörring (curator of the MAK Furniture and Woodwork Collection during the phase of the reinstallation of the MAK Permanent Collection in the early 1990s)Artistic intervention: Jenny HolzerI have never liked museum labels and brochures. I wanted to find another system to present information about the collection and about the times in which the objects were made. I tried to think of an appealing way to show a super-abundance of text on Biedermeier and Empire. I chose electronic signs with large memories to talk about why what was produced for whom. The signs display the predictable facts, and softer material such as personal letters of the period. Because some people hate to read in museums, I placed the signs near the ceiling so they can be ignored. To encourage people who might read, I varied the signs' programs and included special effects. For serious, exhausted readers, I provided an aluminum mock-Biedermeier sofa on which to sit. I also rearranged the furniture, silverware, glassware, and porcelain, as would any good housewife. / Jenny HolzerBiography Jenny HolzerBorn in 1950 in Gallipolis, Ohio. Lives and works in New York State.The media artist Jenny Holzer investigates the means and possibilities for disseminating her own ideas and artistic concerns in public space. Since the 1970s, she has been using such media that allow her work to blend with its environment. The texts in her work are comments that harmonize with their surroundings. They stimulate perception and confront the viewer with social circumstances that are communicated by the specific conditions of the site.The MAK's collections contain some splendid examples of eighteenth-century cabinet-making. The emphasis in the collection is on pieces from the cultural realm encompassing Austria, France, and Germany. These bear witness to the tremendous typological, technical, and formal developments that took place during the course of the eighteenth century. The bureau cabinet, with its origins in the seventeenth century, is gradually replaced as a prestigious furniture item by the writing desk, the southern German form of which is known as a "tabernacle cabinet.” In France, the chest of drawers develops as a new kind of case furniture providing storage space in the living area, a reaction to the growth of the private sphere and the increasing desire for comfort. Forms of writing furniture that arise include the basic desk and the cylinder desk. The surface decoration of furniture becomes more varied, and is used to meet novel requirements and fashions (wooden and Boulle marquetry, lacquer, porcelain, etc.). Interior design itself becomes more uniform with the development of mobile and immobile furnishings. Furniture enters into decorative unity, and often structural unity, with the room. The porcelain room from the Dubsky Palace in Brno eloquently documents this, as well as marking the beginning of porcelain production in Vienna, from 1719 onward. / Christian Witt-Dörring - curator of the MAK Furniture and Woodwork Collection during the phase of the reinstallation of the MAK Permanent Collection in the early 1990s)Artistic intervention: Donald JuddI was doubtful about the idea of artists making installations of earlier objects; I am still doubtful. I think installation should be the responsibility of the curators of the objects, although I continue to be critical of the generally artificial way in which objects are installed. To have artists make such installations is likely to perpetuate devious installation. I accepted the problem as a favour to the museum, and I accepted as a premise for myself that I would not contradict the judgement of the curator responsible, Christian Witt-Dörring. I think we did our best. The museum's premise, the installation's set fact, was that the Dubsky room, originally a room in a palace, had to be reconstructed in a much larger room of the museum. I was told there was no alternative. The room could be remade either in one of the corners of the exhibition room, leaving an awkward right angle for the other furniture, or it could be remade in the center of the room, leaving a symmetrical space and possibly establishing a room within a room - a good idea. I asked that this be done. The Dubsky room is too large and is awkward, but placing it in the center was the right decision. The room and most of the other furniture were made in the eighteenth century for the aristocracy. The room's grandeur is uncertain, and therefore excessive. It is uneasy; Chardin is not uneasy. All architecture and most installations are now uneasy. Why is Chardin simple, strong and easy? The separate pieces of furniture are placed symmetrically, usually in pairs, usually opposite each other. A rectangular space usually determines this. The positioning of the furniture was also carefully decided with regard to the size, color, and type of each piece. I asked for part of the moulding under the ceiling of the large room to be repeated around the exterior of the Dubsky room, to further incorporate it into the eighteenth century space made in the nineteenth century, and to reduce the excessive generality of its exterior. This is a small, uneasy room uneasily placed in a large, doubly uneasy room. I think it should be in the basement. But Witt-Dörring and I did our best, uneasily./ Donald JuddBiography Donald JuddBorn 1928 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. Died 1994 in New York.The painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, art critic, and philosopher Donald Judd was one of the most important representatives of Minimal Art. Like no other, he redefined the relation between art and space. In 1971, Judd moved to Marfa, Texas where he established the Chinati Foundation which was opened to the public in 1986. Works of Judd and of his contemporaries are on permanent display here. The Chinati Foundation exemplifies one of Judd’s greatest concerns: the appropriate presentation of artworks. This has gradually led to a change of thought in museums in favor of a more unified and coherent display of artworks.For the MAK’s 150th anniversary, designer Michael Embacher has given the Permanent Collection Carpets a new spatial concept that integrates an artistic intervention by Turkish artist Füsun Onur. This new presentation features the carpets of the MAK Collection as components of an intercultural dialog, as elements of exchange both within Asia and between Asia and Europe. Collection objects from the Ottoman and Safavid Empires are joined here by a selection of European pieces, and other objects from the arts-and-crafts sphere interrelate with the carpets from their respective regions of origin, serving to place them in a multilayered formal context and to underline their historical authenticity.The MAK’s collection of carpets numbers among the three most important such collections worldwide. Its core is formed by classical output from the 16th and 17th centuries, during which the great Islamic realms of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals experienced their golden ages. In addition to pieces from the Islamic world, the MAK is also home to a group of high-quality 18th-century carpets from the Savonnerie manufactory in France. Overall highlights include a unique silk Mamluk carpet, a Safavid hunting carpet, a carpet from Herat ornamented with spiraling tendrils, a figurative Indian piece from the era of Akbar, the Great, and the Savonnerie carpets of Emperor Josef II. The MAK’s collection came together less via systematic acquisitions and more due to the historically motivated integration of holdings, with each group originally having been compiled according to an independent set of criteria. The first carpet was purchased for the museum quite early on, in 1868—and by 1922, most of the items that comprise the present-day collection were already united beneath one roof. The most important ones were former imperial property.The visualization of the closely interlinked geographic, stylistic, and cultural connections between Europe and both the Middle East and south-western Asia from the period between the 15th and 18th centuries is a central aspect of the display space’s curatorial reconception and redesign. In his architectural concept, Michael Embacher juxtaposes carpets of differing origins, highlighting their plasticity and fragility by using thin steel cables to weave them into his spectacular whole-room installation’s outer shell. Thus positioned at various heights, slightly tilted and turned, the individual objects seem to float within the space.ARTISTIC INTERVENTION BY FÜSUN ONURFüsun Onur (*1938, Istanbul) gives rise here to a beguiling interplay between worlds of ideas, cultures, and religion. The artist has fashioned an ephemeral female angel who floats level with the gallery, presiding over the collected objects as if sent as an all-uniting or all-questioning sign. In so doing, Onur liberates the figure of the angel—a protagonist common to the scriptures of the Tanakh, the Old and New Testaments and the Koran—from preestablished notions of global and intellectual territories in a gesture that is both conceptual and poetic.Curator: Bärbel Vischer, Curator, MAK Contemporary Art CollectionCurator Barbara Karl, Curator, MAK Textiles and Carpets Coll
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