The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb


Aspects of Collecting

Opening: 19 Nov 2009, 7.30 p.m.
Curators: international museum directors
Exhibition organisation: Anna Szöke, Andreas Hoffer

On the occasion of its 10th anniversary in 2009, the Essl Museum has invited ten international museums to take part in the exhibition project ASPECTS OF COLLECTING. All participating institutions and museums received a certain budget and were asked to acquire works of art they considered interesting and significant. The selection was made by the respective museum directors or curators. There were no conditions imposed, there was only the recommendation to focus on contemporary art. The Essl Museum will also contribute its own acquisition scheme. The selected sets of works will be presented in an exhibition at the Essl Museum and will then be made available to the individual museums as permanent loans.

The project partners were primarily selected on the basis of personal contacts established by the art collector Karlheinz Essl, who considered it important to invite not only institutions in Western Europe, but wanted to involve renowned museums with very different cultural and socio-political backgrounds. The wish to enhance future networking and co-operation and foster intercultural exchanges is one of the main driving forces of the project.


1. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art - Ishøj/Denmark
2. India Habitat Centre - New Delhi/India
3. LOUISIANA Museum of Modern Art - Humlebæk/Denmark
4. MART Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto - Rovereto/Italy
5. MdM Museum der Moderne - Salzburg/Austria
6. MOT Museum of Contemporary Art - Tokyo/Japan
7. MSL Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi - Lodz/Poland
8. MSU Muzej suvremene umjetnosti - Zagreb/Croatia
9. Städel Museum - Frankfurt/Germany
10. TATE Liverpool - Liverpool/UK

This exhibition project will incorporate a range of different collection concepts. As the ten institutions received the same level of funding, a number of questions arose. Where will the individual museums place their focus? How important is the profile of a collection for its acquisition decisions? Will the decision-makers opt for a range of artists or will they use the entire budget on one single artistic stance?

The resulting acquisition concepts of the eleven institutions - ten participants and the Essl Museum - are marked by great diversity. The range covers anything from a focus on one individual work of art (Tate, MOT) to works that complement the collection focus (MdM, Louisiana), a curatorial exploration of painting at the margins of European art after 1945 (Städel), a theme- based concept (MART, MSL) or broad-based acquisitions of young art (MSU, IHC). One thing has become particularly clear: there is a wealth of options for enlarging and enhancing collections, which is an important element that must be fostered and strengthened. >ASPECTS OF COLLECTING< offers the unique opportunity to compare divergent collecting and purchasing strategies in one exhibition and will encourage the visitors to discover a great wealth of artistic production.

At a time when state-run museums have very limited possibilities of enlarging their collections, this project developed by the Essl Museums is designed to make a contribution to spurring a public debate on the importance of collections and their underlying collecting concepts.

Participating Artists:

Lovro Artuković, Micol Assaël, Miriam Bäckström, Stephan Balkenhol, Martin Barré, Milivoj Bijelić, Zhen Chen, Thea Djordjadze, Simon English, Jan Fabre, Liam Gillick, Group ABS, Ana Hušman, Manisha Jha, Jesper Just, Suhasini Kejrival, Raoul de Keyser, Alem Korkut, Eliseo Mattiacci, Annette Messager, Sarah Morris, Muntean/Rosenblum, Nunzio (Di Stefano), Tal R, Hans Hamid Rasmussen, Anselm Reyle, Pipilotti Rist, Arcangelo Sassolino, Viren Tanwar, Patrick Tuttofuocco, Shiv Verma, Silvio Vujičić, Heimo Zobernig

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