Migros Museum

20 - An Exhibition in Three Acts

15 Oct 2016 - 02 Feb 2017

Museum Revisited – 1996–2016

The Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst celebrates its twentieth anniversary – an excellent occasion to turn the focus on the institution itself. We will try to envision its future while also looking back on its past, undertaking a searching and multifaceted examination of the history of the museum and its collection as well as our curatorial program. The section of the exhibition on view in the ground floor galleries Museum Revisited – 1996–2016 shines a spotlight on the everyday operations of the museum and presents unusual glimpses of what is going on behind the scenes, with particular emphasis on our art education activities. Publications, posters, photographic and video documentation, and archival materials trace the outlines of our work over the past two decades.

Conceived as a site of production as well as reflection, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst has built a reputation over the past two decades as an exemplary venue for contemporary art that has continually solicited critical discussion of its own institutional format. Encouraging our audiences to become active participants and interact with the art in an open dialogue has been a central part of our mission from the start. This emphasis on discursive engagement is reflected in 20 – An Exhibition in Three Acts, which welcomes visitors with Olaf Nicolai’s (b. Halle an der Saale, Germany; lives and works in Berlin) expansive ensemble Landschaft, metaphysisch und konkret (nach Max Bill) (1998). The work illustrates the emphasis on participatory art that was characteristic of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst’s programming, especially in the 1990s. The installation can be “used” in diverse ways, and as we celebrate the anniversary, it will be both a sculpture in its own right and a setting that invites visitors to linger, discuss, share recollections, or immerse themselves in their reading. It will also serve as a platform for our art education program. Breaking up the conventional exhibition situation, this arrangement will facilitate discussion between visitors and experts on issues such as the production of new art, technical and conservational documentation, restoration, art storage and shipping, the setting up and dismantling of exhibitions, insurance, and legal questions in relation to works of contemporary art. We will cooperate with a variety of partners, including art schools, universities, and numerous other cultural and social institutions, to bring together the greatest possible diversity of perspectives. Complementing this exploration of issues around the way today’s art is handled in museums as well as the contested functions and mission of a museum of contemporary art, a ground floor gallery devoted to the founding and history of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst will shed light on the “character” of the collection, which has grown steadily since 1957, and on how changing circumstances and successive directors and curators have put their stamp on the acquisitions program. Among other exhibits, this room will present archival materials that have never been accessible to the public.

Tags: Max Bill