Permanent Collection Contemporary Art

Designing artist: Peter Noever

Permanent Collection space 1993–2012

The place for contemporary artists had to be literally extorted from the museum’s attic. The space is accessed by a staircase that links the area with the rhythm of the existing exhibition rooms without entirely lifting it from seclusion. Free of aesthetic conjecture and formalisms, this bright, clearly laid out and undivided, open "studio" space displays select, autonomous, individual and universal examples of contemporary art production.
Torn from their original context, these independent works, installations and sculptures interact with each other in a complex way and their dynamics, content, and fields of tension create and breathe life into a new spatial and emotional sculpture. / Peter Noever  (curator of the MAK Contemporary Art Collection during the phase of the reinstallation of the MAK Permanent Collection in the early 1990s)

A collection of contemporary art should not narrowly define art, but test, seek, and explore its depths. The idea of the founders of the MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts was to promote the arts and crafts, to contribute to the improvement of taste and to act as a model; but today, its main concern is to present current events and products from a specific perspective, to illustrate through its collection the inter-connectedness that arises at the borderline between "fine" and "applied" art.

The Contemporary Art Collection, established in 1986, seeks to confront the art of our own time and to generate a dialogue with the artists and with the documentation of contemporary art movements. Avoiding a one-sided, museum-oriented appraisal of art, the Collection will continually address questions and themes relevant to our times. Such uncompromising works as those by Donald Judd in Stadtpark, Philip Johnson at Schottenring and Franz West on Stubenbrücke, thus exemplify the Collection’s attempt at greater openness and understanding for art.
The MAK Contemporary Art Collection is oriented towards an emphasis on contemporary Austrian artistic production and works by artists who, through exhibitions and other events, have direct connections with this institution. Since 1995 a major part of the Collection is on display in the Arenbergpark Flak Tower. Works by Vito Acconci, Herbert Bayer, Günter Brus, Gregor Eichinger, Heinz Frank, Padhi Friedberger, Bruno Gironcoli, Magdalena Jetelová, Donald Judd, Birgit Jürgenssen, Milan Knizak, Brigitte Kowanz, Hans Kupelwieser, Heinz Leitner, Christoph Lissy, Helmut Mark, Oswald Oberhuber, Walter Pichler, Arnulf Rainer, Alfons Schilling, Eva Schlegel, Hubert Schmalix, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Ingeborg Strobl, Mario Terzic, James Turrell, Manfred Wakolbinger, Hans Weigand, Franz West, and Heimo Zobernig, and many others are shown here alongside experimental architectural projects and demonstrations by Raimund Abraham, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Günther Domenig, Frank O. Gehry, Zaha Hadid, John Hejduk, Frederick J. Kiesler, Eric Owen Moss, Rudolph M. Schindler, Carl Pruscha, and Lebbeus Woods. / Peter Noever  (curator of the MAK Contemporary Art Collection during the phase of the reinstallation of the MAK Permanent Collection in the early 1990s)