November 26, 2011 - MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art - New Director Christoph Thun-Hohenstein to re-position MAK Vienna
November 26, 2011

New Director Christoph Thun-Hohenstein to re-position MAK Vienna

MAK, view from the Stubenring.
© Gerald Zugmann/MAK.

Change Through Applied Art
Christoph Thun-Hohenstein Presents New MAK Program: Exhibitions – Projects – Strategies

MAK, Stubenring 5
1010 Vienna

After taking office as MAK Director in September, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein has begun a vital project of transforming the museum for the future. Under the title of “Change through applied art”, the museum has commenced a process of public consultancy, open forums, and reflexive examination of what a universal Museum of Applied Arts stands for in the twenty first century. Crucially, this questioning focuses on a collection that encompasses art, architecture, design as well as on what the MAK Collection stands for and on the role it can play in advancing museology and exhibition making. “Applied art needs to be filled with new life. Utilizing its potential as a motor of positive change in our society—socially, ecologically and culturally—is the main mission of an active museum of applied arts,” explains Thun-Hohenstein at his first program presentation on 24 November 2011.

This commitment to change through applied art will become manifest in the 2012 exhibition program—notably so in the exhibition “MADE4YOU. Design for Change” (6 Jun–7 Oct 2012), which will explore seminal design examples for mobility, public health and education, communication, the working world and recreational activity. It will reach a first height in 2014: a “European Triennial for Change” (4 Jun–5 Oct 2014), which will bring together significant contemporary positions on the subject of “Change” from applied art, particularly design and architecture, as well as from contemporary art.

In keeping with Thun-Hohenstein’s central concern of expanding and giving more visibility to the MAK Collection, the MAK Permanent and Study Collection will be newly conzeptualized and designed by artists. Particularly in respect to the thematic area of “Vienna around 1900″, the MAK with its invaluable holdings from the period will be positioned as a genre-crossing center of competence with a fundamentally reorganized and reconceptualized generous permanent exhibition, which will open in November 2012 and be complemented with shows of individual contemporary positions.

The exhibition strategy will be fundamentally revised and will focus on the dialog between disciplines. From June 2012 the exhibition “THINGS: Plain and Simple” (13 Jun–30 Sep 2012), will explore the ideal of simplicity of form in Asian and European art history through three parallel collection exhibitions. The 1,700 sq. m. lower-floor Exhibition Hall will be dedicated to major thematic shows and important individual positions, starting with “ENVISIONING BUILDINGS. Reflecting Architecture in Contemporary Art Photography” (7 Dec 2011–22 Apr 2012), which examines art photography’s take on architecture. To intensify the collaboration of art and the economy as well as connections between different creative-industry sectors aside from the cooperation with departure, the creative agency of the City of Vienna, which has been going on since 2009, there will be collaborations with the Vienna University of Applied Arts and the “sound:frame” festival.

MAK Branches
Renamed into MAK Tower, the MAK Depot of Contemporary Art at the Arenbergpark Flak Tower will house a comprehensive presentation of the Contemporary Art Collection as well as a new Permanent Collection Design; moreover, the venue will be used for selected contemporary personal and thematic exhibitions.

At the MAK Center L.A., the dialog between art and architecture will be further promoted with the launch of a new “Schindler Award for Art and Architecture”, to be given for the first time in 2013 to experimental architects, and with the establishment of a novel art and architecture venue featuring Austrian and Los Angeles-based art positions on the Garage Top of Schindler’s Mackey Apartments.

Positioning the MAK as an open museum is a central concern of Thun-Hohenstein’s: “One of my first initiatives here at the MAK was launching a project named “MAP – Memory and Progress”, in which the museum’s cultural memory is reconsidered in a number of public discussion events and the proposals presented by the MAK for the coming years are up for debate. From mid-February 2012, the resultant exhibition “MAGIC OF THE FUTURE. The MAK as Public Space” will combine the new positioning of the museum as a propelling force for positive change with greater visibility of the collection and fundamentally address the mission and tasks of a museum of the future.”

The complete 2012 MAK Exhibition Program is available for download at

MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art
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