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Aspects of collecting

Essl Museum Contemporary Art, Klosterneuburg

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary

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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 for Moderne Kunst - Ishøj/Denmark
2. India Habitat Centre - New Delhi/India
3. LOUISIANA Museum for Moderne Kunst - 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. ms Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi - Lodz/Poland
8. Muzej suvremene umjetnosti - Zagreb/Croatia
9. Städel Museum - Frankfurt/Germany
10. TATE Liverpool - Liverpool/UK

Participating Artists:
Lovro Artukovic, 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 Vujicic, Heimo Zobernig

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.

An exhibition catalogue will be published with texts by Prof. Karlheinz Essl and the involved directors.

Exhibition organisation: Anna Szöke, Andreas Hoffer

Image: Pipilotti Rist, Video-still: A Liberty Statue for Tökyö, 2008-2009. Audio/video-installation (Monolith-version with 3 DVD players, 3 projectors, sound systems, mirror and lounge element and pillows) 475 x 770 x 650 cm © Pipilotti Rist

Press and Public Relations Office:
Nina Auinger: +43 (0) 2243/370 50 60,
Regina Holler-Strobl: +43 (0) 2243/370 50 62,

Press conference and panel talk: 19 Nov 2009, 10.30 a.m.
Opening: 19 Nov 2009, 7.30 p.m.

Essl Museum Contemporary Art
An der Donau-Au 1, A-3400 Klosterneuburg / Vienna
Opening Hours:
Tue - Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wed 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Free Admission 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
We celebrate 10 years Essl Museum and our gift to our visitors is art:
10 weeks free entrance to the Essl Museum from TUE, 24/11/2009 to TUE, 02/02/2010

The future of painting
dal 1/10/2014 al 7/2/2015

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