Karola Kraus appointed new director of the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien

As of October 1, 2010 Karola Kraus, present head of the Staatlichen Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, will take up her position as the new director of Vienna’s Museum of Modern Art and successor to Edelbert Köb. Federal Minister Claudia Schmied appointed this well-connected and experienced managerial figure from the international art scene in order to give the MUMOK new impetus.

“Since it was founded the Museum of Modern Art has been dedicated to the contemporary art and culture of the time. It stands for cosmopolitanism, progress, and artistic diversity at the highest qualitative levels. Both the exceptional collection and the incisive architecture of Ortner & Ortner at the centre of the Museumsquartier have given the MUMOK a standing that extends far beyond Vienna’s borders and, in comparison to larger institutions, allow it to be regarded as a jewel. When one considers the collections as a whole, one is both astounded and delighted at the density of radical and high-quality art works which marked a change of paradigm at the time and continue to bear witness to that change. It is my aim to continue to position the MUMOK as a site for discourse and confrontation, as a place of education and the initiation of encounters with the important phenomena of modernity up to the present,” says Kraus.

The MUMOK collection forms the basis of the exhibition programme. In regular collaborations with international partners she wants to put on four exhibitions per year which have correspondences with, or extend, the collection. The intention here is to link the artists of the 1980s and 1990s with their artistic precursors from the 1960s and 1970s. Kraus’s concept envisages presenting retrospectively-connotated solo shows of central artistic positions represented in the collection. In order to show the full spectrum of the 1960s, this series of exhibitions will be rounded out with those art movements of the 1960s and 1970s which are not as yet represented in the collection. Alongside these solo presentations and thematic group exhibitions Kraus would like a regular cycle of large-scale overview exhibitions which pursue questions relating to the social development of art.

Our working environment is increasingly determined by a dismantling of hierarchies and teamwork. The active inclusion of the public, artists, critics, and other curators in the work process is important for Kraus. The MUMOK should become an interactive centre in which it is not the work in the classical sense that is in the foreground, but one where the social aspects of art receive due regard.

“It is my goal to continue to consolidate the MUMOK as a centre of international art discourse,” says Karola Kraus. A special programme that reflects other levels should be developed to accompany each exhibition and increase its depth. In addition to the exhibition programme with an international profile, cross-overs should be established to other areas of art.

Over above the acquisition of new partners and sponsors, it is long-term planning that will be decisive in securing the financial viability of the exhibitions and educational programmes and enable commitment to international cooperation projects. Of course, as is presently the case, the MUMOK will only be able to undertake a modest, state-financed acquisition programme in the future and here Kraus wants to intensify relations to private collectors.

The director designate will be paying particular attention to the MUMOK’s educational programme: art should be part of the experience repertoire of all social strata and age groups. Kraus recalls the fact that the MUMOK was the first museum in Austria with a professional art education department and in this area there are a number of measures which will make the MUMOK the leading institution in this sector once again.

Since the MUMOK exhibitions through to spring 2011 are already in an advanced state of planning, the programme conceived and managed by Karola Kraus will be implemented next year, in early summer. The exhibition programme will be presented at a press conference in mid-November of this year.

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