Profile - MAK - Applied Arts Contemporary Art

The MAK is a center for Art. At the MAK, the ideas of the artist and the intentions of the work are given free rein. Often art is created on the premises; and if necessary, art is defended.
The MAK is a hub of emerging global communication. Thus, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles1 and the Artists and Architects in Residence program at the Mackey Apartments are central to an intense discourse on the interweaving of contemporary themes in art and architecture.
With an extraordinary collection of applied and contemporary art, the MAK serves a dual purpose as a conservator of significant art objects and as a center for the scientific research of art with a special emphasis on its production, preservation, and reorientation. The MAK regards itself as a laboratory of artistic production and a research center of social awareness. The powerful ideas created here today will serve as models for tomorrow.

Founded in 1864 as the Imperial & Royal Austrian Museum of Art and Industry, the MAK has pursued a continued commitment to combining practice and theory, art and industry, production and reproduction. The School of Applied Arts, originally an outgrowth of the Museum, was later developed into an independent institution, known today as the University of Applied Arts.
When the Museum was restructured and remodelled in 1986, the Museum's original purpose was reconfirmed and radically expanded. The current MAK identity was created and a fundamental agenda, bold and decentralized, was introduced. One of the significant elements of the restructuring included the exhibition design for the presentation of objects determined by the interventions of contemporary artists. The development of new display strategies for the permanent collections reorganized formal modes of presentation, allowing an unparalleled interplay of historicism and contemporary intervention. Artists involved with the re-presenting of historical artifacts have included Barbara Bloom, Eichinger oder Knechtl, Günther Förg, Gang Art, Franz Graf, Jenny Holzer, Donald Judd, Peter Noever, Manfred Wakolbinger, Heimo Zobernig, Sepp Müller, Hermann Czech, and James Wines/SITE.
Another important priority of the MAK's programming is the commissioning of new works for public spaces both at home and abroad. Recent commissions include: Donald Judd's "Stage Set"; Philip Johnson's "Wiener Trio"; James Turrell's "The Other Horizon/Skyspace"; Franz West's "Vier Lemurenköpfe" in Vienna, as well as Martin Kippenberger's "METRO-Net Ventilation Shaft" in Los Angeles.
Transforming a World War II antiaircraft tower in Vienna's Arenbergpark, the Contemporary Art Tower (CAT) will be an international center, showcasing important contemporary projects. Through its unique avant-garde architecture and pioneering program, this "monument of barbarism" will become Vienna's foremost venue for contemporary art.

Art functions both as an investment in, and a prophesy of, the future of society. A museum construct is the ultimate transmitter for communicating the ideas and products of individuals across generation and nationality. Through its connection to the past, a museum also serves as a projection screen and a producer of utopian potentiality, thereby articulating an alternative to the business model of the entertainment industry and its resulting lifestyle that seeks easy sensation and simulated experience.
The museum must continue to develop as a place of awareness, free of external influences, by advancing the discourse between the interplay of experience and perception. Since it navigates along the borders that separate art and awareness from innumerable forms of fashionable consumption, the museum's articulation of qualitative assessment makes it a central forum for resistance against the widespread loss of meaning pandemic in contemporary popular culture.
This is the unalterable position of the MAK.

Peter Noever
CEO and Artistic Director of the MAK



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