Each installment features a writer, artist, or curator discussing an underrated artist, artwork, movement, or museum.
Leon Höllhumer, "Snicker Snitch", at MUSA's 'Start Gallery'
Today we're with Thomas Licek, the managing director of Eyes On, in discussion of MUSA, which is "the City of Vienna contemporary art collection that is managed by the Cultural Affairs Department of the Vienna City Administration." Start us off with your first visit to MUSA. When was it, and what do you remember of it?
My first visit was in 2007 when the museum was opened. I can remember a huge crowd.
How long has the museum been in operation, and how has it changed through the years?
MUSA is now nine years in operation, not much time for a change.
MUSA is not only an exhibition area, but also includes the Start Gallery ("a launching pad for young local artists at the start of their career") and the Artothek ("a stock of graphic artworks available on loan to private individuals"). Can you tell us about these other aspects of MUSA, and how they blend with the exhibition area and the museum's general purpose?
Whereas the MUSA presents 4 to 6 exhibitions per year there are 10 shows at the Start Gallery that are attracting especially young audience. Often works from exhibitions at the Start Gallery are bought for the art collection of the City of Vienna. The artworks that can be loaned at the Artothek for just Euro 2,50 per picture/month belong to the collection.
Gabriele Rothemann's "Vierundzwanzig Vogelkäfige", coming February
Why do you think the museum is underrepresented, and why does it deserve more attention?
MUSA has the largest collection of this kind in Austria. Currently it has a stock of approx. 40,000 artworks by about 4,500 different artists from all fields of art. The City of Vienna Cultural Affairs Department started acquiring works for the collection in 1951 as part of its general policy of promoting local artists. Today the collection provides a comprehensive overview of the development of art in Vienna during the past decades. But it is difficult to compete with the better reknowned museums in Vienna like the Albertina, Belvedere, or the mumok.
Patrick Roman Scherer's "Take Me to Court", which just ended
Is MUSA a very Austrian concept, or do you think something like it could exist around the world?
MUSA is a very Viennese concept, but it could be a role model for other cities.