Susanne Titz

Curatorial Statement

When the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach opened, it appeared to signal a new era worldwide. The date of its inauguration was 23 June 1982, a defining moment in the early eighties, and the commissioning client, the new owner, was a city that had previously only been known for cloth manufacturing and football. But with this museum it triggered a hitherto unheard-of wave of artistic and architectural tourism. The museum seemed to embody the “art of the eighties” and postmodernism – in a time which proclaimed the end of modernity and accompanied all contemporary events with the concept of post(= after)modernism. The building’s architect was from Vienna, Hans Hollein, who for the first time was given the opportunity to carry out a large-scale architectural design, for which three years later he was awarded the internationally acclaimed Pritzker Prize. The initiator and fellow creative spirit in his planning was the museum director Johannes Cladders, whose international reputation since 1967 had been founded on exhibitions he had previously had to present in the historical architecture of a more or less provisionally installed municipal museum. In 1970 he had invited Hans Hollein to show his work in an exhibition in this venue, and in 1972 he succeeded in persuading the city to award a direct contract to the Viennese architect.

“Art of the Eighties and Seventies”, the title of an exhibition curated by Michael Stevenson that is to take place some 23 years after the museum’s opening, points to a new perspective. It probes behind the visible event to reconsider how the museum initially came about. Michael Stevenson examines the protracted period of planning and construction of the museum, which was started in the early 1970s – if not indeed even earlier, in the sixties. For this is where Johannes Cladders and Hans Hollein’s respective intellectual origins lie. As many of their colleagues of their generation and culture, both figures voiced critical views of the status quo and – at the outset independently of each other – similar thoughts about the new role of art and architecture, but also of museums and society. As such the Museum Abteiberg can also be regarded as the materialization of their thinking, if not even as its constructed manifesto.

Quoted from the German edition of “Art of the Eighties and Seventies”, catalogue by Michael Stevenson for the exhibition (of the same title) in the Museum Abteiberg, 11 September 2005–29 January 2006, Revolver Archiv für Aktuelle Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, 2006, p. 11.

Susanne Titz 2005, Copyright: Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach, Fotograf: Peter Illgner
Susanne Titz
Director | Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach

Keywords
Contemporary art
Architecture/Space
Interdisciplinary projects

Contact:
Susanne Titz