Imaginary Beings @ 150 Years of the MAK
June 11, 2014 - October 5, 2014
From the website: On the occasion of the MAK’s anniversary year, the exhibition EXEMPLARY: 150 Years of the MAK – From Arts and Crafts to Design invites you to an inspiring encounter with protagonists and exhibits from the long-standing history of the MAK, as well as with contemporary design pioneers. Who or what was exemplary in the past, and where can we find (role) models today? Historical figures associated with the MAK and their effect on the development of its collection provide the introduction to this examination of the original idea for an exemplary sample collection for innovative arts and crafts. By exhibiting and providing so-called models as well as in the resulting interplay between tradition and the present, the founders of the k. k. Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie (now the MAK) saw an opportunity to raise the standards of taste and quality in objects. As times have changed, they have been affected by industrialization and mass production, new technologies and materials, changing markets, digitalization, and not least by the emergence of a comprehensive understanding of design. This has led to a vast social change, which has even been calling into question the selfconception of museums in general and of the MAK in particular. Despite this, guidance is nevertheless necessary in our increasingly complex everyday lives. Hence, design takes on a significant role as a driving force for change in the 21st century. As places where design is debated now and will be debated in the future, what is the duty and purpose of museums of applied arts? Which themes are relevant to everyday life? Which objects should be collected? And in what way and for what purpose? The MAK poses these questions to preeminent contemporaries and renowned pioneers from the fields of creativity and research; among them are Jan Boelen, Hilary Cottam, Lidewij Edelkoort, Konstantin Grcic, Gesche Joost, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Fiona Raby and Tony Dunne, as well as Stefan Sagmeister and Sabine Seymour. They have been invited to create a modern exemplary collection and to discuss it with a “muse” of their own choosing. These exemplary viewpoints enter into a dialog with forebears in the MAK’s history and with exhibits from the museum’s collection, which comprises over 600,000 objects in addition to the library and archive. A stimulating dialog, which not only looks to the past but also to the future. The exhibition is organized by Guest Curator Tulga Beyerle and MAK Curator Thomas Geisler, Design Curator, MAK Design Collection.