Photo: Christoph Thun-Hohenstein MAK- presenting the year's program 2015



How do we want to live in the future? How do we define happiness? How can we  improve our world? Those are the guiding themes to which the MAK is dedicated in 2015. In the light of dramatic climate change and a profoundly unequal distribution of growth and wealth, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Director of the MAK, sees a challenge for the museum to find answers to urgent contemporary questions using the resources of applied and fine arts. The highlights of the program for 2015, which positions the MAK yet more sustainably as one of the leading museums globally for positive changes to our lifestyles, include the presentation about EOOS, one of the most exciting design agencies in the world as regards positive change, as well as outstanding exhibitions as part of the VIENNA BIENNALE 2015: IDEAS FOR CHANGE, organized collaboratively by several institutions. The presentation of Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show is dedicated to the significant topic of happiness, while the large solo exhibition JOSEF FRANK. Against Design continues the MAK’s close examination of Viennese Modern-ism and efforts to analyze its current relevance. 

Posted 22 January 2015

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“Design and other creative disciplines face the challenge of sustainably winning people over to responsible actions through creativity and innovation. Responsibility works best when it brings joy to people and is fun. The museum is an ideal laboratory for debating and creating tools and processes to improve the world. In an era that is  increasingly driven by egotism, thoughtlessness, and greed, people need one thing above all else: positive orientation. Similar to the way the search for a new human be-ing was foregrounded in Viennese Modernism, today—in Digital Modernity—the focus is on new, global citizens: people who are locally anchored but who act responsibly with a global perspective,” says Christoph Thun-Hohenstein.

The potential for positive change—or for a change of perspective—is embedded in every project. With its design pathos—focused on reduction and situated between archaism and high-tech—EOOS has established itself as one of the most internationally successful design studios. On the occasion of its 20-year anniversary, the MAK will present the first large show about the Austrian studio under the company name: EOOS (MAK DE-SIGN LAB, 28 January – 17 May 2015) provides an insight into the studio’s poetical-analytic design process. The MAK DESIGN LAB, designed by EOOS in 2014, forms the framework for an exhibition “parcourse” with interventions in all areas of the lab that illustrate the wide-ranging creative work realized by the studio’s founders, Martin Bergmann, Gernot Bohmann, and Harald Gruendl.
Change is only possible together. Precisely for this reason, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein is all the happier that the VIENNA BIENNALE, which he initiated and which is the first of its kind to combine contemporary fine art with design and architecture, will be real-ized by the MAK in 2015 in partnership with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Architekturzentrum Wien, and departure, the Creative Unit of the Vienna Business Agency, with support from the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology as a non-university research partner ( Within the framework of this first VIENNA BIENNALE (11 June – 4 October 2015), dedicated to the topic IDE-AS FOR CHANGE, the MAK is hosting four major projects:
Mapping Bucharest: Art, Memory, and Revolution 1916–2016 (curators: Peter Weibel, Director of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe and Full Professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna; and Bärbel Vischer, Curator, MAK Contemporary Art Collection) illuminates the contemporary scene in Bucharest and Romania in the light of Dadaism, Surrealism, the Theatre of the Absurd, and current avant-garde movements in art, design, and architecture. The winning entries to the ideas contest Create Your Bucharest will also be presented in a dedicated section of the exhibition. Mapping Bucharest and Create Your Bucharest are realized by the MAK with generous financial support from OMV and OMV Petrom.

The interdisciplinary examination of the topic of urbanity is the motivation behind the exhibition Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, realized by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, in cooperation with the MAK. The featured scenarios were developed by six teams of experts and practitioners in work-shops in which new architectural possibilities for six global metropolises were tested (curator: Pedro Gadanho, Curator of Contemporary Architecture, MoMA).

In the context of the city as a laboratory for sustainable lifestyles and as part of 2051: Smart Life in the City (curators: Harald Gruendl, Co-partner at EOOS and Director of the IDRV – Institute of Design Research Vienna, and Thomas Geisler, Curator, MAK Design Collection), an exhibition in the MAK as well as test stations—so-called “Demonstrators”—in the city, and workshops will be developed that represent a new understanding of design. The project investigates urgent design tasks: how will climate change, limited resources, and demographic change alter our civilization? What influ-ence will technological and social innovations have? 2051: Smart Life in the City is organized by the MAK in cooperation with departure, the Creative Unit of the Vienna Business Agency.

Maria Lind, Director of the Tensta Konsthall in Stockholm, will curate a project for the VIENNA BIENNALE consisting of three parts: a large-scale group exhibition at the MAK, a solo exhibition at the Kunsthalle Wien (MuseumsQuartier), and a special   report. Discursive events, including the MAK NITE Lab A New Enlightenment? The First Public Deliberation, which took place in 2014, act as precursors to the overall project.
Also initiated by Thun-Hohenstein, the VIENNA BIENNALE CIRCLE—comprising eminent personalities who live in this city—will guarantee that the Biennale is recon-nected to Vienna and will ensure that all projects are thoroughly interdisciplinary and interconnected. The insights gained will be presented in an additional exhibition.

Ongoing Dialog with the Avant-garde
With the aim of creating new perspectives on the basis of the museum’s tradition, the MAK systematically focuses on the current avant-garde in art, design, and architecture. In her multi-part work Provenance (MAK Permanent Collection Contemporary Art, 22 April – 31 May 2015), Amie Siegel shines a light on the sociology of modernistic design, exemplified by the furniture designed by Pierre Jeanneret for Le Corbusier’s buildings in Chandigarh, India. The film installation portrays the furniture’s journey in reverse chronology, from private homes to auctions, warehouses, restoration, and transporta-tion by ship back to their place of origin.

In Cabinet (MAK GALLERY, 4 March – 10 May 2015), a joint exhibition by the MAK and the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Alfredo Barsuglia’s expansive installation will transform the MAK GALLERY into a complex array of purportedly private living areas that will culminate in the eponymous “Cabinet.” Cabinet is the eighth exhibition in the series APPLIED ART. NOW, a cooperation of the MAK and the University of Applied Arts Vienna, which is intended to create a platform for contemporary forms of applied art.
The MAK will draw the audiovisual avant-garde into the museum by means of the al-ready established cooperation with sound:frame. sound:frame, Vienna’s “festival for audiovisual expressions,” focuses on audiovisual and interdisciplinary LIVE Perfor-mance. Over six days, an international program will be presented that comprises live shows, performative communication concepts, talk formats, and laboratory situations.
Outstanding contemporary renderings of international auteur jewellery—an art form for unique individuals that gains new dimensions in dialog with its wearers—are on display in the exhibition JEWELLERY 1970–2015: BOLLMANN COLLECTION, FRITZ MAIERHOFER – Retrospective (MAK Exhibition Hall, 14 January – 29 March 2015), which opened this January. For the first time, the show provides a deep insight into the Austrian Bollmann couple’s jewellery collection, which comprises over 1,000 pieces in total, and presents the oeuvre of the internationally renowned Austrian jewellery artist, Fritz Maierhofer.
The MAK NITE Lab provides a zone of creativity for avant-garde experiments and ex-perimental designs by the contemporary scene. On the basis of a process-oriented con-ception of art, this established event series—which takes place on occasional Tuesday evenings with free admission—is intended as a platform for diverse subjective interpre-tations of the production and perception of art. Types of performance art, film/video, and installations are the focus of the series. 

Change Factor: Happiness
Happiness as a significant factor for positive change is the subject of the comprehensive exhibition STEFAN SAGMEISTER. The Happy Show (MAK, 28 October 2015 – 28 March 2016), organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylva-nia in cooperation with the MAK and supported by the Erste Bank as part of the MoreWERT Sponsoring Program. In The Happy Show, Stefan Sagmeister, the “grand master of graphic design,” shares his experiences of happiness, which he achieved through meditation, sport, and stimulants. He inquires after happiness and offers visi-tors the opportunity to increase their own happiness through interactive and multime-dia aids. 
The MAK Works on Paper Room is also applying itself to outstanding renderings in the field of graphic design with CHRISTOPH NIEMANN. Drawing the Line (1 July – 11 October 2015) and the presentation of the competition 100 BEST POSTERS 14. Ger-many Austria Switzerland (4 November 2015 – 10 January 2016), that has become a tradition.
A brilliant conclusion to the year 2015 is provided by the large solo exhibition JOSEF FRANK. Against Design (MAK Exhibition Hall, 16 December 2015 – 27 March 2016). Once again, the MAK will seek out the traces of Viennese Modernism, the unceasing topicality of which is also a source of inspiration and fascination with regard to the subject of change. The exhibition presents the major works of one of the most signifi-cant Austrian architects and applied artists of the 20th century: Josef Frank, who was born in Baden near Vienna in 1885 and died in Stockholm in 1967. With his superb designs for textiles and furniture, Frank ranks among the designers of Modernism, to whom international design is still indebted today due to the important impulses they contributed. 
MAK Branches
Now in its fourth edition, the MAK DESIGN SALON, which has taken place since 2013 with the support of the DOROTHEUM, presents the London-based designer duo Dunne & Raby, known for their speculative design approach. With The School of Con-structed Realities (12 June – 4 October 2015), Dunne & Raby will react to the historical ambience of the upper-middle class Geymüllerschlössel, built in 1808. The digital revo-lution is cause for the designers to take up and revisit this location, shaped by the spirit of an earlier industrial society.
In the Josef Hoffmann Museum, Brtnice, a joint branch of the Moravian Gallery in Brno and the MAK, the exhibition THE PRIVATE JOSEF HOFFMANN (2 June – 1 November 2015) will show for the first time Josef Hoffmann’s personal possessions that have remained in Brtnice and will also present objects produced by the Wiener Werkstätte that have never before been on display. At the same time, young designers will be invited to react to Hoffmann’s style through object interventions. 
This year, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, will again contribute to the cultural exchange between Vienna and Los Angeles with a wide-ranging pro-gram. The Schindler House is showing four pioneering projects: 
In the exhibition Begin Again, Begin Again (22 January – 29 March 2015), the artist Renée Green draws a connection between the Schindler House and questions regarding the experience and forms of being alive, living, inhabitation, time, and distance.
Likewise inspired by the Schindler House, the artist Carmen Argote explores our un-derstanding of architectural space in her solo exhibition, which will be realized at two locations in cooperation with Andrea Zittel’s High Desert Test Sites (installation in the Schindler House, 18 April – 17 May 2015; installation in the Mojave Desert, 23 May – 28 June 2015), while the exhibition Creative Spaces (29 May – 16 August 2015) 
addresses the influence of divergent ideas about creativity on modern architecture. 
The exhibition R.M. Schindler: The Prequel (10 September – 6 December 2015), 
curated by the MAK’s Christian Witt-Dörring, traces the aesthetic manifestations of Modernism in the early 20th century in the present-day Schindler House against the backdrop of the show WAYS TO MODERNISM: Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, and
Their Impact, which can be seen in the MAK Vienna until 19 April 2015.
The exhibition series GARAGE EXCHANGE VIENNA – LOS ANGELES will also be continued. In two exhibitions per year, former Schindler scholarship students from Austria perform in collaboration with artists and architects resident in Los Angeles on the garage top of the Mackey Apartments, which has been converted into an exhibition space. This year, positions by Nicole Six/Paul Petritsch & James Benning (30 April – 29 August 2015) and Marko Lulic & Sam Durant (12 November 2015 – 5 March 2016) will be presented (details at 

MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art
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A-1010 Wien

See exposition Ways to Modernism

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