JEAN PAUL GAULTIER coming to Vienna?

from Helmut Lang's "Make it Hard" series of works -
maybe the only way for fashion to make it
into a Viennese "design museum": after meltdown

... tomorrow is not only my birthday (ahum...), it is also the day that Vienna's Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) welcomes a new director: after excessively long years under the "reign" of Peter Noever, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, previously director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York and managing director of Vienna's support institution for the creative industries, departure, will take over. Congratulations to this very charismatic homme-de-lettres, Mr Thun-Hohenstein, and new hope for Vienna's design scene?
I mentioned the cancelled Helmut Lang art exhibition in a previous post (and the absurdity of Lang's only chance of being exhibited as an artist, not as a fashion designer). Who knows, maybe Mr Lang will bring his "Make it Hard" exhibition to Vienna one day, or another piece of destroyed fashion. But that's not what matters most right now.

I would consider it of some importance for MAK to bethink itself of its inherent mission to function as a showcase for the landscape of applied and decorative arts (ie., without relegating exhibitions of design to the basement of the museum!). Which does not mean that the focus must necessarily be on AUSTRIAN design, fashion and architecture.
Why is there not one museum in Vienna that could potentially bring one of the huge fashion exhibitions that we see so successfully touring the international museum landscape to this town? Now, because quartier21 definitely doesn't have the money, and because no other museum, except for MAK, has the mission to do so.
When I recently visited San Francisco's De Young museum, the Jean-Paul-Gaultier exhibition due to open in summer of 2012 was already (!) advertised. Well, why would that be? Because such an exhibition does attract visitors, and a lot of them, and attracting visitors is what a museum should be about at the end of a day. You know what Horace says? "Prodesse et delectare", instruct, be useful and entertain at the same time.

And if we keep on asking ourselves why Vienna isn't a true "fashion capital", and of course it isn't (its inexisant role as a B2C-hub notwithstanding), the fact that the local public is never presented with a big and potentially very popular exhibition might just have to do with that. Isn't it part of the responsibility of a museum to influence and forge the taste of the local public? No doubt.
And allow me to say one more thing about the obvious scepticism of the Austrian "intellectual" scene regarding all fashion-related discourse and phenomena (this also, but to a far lesser degree, concerns design): these are not the trivial and deprived-of-intellectual-value topics as which they are viewed by many (and as which they appear, more often than not, in the widely received mediatic discourse).
As a matter of fact, I would like to think that it was about time for a little change, and it might be too big a birthday wish to express for me, but would it not be wonderful if we could see a new orientation of a this Viennese museum landmark take place. And in the months to come, ideally, not years or decades ...

Aucun commentaire: