You are here

60 Years mumok | The Dieter and Gertraud Bogner Collection

mumok insider

In 2007, with a generous gesture “with no strings attached,” the collecting couple Dieter and Gertraud Bogner gave mumok a very comprehensive part of the collection that they had been accumulating since the late 1970s. This gift consisted of more than a hundred paintings, sculptures, objects, media works, and installations, as well as 300 drawings, gouaches, prints, autographs, artist’s books, and archive materials from the fields of concrete, media-based, and conceptual art, and it has since been continually complemented by means of further gifts—for example installations by the Croat artist David Maljković and by Nikita Kadan from Kyiv.

On the occasion of the eightieth birthday of Dieter Bogner mumok is again in the role of the receiver of a gift—this topical and most recent donation comprises around 250 drawings, gouaches, print portfolios, and objects, including works by Richard Artschwager, Marc Adrian, Robert Adrian X, Thom Barth, Herbert Boeckl, Kaucyila Brooke, Inge Dick, Tibor Gáyor, Kurt Ingerl, Donald Judd, Thomas Kaminsky, Richard Paul Lohse, Vera Molnár, Margot Pilz, Markus Prachensky, and Ad Reinhardt, and also a prints cabinet full of works from the bequest of Hildegard Joos from all the phases of her work. The thematic focus of the Bogner Collection at mumok is hereby considerably reinforced, while gaps are closed in the museum’s own holdings. Regular inclusion of works from the Bogner Collection in mumok exhibitions indicate that it has this function too.

The initiative for the first large gift came from Edelbert Köb, as he used his tenure as director of mumok to address the state’s collecting policy in public events and discussions at a time when dwindling funds were unable to keep pace with the rapidly increasing prices on the art market. It was thanks to this critical diagnosis that the museum received the Bogner Collection, an equally rich and thematically precise reservoir of artworks in the tradition of critical modernism committed to enlightenment principles, a spirit to which the collection also gave new impetus. These works represent an unusual collection profile in the Austrian context, as here for a long time collections of expressive and figurative works dominated, reflecting a far more traditional image of art history.

The Bogners were and still are a far from typical ferment in this biotope, as they are highly committed to active educational policy with clear social and political aims. Dieter Bogner was already campaigning against the destruction of the environment back in the 1970s, and he was of the initiators of the occupation of the Hainburger Au, which inflicted a sustainable defeat on a stubborn political establishment. Bogner is also a renowned art historian who has taught and written on artists such as Josef Hoffmann, Johannes Itten, Frederick Kiesler, and Haus-Rucker-Co, and has taken a particular interest in art theory. His interest in architecture is evidenced by his work as a planner of museums for numerous international museum buildings, including the MuseumsQuartier in the early 1990s, and also in his role as initiator and for many years chair of the Austrian Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation and as a curator of large retrospective exhibitions, beginning with the first big overview show of Kiesler at the Museum of the 20th Century in 1988.

The art space at Schloss Buchberg in Gars am Kamp is key to all the activities of the Bogners. Here it is clear that the collection built up over forty years is based on decades of work with artists, connected to intensive discourse and archive work that responds to the analytical and sensual aspirations of art with an obligation to its serious scholarly presentation and dissemination. The foundation of the Exakte Tendenzen group in 1976 (with Kurt Ingerl, Harold and Hildegard Joos, Brigitta Malche, Oskar Putz, Sabine Weiger) clearly shows that the Bogners were themselves from the beginning part of the art scene and that for them what was decisive was not to linger in the past but to be committed to contemporary art. A number of now older site-specific permanent installations in the interior and exterior of Schloss Buchberg—by Roland Goeschl, Dan Graham, Stanislav Kolíbal, Dóra Maurer, and François Morellet—are continually complemented by more recent works, for example by Martin Beck, Josef Dabernig, Hanne Lippard, Dorit Margreiter, and Heimo Zobernig, making the castle a location for dynamic art history. mumok has now been profiting for fifteen years from the charisma of this highly individual privately managed art space.

Rainer Fuchs

Rainer Fuchs is chief curator and deputy general director of mumok.