In September 1967, the new director of the Städtisches Museum in Mönchengladbach, Johannes Cladders, kicked off his trendsetting programme with a major exhibition on Joseph Beuys. Beuys’ artworks had a puzzling and even disturbing effect on exhibition goers at the time – in any case, they were not recognised as art. Random objects and items were strewn haphazardly on the floor, leaning against the walls or stacked in piles in display cases. And suddenly, the old rooms of the museum became the scene of a new, completely altered understanding of what art could be. Cladders continued presenting exhibitions of artists who later gained widespread acclaim, e.g. Carl Andre, Hans Hollein, Blinky Palermo and Gerhard Richter, many of whom are now considered among the most influential contemporary artists in recent history.
In 1968, Cladders coined the term “anti-museum”, on the basis of which a structural concept would evolve and take form in the newly constructed Städtisches Museum Abteiberg in 1982, designed by Hans Hollein. Fifty years later, the Museum Abteiberg has developed an exhibition dedicated to the history of the museum between 1967 and 1978 at the original location. The original exhibits have been presented at the historic venue – in the rooms of the old museum – along with documentation and reconstructions of their presentation conditions.
The project introduced today’s audiences to the radically critical museum concepts of that time, illustrated the phenomenological and structuralistic shift in the fine arts and portrayed the resulting vision of a new type of museum. The project possessed a strongly experimental character which spoke to the interest of the international community of museum professionals, but also confronted the general public with key questions on the self-image of art museums today.
Curators: Susanne Titz mit Susanne Rennert, Olivier Foulon (BE)
Artists: Joseph Beuys, Carl Andre (US), Hanne Darboven, George Brecht (US), Robert Filliou (FR), Stanley Brouwn (Surinam/NL), Daniel Buren (F), Marcel Broodthaers (BE), Gerhard Richter, Kate Davis (NZ), Olivier Foulon (BE) and others