Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
Phone: +41 61 385 5757
When the MoMA invited us to contribute to the Artist’s Choice series in 2006, we knew right away that we would not foreground our own artistic preferences. The subject matter of our contribution would be the perception of art itself. Everyone knows that the holdings of the MoMA are unparalleled in quantity, quality and density. How can we possibly pick out the gems when we only have gems to choose from? The problem facing the museum is not a lack of first-rate art but rather a lack of perceptive attention on the part of museum visitors, despite the spectacular galleries in the new extension. The art is there, spread out in a panorama, professionally illuminated, impossible to overlook – but it is not seen. Our project is an attempt to offer a spatial alternative to the existing galleries for a limited period of time and in a limited space, a site of heightened concentration and density that will function like a kind of perception machine. By obstructing and putting pressure on perception, the viewing experience is intensified and becomes more enduring, more selective, and more individual.
The design of our exhibition reverses the conventional presentation of art in the galleries of the MoMA. We will reduce the size of the familiar, spacious rooms that house the now classical media of art history – painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, and design – and place the emphasis on film and video, or rather specific fragments of them. The choice does not reflect the artistic taste of Herzog & de Meuron; it simply confirms an undeniable shift in imagery that has taken place in recent years. The moving image with explicit reference to violence, drama, and sex has received growing attention while the traditional artistic media of painting, drawing, or sculpture require special exhibitions with blockbuster potential in order to be perceived at all. Seen in this light, our installation does not represent the status of the media within the museum but rather that of the world outside. It also draws attention to the separation and classification into five departments defined by the MoMA at the beginning of the 20th century and still operative today: the Departments of Painting and Sculpture, Prints and Drawings, Photography, Film and Media, and Architecture and Design. Most of the exhibition galleries still conform to these categories, and only rarely do presentations exploit the friction of combining these artistic media in order to foster new insight and perceptions.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2006
In an early phase, a salon-style hang was tested in the gallery.
The exhibition area was precisely framed through division into one rectangular room and two niches.
Different ways of distinguishing the character of the main space from the niches with their reduced range of vision.
Development of the visual slit for the niches.
Painted ceilings as source images for projecting films and videos on the ceiling of the main gallery.
Source images for hand mirrors to watch the moving images on the ceiling.
Layout of the main gallery and three niches for works from the MoMA collection.
Views of the four exhibition spaces after the opening.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA
Altieri Sebor Wieber LLC,
Norwalk, CT, USA
International Digital Center,
New York, NY, USA
124 artworks from 5 Department Collections:
45 Architecture & Design
28 Painting & Sculpture
14 Film & Media
1 Prints & Illustrated Books
Artists Represented in the Exhibition:
Alvar Aalto, Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Roy Arden, Francis Bacon, Balthus, Matthew Barney, Ruodi Barth, Maria Luisa Belgiojoso, Mario Bellini, Joseph Beuys, Oliver Boberg, Louise Bourgeois, Margaret Bourke-White, Bill Brandt, Marco Breuer, Alexander Calder, Harry Callahan, Paul Cézanne, Larry Clark, Franco Clivio, Joel & Ethan Coen, Francis Ford Coppola, Gregory Crewdson, David Cronenberg, Salvador Dalí, Peter Danko, Rudolph de Harak, Denominator Company, Inc, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Rineke Dijkstra, Christopher Dresser, Charles Eames, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Kaj Franck, Lee Friedlander, Adam Füss, Alberto Giacometti, Eileen Gray, Robert Gober, Konstantin Grcic, Andreas Gursky, Jitka Hanzlová, Werner Herzog, Herzog & de Meuron, Josef Hoffmann, Gene Hurwitt, Arne Jacobsen, Jakob Jensen, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Frida Kahlo, Karlsson & Nilsson, Perry King, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Jeff Koons, Robert James Leonetti, Raymond Loewy Associates, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, William Morris, Paul Morrissey, Umberto Nason, Bruce Nauman, Floris M, Neusüss, Barnett Newman, Simone Nieweg, Eliot Noyes and Associates, Verner Panton, Arthur Penn, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Richard Prince, Dieter Raffler, Charles Ray, Ad Reinhardt, Gerhard Richter, Gerrit Rietveld, Mark Rothko, Thomas Ruff, Timo Sarpaneva, Stephen Scheer, Collier Schorr, Martin Scorsese, Cindy Sherman, Vilgot Sjöman, Frederick Sommer, Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, Joel Sternfeld, Thomas Struth, Richard Süssmuth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Walter Dorwin Teague, Gebrüder Thonet, Earl S, Tupper, Massimo Vignelli, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Andy Warhol, Gillian Wearing, Hans Wegner, Michael Wesely, Brett Weston, Edward Weston, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eva Zeisel, Elyn Zimmerman.
Museum of Modern Art
Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 2005-2007. The Complete Works. Volume 6.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel, Birkhäuser, 2018.
“Building Review. Herzog & de Meuron.” Vol. No. 340, Beijing, Art and Design Publishing House, 03.2007. pp. 8-140.
Shonquis Moreno: “Directing the Gaze. Treasure Hunt in Herzog & de Meuron New York. Three Exhibitions show that how we look and what we see are not only in the Eye of the Beholder.” In: Frame. Vol. No. 53, Amsterdam, 11.2006. pp. 122-127.