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Stella Rollig in conversation with Klaus Albrecht Schröder

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Museum as Medium

Have we thought enough about the museum as medium yet? This was the question posed by the arts studies scholar Hans Belting some time ago, and it would probably have to be answered with no.
At the same time, there is currently more being said and written about museums than almost ever before. Two contrary theses are up for debate.
The museum is in a crisis. Has this institution lost its original purpose in post-bourgeois society? Will the public museum be marginalized by the collections of private investors? Or is it true that the museum is a motor, a turnover motor with ever new records in the number of visitors, sponsors, media attention?

In conversation with Klaus Albrecht Schröder, the director of the Albertina Vienna, we will think about the medium. The museum as an instrument of communication: conveying which contents, how and for whom? To whom does it offer possibilities of identification, who remains excluded? How can old and contemporary art charge one another with meaning?
The experiences, strategies and goals of the museum expert Schröder will be addressed, as well as questions of criteria for success – and of his own very personal understanding of art.


Dr. Klaus Albrecht Schröder, born 1955 in Linz, studied art history and history at the University of Vienna. As director of the Art Forum Vienna, which he founded in 1985, from 1988 to 2000 he established an exhibition hall with groundbreaking presentations of an international character, which set important impulses for Vienna and became the most visited exhibition hall in Austria with 300,000 to 350,000 visitors every year.
From 1996 to the end of 1999 Schröder was appointed member of the board and managing director of the newly found Leopold Private Foundation: in this function he was responsible for the planning and building of the museum and for the preparation of the organigram, the personnel structure, and for the organization of setup and implementation. On 1 January 2000 Klaus Albrecht Schröder took up his position as manager and director of the Albertina. Since its reopening, the Albertina has positioned itself within the shortest period of time as the most frequently visited museum in Austria. The radical modernization reaching into all areas of the museum, the renovation of the classicist grand rooms, financed solely through private sponsorship, and the building extension of the Albertina from 230 qm to 2000 qm were the main goals. With an ambitious exhibition program covering five centuries of art history from Dürer, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Rubens to Munch, Picasso, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt all the way to Baselitz, Alex Katz, Arnulf Rainer and Franz Gertsch, the Albertina was able to reach completely new segments of the population with an annual number of visitors between 550,000 and 850,000.


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Photo: © maschekS.