Andy Warhol’s Mick Jagger or Ladies and Gentleman are just two of the numerous highlights from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK) that illuminate the many layers of connections relating to portraiture in the 20th century. The exhibition, by means of its 200 portraits and self-portraits, offers an opportunity to observe changes, developments and the social relevance of this significant art form over the course of an entire century. Three entire levels of exhibition space are devoted to paintings, photographs, and sculptures by Austrian and international artists. Several of the works on display are being presented to the public for the first time. The selection of works ranges from the beginnings of Modernism via performance-related and physical tendencies of the 1960s and 70s right up to contemporary styles.
Portraits of actors and singers like Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Frank Sinatra or Douglas Fairbanks sr. are presented as are portraits of the composers Arnold Schönberg and Hanns Eisler. The writers Karl Kraus and Ernst Jandl and prominent personalities from the Austrian and international art scenes – such as the collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig, of such importance to the MUMOK, or Wolfgang Hahn. Additionally the exhibition also features numerous portraits of artists, such as Daniel Spoerri, piero Manoni, Claes Aldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, John de Andrea, Arnulf Rainer and many others.
Among the creators of these portraits can be found many of the most significant artists of the 20th century, including Oskar Kokoschka, Richard Gerstl, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon.
An important sub-group is made up of the numerous genuine and sometimes also disguised self-portraits of many artists, among them Chuck Close, Rudolf hausner, Maria Lassnig, Gilbert & George, Cindy Sherman and Elke Krystufek.
Some of the works exhibited may not be recognisable as portraits at first sight. The gangster boss Lepke Buchalter, for example, who was executed in 1944, was immortalised by the artist Al Hansen, through a depiction of the object that characterised him best: a pistol. Daniel Spoerri, in turn, with Hahns Abendmahl (Hahn’s Supper), created a portrait of a certain event. And Nam June Paik, with his Egomaschine (Ego Machine,) provided a humorous contribution on the narcissism of so many self-representations. He removed all of the keys from a portable typewriter with the exception of the letters P, A, I and K.
Further artists represented in the exhibition
Marina Abramovic, Robert Adrian X, Peter Blake, Anna and Bernhard Blume, Herbert Boeckl, George Brecht, Günter Brus, Braco Dimitrijevic, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Georg Eisler, Franz Gertsch, Richard Hamilton, Florence Henri, Wolfgang Herzig, David Hockney, Ferdinand Hodler, Jörg Immendorff, Alex Katz, Nicholas Monro, Rudi Molacek, Malcolm Morley, Oswald Oberhuber, Max Oppenheimer, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Cora Pongracz, Arnulf Rainer, Alexander Rodtschenko, Dieter Roth, August Sander, Christian Schad, Carolee Schneemann, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Cindy Sherman, Christian Skrein, Erwin Wurm, Andy Warhol and others.
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