The director of "The Tenenbaum Families" stirred the treasury of the museum in Vienna. The result is amazing

“Mummy Shrews in a Coffin and Other Treasures” - this is how American director Wes Anderson and his wife, designer and writer Juman Malouf called their exhibition at the Museum of Art History in Vienna. In unexpected perspectives, they presented completely unpredictable exhibits from the funds, and their debut as curators became a real headache for the staff of the institution.“The Mummy of the Shrews in the Coffin and Other Treasures” is the largest exhibition the museum has ever organized (in terms of the number of objects represented, it is more than the huge ambitious Bruegel exposition in the neighboring wing). Wes Anderson and his wife shook up all 14 huge collections of institutions, with a total of about 4.5 million objects and covering 5000 years. The duo chose 430 exhibits, almost half of which had never been exhibited before and were hidden (sometimes without inventory numbers) in the darkest corners of the building of the XIX century.Fragment of the exhibition "The Mummy of a Shrew in a Coffin and Other Treasures". Photo: KHM-Museumsverband This project is another in a series of exhibitions in the Vienna Museum, which are supervised by artists. The first who was invited in their own way to rethink the collection of the institute were the American Ed Roushey and the British Edmund de Waal. Since the institution no longer updates its funds, the purpose of this venture is to give visitors a new look at already familiar objects. Anderson and Maloof, of course, are not artists, but they often visit the museum and are familiar with its treasures.
  • Fragment of the exhibition. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband
  • Fragment of the exhibition. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband
However, the couple ignored the enormous portraits of military heroes in gold frames and Baroque masterpiecesThe Baroque style that changed the Renaissance, unlike Renaissance art, which maintained the distance between the work and the audience, sought to shake the soul. Of course, successfully: the picturesque pearls of those times are true treasures. Read on. Instead, the objects of their interest were curious objects from the Kunstkamera, collected by Austrian monarchs. Wes Anderson, faithful to his aesthetics, organized from these things a bizarre presentation that violates all the rules of art history.
Anyone who expects to see a traditionally didactic museum exhibition centered around one topic will be disappointed. Eight rooms remind, rather, the office of rarities of some eccentric count from a Czechoslovak village hundreds of years ago.

The coffin with the mummy shrew, which gave the name of the exhibition. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband
Many exhibits were selected in violation of traditional rarities or artistic prestige. The oldest object in the exhibition - a clumsy piece of fossil wood, dating back hundreds of thousands of years. There are three dark green emu eggs in a specially made display case, a bit like an incubator. And the centerpiece is the miniature mummy of the shrew, who gave the name to the exhibition. It is located in the tomb of the 4th century BC. the size of a shoe box, usually standing in a row similar to it in the Egyptian wing. There it was noticed earlier only, perhaps, by one in five thousand visitors.

Anderson and Maluf's tendency towards such “non-prestigious” exhibits can be explained by the fact that they themselves were nonprofessionals in a prestigious institution with trained art critics, curators and restorers. One senior curator said that at first some employees were skeptical about the project: “We received an email from Wes asking:“ Do you have a list of green objects? Could you send us a list of everything that you have yellow? “. Our data system does not have these categories. ”Wes Anderson and Juman Maloof. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband / Rafaela ProellBecause of this, the curators and conservatives had to manually search through the vault. This was often a painstaking process - due to the requirements of climate control and the inspection of the state of the objects - which Anderson or Maloof did not know about. Their conditions required additional work with overtime pay, but they also had a pleasant side effect: they leveled the usual hierarchy. Some staff members said that they had to “memorize learned methods” of work — and this led to new discoveries.Fragment of the exhibition "The Mummy of a Shrew in a Coffin and Other Treasures". Photo: KHM-Museumsverband Exhibits are not provided with any labels and explanations. There is a guidebook on the exposition, but, given that the curators moved objects a day before the opening, it does not correspond to the presented one. Visitors have the feeling that they have fallen into a personal, sometimes surreal space filled with objects that recall Anderson’s films The Family of Tenenbaum, Hotel Grand Budapest and The Kingdom of the Full Moon. Read also: Pictures of the tapes about Van Gogh and Basquiat show alongside great masterpieces at the Orsay Museum
  • Fragment of the exhibition. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband
  • Fragment of the exhibition. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband
At the opening of the 49-year-old director admitted that the show was built by trial and error. “One of the most senior curators of the Museum of Art History [...] at first could not find some, as we thought, the most obvious connections. And even when we pointed out most of them, he continued to doubt their argumentation, ”said Wes Anderson in his speech.
Nevertheless, the exhibition, which will last until April 28, 2019, received positive reviews in the press. After finishing her work at the Museum of Art History in Vienna, she will move to Milan’s Fondazione Prada in the fall of next year.Arthive: read us in the Telegram and look in Instagram
Based on artnet News and Artdaily. Main illustration: KHM-Museumsverband