During my visit to Vienna this week, I went to the MUMOK (MUseum MOderner Kunst) museum in the Museum Quarter of the city.
As Austria’s largest museum covering the period since the advent of modernism, the Mumok promotes the integration of Austrian ideas within an international context. And, it’s in a very cool structure.
The Mumok considers itself to be a public institution that is committed to meeting the needs of the media, artists, art criticism, cooperating partners and its own employees. As a public institution, it’s committed to engaging with social and political issues and their importance with the advancement of art and culture.
Since its founding, the Mumok has set out to preserve, expand and exhibit its collection of 20th and 21st century art. One of the most important objectives has been, and continues to be, to convey the historical and theoretical framework of art to the public.
With its emphasis on Pop Art and Photorealism from the Austrian Ludwig Foundation, and Fluxus and Nouveau Réalisme from the Hahn Collection, with Viennese Actionism, performance art, conceptual art and minimal art along with numerous other movements following in the wake of these traditions ranging from the 1980s to the present, the museum relates directly to the contemporary situation with a unique mixture of critical, analytical and realist artistic perspectives on society and the art institution with special emphasis on works since the 1960s.
One of the exhibitions on display that I found particularly intriguing was: Simon Denny -The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom.
The exhibition revolves around the legal issues of Kim Dotcom’s (who’s real name is Kim Schmitz) file-sharing site Megaupload, once one of the most popular platforms for data exchange on the Internet. Following investigations by the FBI and a suit by a US court, Megaupload and Megavideo were closed down in January 2012, according to the indictment “to stop a globally operating criminal organization, whose members were perpetrating large-scale copyright infringements and laundering vast sums of money, with a total damage of more than $500 million.”
When the New Zealand police raided German-born Dotcom’s Coatsville mansion, arresting him and closing down his file-sharing website, they seized a number of objects in his possession. These included $175 million dollars in cash, 60 Dell servers, 22 luxury cars, and works of art.
For this exhibtion, Simon Denny assembled a series of objects from the list. Images, files and company data, from a life-sized Pedator statue to 3 cubic meters of cash, from a luxury “work-bed“ to examples of artwork collected by Dotcom. The result is a large-scale installation that Denny describes as a “collection of copies, rip-offs and imitations of the ‘real’ contraband.”