Art commission

DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT — VON DEN FREUNDEN HAUS DER KUNST is an annual art commission conceived especially by the museum for the Middle Hall of the historic building with the support and collaboration of Gesellschaft der Freunde. The first in this series of commissions of contemporary art, Haegue Yang's specially developed work was unveiled to the public on November 7th, 2012. In 2013/14 Berlin-based artist Manfred Pernice presented the installation "Tutti IV", followed by the multichannel sound and video installation "The Present Moment by Albanian artist Anri Sala. In 2015/16 French artist Laure Prouvost will design the fourth annual art commission for the central Middle Hall in Haus der Kunst.

DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT addresses a generation of artists, who have developed a clear and challenging line of artistic inquiry. The yearly commission is grounded in the idea of the central role that art and artists play in global debates. With this view, Haus der Kunst wishes to acknowledge international artists who, over the course of their careers, exemplify and have demonstrated models of artistic excellence, conceptual rigor, experimental spirit, and whose ideas have had enduring impact in the field of contemporary art and its discourses. The commissioned works are developed specifically for Haus der Kunst's Middle Hall, which during the National Socialist regime was originally called the "Ehrenhalle" [hall of honor]. Located at the heart of the building, the 800 square-meter hall is being imagined as an open and freely accessible public plaza. It is thus the natural place to commence the evaluation of the criteria surrounding discussions of public space, serving as the principal node of access to the entire contents of the museum. The Middle Hall is to be understood as a conduit for the museum's various programs (exhibitions, research, lectures, and educational activities), or as a place where visitors can gather, sit and read, or simply linger. 

The title DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT — VON DEN FREUNDEN HAUS DER KUNST [To the Public — From the Friends of Haus der Kunst] presents philosophical, conceptual, and historical leitmotifs that structure the presentation and exhibition of the commissioned artworks. The central gesture of its title is to animate a discussion on the norms and agendas of public dedication implicit in its subtitle VON DEN FREUNDEN HAUS DER KUNST. Another key aspect of the annual commission is to extend the idea of a dedication to the constituent ideas of the public. DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT proposes not only the idea of dedication, but also the prospect of acting in the public with the artwork as the central material around which public participation, discussion, debate, and exchange coalesces. In his classic work on the concept of the public sphere, the philosopher Jürgen Habermas writes, "We call events and occasions 'public' when they are open to all." While "open to all" might be confused with a resurgent populism both in politics and culture, DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT, in contrast, offers the possibility of epistemic doubt. Therefore, rather than take the norms of publicness as a fait accompli, each commission compels the museum audience to use the field of contemporary artistic practice to explore and examine what it means to act in the public realm, or alternatively how the concept of public access attaches to the space of the museum.

The friends of Haus der Kunst have been supporting the institution for more than 50 years and contribute to the series not only with ideas and support, but also with fully funding.

Art commission 2012/13: Haegue Yang
Art commission 2013/14: Manfred Pernice
Art commission 2014/15: Anri Sala
Art commission 2015/16: Laure Prouvost

Stretch your view

Stretch your view