About museum in progress

"The new type of art institute cannot merely be an art museum as it has been until now, but no museum at all. The new type will be more like a power station, a producer of new energy." (Alexander Dorner, 1893–1957)

museum in progress is concerned with the changing ways in which art is brought before the public and develops innovative models for co-operation between business, art and media. The art initiative, founded in 1990 by Prof. Kathrin Messner and Josef Ortner († 2009), organises exhibitions in media such as newspapers, magazines, billboards, the facades of buildings, TV, the internet, concert halls or even on board of aeroplanes, and thereby integrates art into everyday life. Based on Joseph Beuys’ “extended definition of art”, this private art association extends the definition of a museum and through its activities transforms the public and media spaces into a “museum” for its art projects. The museum of the 21st century exists as a flexible structure and establishes the form in which it appears directly in media space.

"The museum only makes sense as a pioneer." (Alexander Dorner)

museum in progress is a non-profit art association with the aim of developing innovative forms of presentation for contemporary art. Since 1990 a variety of media exhibition spaces making contemporary art accessible to a wide public have been opened with the "museum in progress" imprint. The work of museum in progress is media-specific, context-dependent and temporary. This applies both to individual projects and to the whole structure. An indispensable precondition for the activities of museum in progress is the independence of the artistic decision, protected by binding contracts with numerous partners. museum in progress addresses the public both on behalf of international contemporary art and open discourse in society. museum in progress therefore acts independently of political influence.

"From museum in progress I had learnt that museums are first and foremost software, not hardware, and that idea is still much more contemporary and effective than ever." (Massimiliano Gioni, New Museum, New York and Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan, 2020)

In three decades, museum in progress has worked with about 700 artists and realised more than 1000 multiples in newspapers and magazines. These media-specific works offer a unique breadth in terms both of form and content. No other institution has a comparable collection of high-quality newspaper art and magazine works. It should be emphasised that the diverse works by international artists were designed specifically for the media space and are not reproductions of artworks but function as multiples, as stand-alone works for the medium in question. This means that the individual newspapers or issues are originals and collectors' items.

"museum in progress is one of the most visionary museum projects of all time." (Una Meistere, Arterritory, 2020)

The role of museum in progress in art history was recognised early on by leading museums like the MoMA in New York or Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, which at the start of the millennium already included our works in their collections.

"Since its foundation, museum in progress has been a highly influential, intangible but all the more effective institution that has always been ahead of its time. As a participant in some of its projects and an enthusiastic consumer of many of its initiatives, I firmly believe that museum in progress is a vital and innovative force that has fostered the creation, distribution and communication of contemporary art in new and modern forms. We have all been able to learn something from it and will continue to do so." (Max Hollein, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2020)