Very much inspired by the single-space simplicity of the Rothko Chapel in Houston and the more rambling Louisiana Museum in Denmark, whose outhouse galleries thread over and beneath a stunning landscape, the idea of a constellation of stand-alone art spaces dispersed across the world came to my mind. Further insight was found in the lasting attraction of the Dia Art Foundation’s Lightning Field in New Mexico and the Stupas of Bagan in Birma. A singular art experience, a stunning natural landscape and the physical and spiritual journey that a person must make to get there, serves to open up minds, sharpen perception and stimulate contemplation. After all, people will always make the effort to visit and experience the exceptional.
The future typology of the “Museum of the 21st Century” breaks with the existing museum convention of a row of open spaces housed within an often intimidating and ostentatious building, which is programmed with inventory-based encyclopaedic exhibitions. I wish to create a collection representing internationally established and emerging artists, with a philanthropic spirit focused on the support of local talent through an international network of pavilions, and show depot hubs which all contribute something substantial to each local community by way of the exchange of talent and philosophies, as well as by example of the high standards contemporary art and architecture which is emerging from every corner of the globe! This collection of space specific commissions will rotate around the different pavilions, and special hubs called Show Depots, where collectives of several private collections can be pooled are specific locations for a larger and more engaging art presence, thus sharing knowledge, insight and inspiration globally.
It seems that museums of today have distanced themselves from their role of commissioners of new work and their responsibility to challenge, as if maintaining a vibrant art subculture and supporting innovation has been falling off their radar screen for some time now. Finding new ways of sharing art and providing means to facilitate projects that otherwise would never see the light of day appears therefore to be the task for the private sector to undertake in the art world as it is presently evolving. The private realm, whether one defines it as collecting, commissioning, patronage - in all its incarnations it is about taking risks, about pushing the margin a little further. In an ongoing attempt to pursue this, T-B A21 has shifted its focus towards commissions which bring together creative minds of different backgrounds; in the case of the Art Pavilions an artist and an architect, an encounter further elaborated by the landscape where the pavilion is positioned and the corresponding collaboration of practitioners of other disciplines: science, music, politics, sustainability...This interdisciplinary approach of the Foundation is a platform for experimentation in the arts, very much needed in today’s market-driven art world. Experiments never fail, nor really succeed, they merely provide answers to the (right) question. One can always ask the wrong question, and must be ready to start all over again.
Francesca von Habsburg