Contemporary And: An interrogation and revision of Museum Ludwig’s collection of art from the US is at the core of Mapping the Collection. Why is this an important and necessary move for a German museum?
Janice Mitchell: In Germany, we really need to think about who is represented in museum collections and how. And I hope this exhibition will contribute to that discussion. I lived in the UK for several years, and coming back to Germany and then entering the museum world here felt like I was in a time warp. Things are far from perfect in the UK, but discussions about representation and diversity in museums and the art world in general are much further along there and in the US. Germany needs to catch up!
Part of catching up is to question how we view our collections, how we present, how we curate. The history of many museum collections in Germany is really messy, but I think it’s ok to show that and be transparent. Curating is more than just taking care of a collection – it can be a tool for calling familiar histories into question, it can be a dialogue or even a collaborative approach to putting on a show and connecting with the audience. I think we need to be less didactic and strict and be more open to experimentation when it comes to exhibitions and how museums present their collections. I see glimpses and beginnings of this in many places, but more needs to happen.