This second feature of Private Museum Insights is dedicated to Langen Foundation, one of the partners of our recently launched, 2019 edition of THE PRIVATE ART PASS. Located in the missile-base-transformed Cultural Area of Hombroich, the Foundation’s architecture was designed by Tadao Ando. With a unique collection of Japanese art, combined with an outstanding architecture, Langen Foundation shows art both inside and outside, presenting direct encounters to both art and nature.
Larry’s List talked to the team of Langen Foundation to reveal more about the unique architecture, the missions of the foundation, their programming, as well as how to keep the foundation sustainable.
From missile base to Tadao Ando
What was the motivation for establishing Langen Foundation?
Marianne Langen wanted to share her rare Japanese art collection with the world.
Why is it important for you to share your collection with a wider public?
Especially our collection of Japanese Art is unique in its size and quality in Europe and therefore must be accessible to the public.
Why did the Langens choose a former missile base in this location for opening the foundation there?
The Cultural Area of Hombroich shows art parallel to nature. It is one of Europe’s most remarkable art centres consisting of the museum island, Raketenstation Hombroich, Langen Foundation, Kirkeby Field and the sculpture hall by the artist Thomas Schütte.
The missile base was orginially acquired by the founder of the Ansel Hombroich Karl Heinrich Müller. It was him who asked Tadao Ando to think of a “project”. Marianne Langen saw the model of his and then decided to build it.
What are the special features of the architecture designed by Tadao Ando? How does it facilitate its function as a venue for housing art collection and exhibitions?
The architecture is characterized by a special atmosphere: a direct encounter with art and nature, inside and outside, light and shadow. The spacious area of the art and exhibition centre comprises 1,300 square meters inside and 2,000 square meters outside.
What are the missions of the foundation?
We do not only want to show parts of our collections but also give other private collectors a platform to show their collections. Also, we support young and aspiring artists and create solo shows for them.
What are the ways to achieve these missions?
We work closely with a network of collectors. We have an independent curator at large who helps us in finding new talents.
How many artworks are in the collection now? And how many of them are being displayed in the foundation?
What are the criteria to decide what from the collection to show in the museum?
We work with different curators who show different aspects and points of view of the collection. We also like to combine our ancient Japanese art with contemporary art.
Who are involved in the programming as well as the curating of exhibitions in the museum?
We have a curator at large Christiane Schneider who has advised us on the exhibitions for the past 10 years. She works closely with the Sabine Crasemann and Karla Zerressen – both members of the Langen Family.
How is the programming in 2019? What are the special upcoming programs that we definitely should not miss out?
We are showing a selection of our Japanese Collection starting in April. The exhibition is curated by the Japan Expert from the Museum Rietberg in Zurich. We are very happy to get an external professional view on our collection.
Parallel to this, there will be a solo show by the artist Anne Pöhlmann. She works with the various languages and modalities of photography. In the process, she applies methods to her work that originate from our culture of everyday life and define photography as a mass medium.
Success and sustainability
What do you think are the key elements that determine the success of a private museum?
Its freedom and indepenndence of not having to stick to a closed program. Also, a unique collection combined with an outstanding architecture.
Young artist in particular like to work with our unique space and create site specific exhibitions.
Can you share some strategies in keeping the foundation sustainable in the long-term?
We would like to extend our partnerships with other private collectors around the world.
Related: Langen Foundation
This ‘Private Museum Insights’ editorial series is born with the support of Phillips, a partner of THE PRIVATE ART PASS.
Interviewed and edited by Ricko Leung