The assembling, in a single exhibition space, of works that have recently been acquired or donated to the MAMCO, demonstrated how a new politics of development for its collections had been implemented since 2016. In fact, the exhibitions transform and enrich the collection, seen as the alpha and omega of the museum, the true center for the elaboration—and the horizon—of its projects.
As the museum does not benefit from an acquisition budget, it is mainly donations, thanks to the generosity of both artists and collectors—and above all the museum’s board members—that allow for the growth of its collections. The annual contribution from MAMCO’s Friends Association, and in particular its Circle, nevertheless allow for the planning of an important acquisition each year, and standing partners, such as the Fondation Coromandel, or else the project conducted at artgenève with the Mirabaud & Cie bank, have been set up to remedy this lack of means. Finally, it should be mentioned that in 2016 and 2017 the museum received two important bequests: the former collection of Claudine and Sven Widgren and several major works coming from the Marika Malacorda estate. Thus, over 500 pieces, worth about 5,000,000 CHF, entered MAMCO’s collections during this period. The corpus of Minimal and Conceptual works united by Ghislain Mollet-Viéville and presented in the Apartment, on the third floor of the museum, has not been included in this sum, since it has been acquired by the MAMCO’s private Foundation.
The process that leads to the acceptance of a gift is no different than that of an acquisition: the point is to evaluate the work’s relevance to the collection and to its development’s perspectives, as well as its potential for being regularly exhibited.
The presence of several pieces from the collections of the FMAC (Fonds municipal d’art contemporain) and the FCAC (Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain) also attested to a will for concertation with other heritage structures devoted to contemporary art in Geneva, all becoming a part, in the end, of the same public domain.
This exhibition was based on the principle of showing only enrichments coming from the years 2016 and 2017, and structured around different periods, so as to highlight the decades these efforts have been focused on. It then became easy to see the complements added to the historiography of the 1960–1970 era and the 1980s, two nodal points in the museum’s collections, as well as the desire to readjust the representation of the 1990s and 2000s. Finally, the last room brought together artists present on the contemporary Swiss scene, to which MAMCO is particularly attentive.
The paradox of the contemporary is that it will inevitably be history’s future: thus, the MAMCO’s collections, acquired entirely thanks to private means, but year by year joining our public heritage, become a crucible for tomorrow’s historians and a resource for future exhibitions devoted to the recent history of art.
Exhibition curated by Lionel Bovier and Sophie Costes