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Hemma Schmutz to Lead Austria’s Lentos Kunstmuseum and Nordico Stadtmuseum

Following an international search, Hemma Schmutz has been appointed director of Linz’s Lentos Kunstmuseum, Austria’s most celebrated museum of modern and contemporary art, and the Nordico Stadtmuseumin, which houses cultural and art objects mainly related to the history of Upper Austria’s capital. Schmutz succeeds Stella Rollig, who was named the new artistic director of Vienna’s Belvedere Museum last October.

According to Monopol, Schmutz has announced plans to redefine both museums’ brands. She said that while the Lentos has an outstanding collection, it is “unusual for the institution to house both nineteenth- and twentieth-century works.” For Schmutz, developing the museum’s identity will be essential to building its international audience. In 2016, the institution welcomed fifty thousand visitors, about five thousand fewer than the previous year. “At only fourteen years old, the Lentos is a very young museum,” Schmutz said, adding, “We need to sell ourselves better.” With her new five-year contract, she intends to attract more of a national and international audience, initiate collaborations with other cultural institutions, and make the museums more visible by “breaking down institutional barriers” and treating them as “open houses,” inviting artists and the public to use the spaces for projects.

To mark the one hundredth anniversary of the deaths of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Koloman Moser, the Lentos will present the three artists’ works accompanied by new historical research in an exhibition scheduled for 2018. Schmutz is also organizing fiftieth-anniversary exhibitions on the student and labor unrest in Western Europe in 1968 as well as the end of the Prague Spring at the Nordico Stadtmuseumin.