Wes Anderson’s Curated Exhibition: Magical, Wacky and Necessary

Iona Bielby 

Artsy’s account of Wes Anderson and his partner, Juman Malouf, is perhaps, the most accurate account of the couple’s recently curated exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna: 

“It’s like a benevolent father giving the keys to the heirloom Lamborghini to an unconventional son and his smart girlfriend. Deep trust is involved, but also risk. You never know what might happen.”

It sounds like the plot to a cult favourite film, or in any case, a dream come true. But lucky for art fans and Wes Anderson disciples alike, this is indeed, the reality. 



The exhibition is named Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures and explores the history of craft, curiosities, art and other discoveries. Anderson and Malouf’s exhibition pulls from the museum’s fourteen collections as well as outside sources, such as the National History Museum just down the street. The end result is an intimate, meditated ode to objects that Habsburg emperors and archdukes collected from the Middle Ages to the Baroque period. The pieces range from paintings to weapons to emu eggs. More than half of these works have never been shown to the public, which makes sense, considering the couple took around two years to curate Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures.  



It is curious. It is magical. It is exactly the type of move museums should be taking to increase interest of the general public. From a PR perspective, the name ‘Wes Anderson’ is enough to gage the interest of those who may not frequent museum spaces often – especially ones that boast taxidermy and antiques, such as Anderson’s curating. According to The Guardian, the drop in museum visitors within the United Kingdom are “down by millions.” Perhaps it’s the economy; perhaps it is the general dwindling of a nation’s interest, which is so subsequent of the current nature of society. Either way, a curating by a figure like Wes Anderson strips the museum of its traditional academic roots, turns it on its head and produces a collection guided by intuition, eclecticism and pure personality. 



Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf’s exhibition is both wonderful and wacky and satisfies appetites of niche aesthetes and passing tourists alike. In this respect, the exhibition is not only one of a kind, but very, very necessary. 

The exhibition will run at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna until the 28th of April, 2019. 



Bradley, Kimberly. "Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf Curate an Eccentric Show of Art-Historical Gems." 11 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy. November 06, 2018. Accessed November 29, 2018. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-wes-anderson-juman-malouf-wild-curators-vienna.

Jones, Jonathan. "The Drop in Museum Visitors Reveals a Nation Without Aspiration or Hope." The Guardian. February 02, 2017. Accessed November 29, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2017/feb/02/drop-uk-museum-attendance.

Pini, Benedetta. "Wes Anderson Curated an Exhibition in Vienna, Here Are Some Photos." I-d. November 20, 2018. Accessed November 28, 2018. https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/nepwqx/wes-anderson-curated-an-exhibition-in-vienna-here-are-some-photos?utm_campaign=sharebutton&fbclid=IwAR3mCfVbk8wClhzkliRTPFgNvv2IZ5bRksZfe1CQLwG2KYBABe_kruT-PkQ.

"Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf to Curate Show in Vienna." Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf to Curate Show in Vienna. February 6, 2018. Accessed November 28, 2018. https://frieze.com/article/wes-anderson-and-juman-malouf-curate-show-vienna.