What was the biggest challenge involved in dealing with
the amount of visitors?
KvC: We found ourselves in a
process of permanent learning. The waiting line, for example, surpassed
all our calculated planning. People don’t say when they’ll come. They just
show up. Sometimes they arrive very early, other times late in the day.
First the main days were at the weekend. Then suddenly all that shifted to
Tuesday and Wednesday. The visitors’ line itself developed in a new way
everyday, it was different in the sunshine than in the rain. How long the
average visitor remained in the exhibition also varied from day to day. It
was 1.5 hours, then 3 hours. That affects the waiting line. Before the
exhibition, we considered various ways of organizing the entrance. We
consciously decided against a complete “ticketing” that certainly would
have offered some advantages. But a situation which would allow the
visitor to spend only a certain amount of time in the exhibition seemed
wrong and also contrary to the real intention of a museum, that is to
delight in art. We choose a compromise solution for this reason that would
require appointments for groups and VIPs, but would also allow a
spontaneous visit to the museum. Above all, it gave every visitor a chance
to decide for him or herself how long they would like to view a picture.
The queue around MoMA has cult status. How did this strange phenomenon come
AO: The line itself begins like a traffic jam on
a highway. If everyone takes the same street at the same time, you get a
massive traffic jam even without an accident.
In addition, the line reflects the many people who share a
strong desire to view MoMA’s masterpieces. And that in turn animates more
and more people to want to see the exhibition too. A certain cult status
comes perhaps from the fact that it is so nice on the line: little
introductory talks are given by MoMA employees, or you start conversations
with other people who share the same wish to see art; there is music,
crafts and much more. The mood on the line is - despite the waiting – just
A blockbuster of this sort is hard to top. How will
the Nationalgalerie move on from this, after the commotion is over?
KvC: With the wonderful normality of the Neue Nationalgalerie Collection.
We are looking forward to showing our own artworks again and hope through
the success of the MoMA to also awaken interest in these masterpieces.
How was the collaboration with the Deutsche Bank as sponsor?
The Deutsche Bank is a fantastic sponsor — you almost want to say a patron:
love for art, a large capacity for enthusiasm and the precious reserve of
presence in the exhibition make the Deutsche Bank a unique partner.
Interview: Maria Morais & Oliver Koerner von Gustorf