Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Spitzmaus mummy in a coffin and other treasures
curated by Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf

In 2012, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna initiated a new series of exhibitions for which remarkable, creative individuals are invited to present their own personal selections of objects drawn from the museum’s historical collections. The museum’s collections number more than four million objects, and span a period of five thousand years. The first exhibition, titled The Ancients Stole All Our Great Ideas, was selected and curated by the painter and draughtsman Ed Ruscha. This was followed in 2016 by the exhibition During the Night, selected and curated by the British ceramicist and writer Edmund de Waal.

The Adonyeva Foundation is delighted to have supported the third instalment of the series, titled Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and other Treasures, which was selected and curated by the filmmaker Wes Anderson and his partner, the writer and illustrator Juman Malouf.

With assistance from the museum’s staff of curators and conservators, Anderson and Malouf assembled more than 400 objects drawn from all fourteen of the museum’s historical collections. These included Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, Old Master paintings, selections from the Kunstkammer and the Imperial Treasury, items from the Imperial Armoury, Coin Collection and Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, as well as pieces from the Theatermuseum, the Weltmuseum, the Imperial Carriage Museum and Schloss Ambras Innsbruck, along with a handful of special guests from the Natural History Museum.

Particular attention was given to the museum’s storage: more than 350 of the objects have been brought from depots, with many of them on public display for the very first time.
The gathering and arrangement of these treasures – from the earliest, a necklace of ceramic beads strung together in Ancient Egypt, to the most recent, a wooden monkey carved in Indonesia almost 5,000 years later – convey the spectacular breadth, depth, history and complexity of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s collections.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the Fondazione Prada. It is currently on view at the Fondazione Prada, Milan.