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© John Baldessari. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

"Safety Curtain" 2017/2018

For the twentieth Safety Curtain exhibition conceived by museum in progress ( and organised in cooperation with the Wiener Staatsoper and Bundestheater-Holding since 1998, the jury (Daniel Birnbaum, Hans-Ulrich Obrist) has chosen the internationally renowned American artist John Baldessari.

For the twentieth Safety Curtain, the jury (Daniel Birnbaum and Hans-Ulrich Obrist) selected the internationally renowned American artist John Baldessari. Safety Curtain is an exhibition series conceived by museum in progress ( in cooperation with Wiener Staatsoper that has been transforming the safety curtain of the main stage into an exhibition space for contemporary art since 1998. The large-format pictures (176 square metres) are fixed on the safety curtain with magnets. The Safety Curtains are exhibited over the period of one opera season and can be seen before the start of the opera, during the pause and at the end of the performance.

To mark the twentieth anniversary of the project, the Wiener Staatsoper and museum in progress are delighted to present the exhibition “Curtain – Vorhang” in the Marble Hall, which presents for the first time all previous works at the same time in one room. Beyond the actual curtain images that have originated over the years “Curtain – Vorhang” offers an associative and sensuous link to further related works of the participating artists in several different media forms. The exhibition, which was curated by Kaspar Mühlemann Hartl and Alois Herrmann, will also be presented at “Bildraum” in Bregenz in summer 2018. An extensive catalogue published by Verlag für moderne Kunst documents the entire project and includes new texts by Bice Curiger and Chris Dercon, among others.

John Baldessari was born in National City, California, in 1931. He is an important proponent of concept and media art and a major and highly successful international artist. He has received numerous awards, including the Goslar Imperial Ring (2012), the Golden Lion of the Biennale in Venice for his life’s work (2009), the Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2005) and the Oskar Kokoschka Prize (1996).

He has had major solo exhibitions at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt (2015), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2010), the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London (2009), the mumok in Vienna (2005) and the Guggenheim Museum in Berlin (2004). Baldessari’s works have also be presented at the Biennale in Venice (1997, 2003, 2009), the Whitney Biennial in New York (1983) and Documenta V, VII and XIII in Kassel (1972, 1982, 2012).