In 2016, filmmaker Wes Anderson and his wife, the costume designer and novelist Juman Malouf, were invited to curate an exhibition of objects from the collections of Vienna’s Kunsthistoriches Museum.
Established in 1891 by Emperor Franz Joseph I, the collection houses over four-and-a-half million objects, of which these first-time curators selected 430 pieces. Their selections, many of which were found in remote corners of storage, include over 200 works never previously shown. With essays by Anderson and Malouf and extensive documentation of the installation, this catalogue records the surprising decisions made according to the pair’s unorthodox criteria, with works grouped by color or size in playful disregard for received curatorial methods.
As Anderson writes, the exercise may advance “methods of art history through the scientific process of trial-and-error (in this case, error),” offering a fresh means of exhibiting pieces that range across 5,000 years.