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New annex for the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst; New permanent exhibition space in the TaunusTurm
von links nach rechts: Jerry I. Speyer, Chairman und Co-CEO von Tishman Speyer; Susanne Gaensheimer, Direktorin MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, Photo: Axel Schneider.

FRANKFURT.- The dream has finally come true. The MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main has at last been offered the additional space it so desperately needs in the heart of Frankfurt’s famous Bankenviertel. Despite being in possession of over 5,000 works, the MMK was for a long time unable to exhibit more than just a fraction of its world-class collection of international contemporary art. But the long-cherished dream of extra exhibition space has at last come true. Starting in mid-2014, the main premises on Domstrasse and at the MMK Zollamt opposite are to be supplemented by an annex in the TaunusTurm being built by property developer Tishman Speyer and Commerz Real AG. The initial fifteen-year lease will allow the museum to present a selection of its works to the public on the second floor and to run an MMK bookshop and café on the ground floor. The additional space is being provided at no extra cost to the museum.

The project is an initiative of Tishman Speyer in close cooperation with the MMK and the City of Frankfurt’s own Planning Department and Department of Cultural Affairs. Most of the running costs incurred by the new TaunusTurm annex will be borne jointly by the museum’s four main partners: the entrepreneur Stefan Quandt, the Ernst-Max-von-Grunelius-Stiftung and the Helaba Bank . The aim is to have the running costs financed privately.

“The MMK has at last acquired the additional exhibition space it so urgently needs and has so long desired,” says Dr. Susanne Gaensheimer, Director of the MMK. “The MMK’s major collection of works, which until now could be shown only piecemeal, can now be presented to the public in a larger and more permanent setting. Interaction between the MMK, the MMK Zollamt, and the new TaunusTurm annex will greatly broaden the scope for exhibitions that rest on dialogue between the different venues, allowing the MMK to sharpen its profile and become a more powerful presence in the city. This expansion, which is so deeply important to the MMK, would not have been possible at all without the dedication of Tishman Speyer coupled with the confidence and generosity of our partners, Stefan Quandt, the Ernst-Max-von-Grunelius-Stiftung, the Helaba Bank, and the Friends of the MMK.”

“The MMK branch placement in the TaunusTurm greatly enhances this central location at the heart of the banking district,” says Jerry I. Speyer, Chairman and Co-CEO of Tishman Speyer. “TaunusTurm is pleased to provide Frankfurt’s residents with such a compelling cultural amenity at a downtown location. This will complement the attractive apartments situated right next to the green park along with top-quality office space for the most prestigious corporations, making this an example of sustainable urban development at its best. On behalf of Tishman Speyer and the Commerz Real AG we would like to thank the MMK, the City of Frankfurt, and everyone else who was involved for their close cooperation, which made this marvelous outcome possible.”

As recently as two years ago the MMK was obliged to spread its anniversary show MMK 1991–2011. 20 Years of Presence over several different venues: the MMK itself, the MMK Zollamt opposite, and a repurposed office block on the banks of the River Main. Only by multiplying the venues was the MMK able to exhibit the bulk of its collection all at once, even if only temporarily—a feat that is all the more remarkable considering its holdings’ eclectic range of media and content. The TaunusTurm, designed by the Frankfurt-based architects Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg Architekten will provide the MMK with an additional 2,000 square meters of space, which the museum specialists Kuehn Malvezzi are turning into an innovative art gallery fitted with state-of-the-art security and climate control infrastructure. The aim is to at last enable the MMK to present the full breadth of its collection comprising both single pieces and whole bodies of work in a series of temporary exhibitions. This in turn will free up space in the main building for a permanent exhibition of the classics of the collection, such as the works of John Chamberlain, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, On Kawara, Gerhard Richter, Blinky Palermo, Elaine Sturtevant, and Rosemarie Trockel, and for crowd-pulling exhibitions of international contemporary art.

The MMK and City of Frankfurt have thus set up an innovative and economically sustainable model of museum expansion which builds on existing space and the combined efforts of strong and dedicated partners to create something new. Responsibility for project management lies with the MMK Stiftung, founded in 2011, which will solicit additional private funding for shows held at the new MMK annex.

“This project marks a watershed in how Frankfurt’s skyscrapers are used by the public at large,” says Mayor Olaf Cunitz, Head of Planning and Building. “We are witnessing the creation of a new cultural attraction in a central location that promises to vitalize the border zone between the Bankenviertel and Bahnhofsviertel. My sincerest thanks go to all those who have had a hand in making this unprecedented undertaking possible.” Dr. Felix Semmelroth, Head of the Department of Cultural Affairs, strikes a similarly upbeat note: “The anniversary show held two years ago brought home to us the extraordinary diversity and caliber of the MMK’s collection. So we really welcome the fact that these hidden treasures will henceforth be accessible to a much wider audience.” Speaking for all of the sponsors of the new branch, entrepreneur Stefan Quandt adds: “The MMK depends and relies on Frankfurt’s citizens, businesses, and sponsors. We are happy and proud that this innovative addition to Frankfurt’s museum landscape once again demonstrates the successful collaboration of private and public partners.”

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