Kunsthistorisches Mausoleum

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Established 2003 in Belgrade, Serbia

This selection of artifacts stems from the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Mausoleum in Belgrade, which is named after the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum. The Mausoleum, a peculiar “commemorative institution dedicated to preserving memories of art history,” is, in fact, a tomb of art history, a place where two art histories are buried. One chamber contains A Concise History of Modern Painting by Herbert Read and another the History of Art by H.W. Janson. Art histories are written narratives based on previously existing artworks and artifacts. In the case of the Mausoleum, it is the narrative that comes first; the artifacts (paintings) were produced after the story. Illustrations from both books are turned into the “real” paintings in the Mausoleum. It seems as if by internalizing these two art histories the Kunsthistorisches Mausoleum has placed itself outside of art history, and outside of history itself for that matter. If history is the way we have chosen to remember the past, the Mausoleum is a place where we can remember the act of remembering itself.


From the Collection, 2003–2010
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of Kunsthistorisches Mausoleum
Installation View at the ACFNY
Photo by David Plakke