The auto juggernaut Volkswagen (VW) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), along with its edgier Long Island City sister institution PS1, announced a two-year partnership on Monday. The German auto company, known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to design and advertising, will be investing millions — the exact amount was not disclosed — to bolster education and contemporary art programs at MoMA and PS1.
At a press conference attended by well-dressed German and American art world insiders, MoMA president Glenn D. Lowry talked of his love of Volkswagens. (His first car, before he totaled it, he said, was a VW Beetle.)
Lowry said that the partnership between his museum and VW would help the Museum of Modern Art find and recruit a new generation of international artists.
"This important partnership will enable MoMA and MoMA PS1 to realize longstanding goals and ambitious exhibitions and programs," he said.
Volkswagen will in part fund large-scale contemporary art shows MoMA hopes to mount by 2013 that feature works from vibrant arts communities like Berlin, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai. PS1 director and chief curator of MoMA Klaus Biesenbach will travel abroad to select the art.
When asked whether the partnership with MoMA had anything to do with the opening of a Volkswagen factory in Chatanooga, TN on Tuesday or sales increases in the U.S. in general, VW president Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn demurred.
"Whether we built this factory or not, it is very clear that we have a few very ambitious targets also in North America," he said. "We want to understand American culture better. We want to build relationships."