International in its perspective as well as its scale, The Louisiana Collection comprises a good 4,000 works. It covers the period from 1945 to the present and includes almost every genre – with an emphasis on painting and sculpture.
The Louisiana Collection is continually expanded and far too large to be shown in its entirety. For this reason, besides individual features that are almost always on view, the bulk of the collection is shown in rotating selective presentations. This allows space for exhibitions and provides opportunities to show the works in new ways and configurations.
For Louisiana it has never been an objectiv to represent the entire chronological line of modern art. The collection instead focuses on groups of works and artistic periods.
These include artists Giacometti and Jorn and periods such as European Nouveau Réalisme with Yves Klein, American Pop Art with Warhol and Lichtenstein, German art in the 1980s with Kiefer and Baselitz, and video art since the 1990s.
The museum works constantly to renew the collection and close any "holes". On the classic modern front, pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Philip Guston and David Hockney have been acquired together with major contemporary works.
JORN & KUSAMA
Although the Louisiana Collection is in constant flux and development, it of course contains a number of features that are almost always on view. Among the most important of these are the Giacometti Gallery, the Asger Jorn Gallery and Kusama’s installation Gleaming Lights of the Souls (though the latter is only on view when the South Wing is open).
These highlights of the museum have each in their very different way earned a very special status and reputation & should not be missed during your visit to Louisiana.
"Louisiana does not collect just to collect," states museum director Poul Erik Tøjner. "We do not suffer from compulsive collecting. We collect to show the works to the world. Even on the platform of history, where artists are dead and art critics gone, making choices is hard. But that also serves as motivation. It means that every decision is a choice that has to be argued for."
When it comes to collecting Louisiana today is guided by four principles, Poul Erik Tøjner explains:
First principle: We try to plug holes or create transitions in the historical part of the collection. Over the last 10 years, works by the likes of Louise Bourgeois, David Hockney, Philip Guston, Franz West, Jeff Wall and Øivind Fahlström have been acquired – all new classics in Humlebæk.
Second principle: We supplement artists who are already represented with new works or works from periods of the artist’s production that are missing. Acquisitions of works by Sigmar Polke, Andreas Gursky, Max Ernst, Shilpa Gupta, Cindy Sherman and others are cases in point.
Third principle: We continue to build the museum’s collection ofcontemporary art. We try to add major works to the collection that represent today’s most important artists and contribute to the story of the metabolism between humanity and the world that distinguishes so much of the art in the Louisiana’s collection.
Fourth principle: Finally, we try to have the exhibitions leave permanent traces in the collection, weaving the exhibition history into the museum’s artistic identity and not just leave them standing as a series of external events.
Louisiana Channel is a non-profit website that provides culture to the Internet, extending beyond the museum’s own events. The Louisiana team produces videos about art and culture on an ongoing basis. New videos are posted at the site every week.
Louisiana Channel hosts a variety of videos featuring many of the contemporary artists, represented in the collection. You will also find a series with writers reading their own text from ‘Looking Writing Reading Looking – 25 writers on works from the Louisiana Collection'.