Noever, Peter 1941-

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NOEVER, Peter 1941-

PERSONAL: Born May 1, 1941, in Innsbruck, Austria; son of Mathias and Mimy (Svoboda) Noever; married Katarina Sarnitz, January 24, 1969; children: Ixy-Nova (daughter). Education: Attended the College of Economics, Lausanne, Switzerland.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—MAK, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Stubenring 5, A-1010 Vienna, Austria.

CAREER: Artist, designer, author, educator, curator. R. Svoboda & Co., Vienna, Austria, manager; Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, lecturer, 1975-93; Umriss (architectural magazine), founder, editor, 1982-94; Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), Vienna, artistic and executive director, 1986—; MAK Center of Art and Architecture, L.A., Los Angeles, CA, founder, director, 1994—.

AWARDS, HONORS: Southern California Institute of Architecture achievement award.


editor; selected titles

Architecture in Transition: Between Deconstruction and New Modernism (exhibition catalog), Prestel (Munich, Germany), 1991.

Visionary Clients for New Architecture, Prestel (New York, NY), 2000.

The Discursive Museum, Hatje Cantz (Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany), 2001.

Dennis Hopper: A System of Moments (exhibition catalog), Hatje Cantz (Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany), 2001.

Beyond Utility: Dagobert Peche and the Wiener Werkstätte, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2002.

Editor of exhibition catalogs, primarily in the German language.

SIDELIGHTS: Austrian Peter Noever revitalized the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), originally founded to display the Arts and Crafts designs of the students and professors at the school next door. These included architecture, furniture, fashions, and common household objects. Noever acquired the two Los Angeles houses of Austrian architect Rudolf Schindler, creating a United States satellite of the Vienna original in a city that has traditionally attracted many well-known Austrians, including composer Arnold Schoenberg, director Billy Wilder, architect Richard Neutra, and Schindler. Los Angeles Times contributor Jeannine Stein explained, "The Austrian city's deeply rooted traditions and rules, believes Noever, made the open skies and anything-goes attitude of the American West so appealing."

Noever told Stein that Schindler "had this idea when he arrived that this is a kind of paradise—the climate is different, everything is different. This was a very strong inspiration. He tried things he would never try in Austria, like the sleeping porches [on the Schindler house]. Here is a completely different culture which makes something possible which would not be possible in Europe. And I think for certain human beings, at a certain time, it's more than a refreshment, it's a challenge."

The main Schindler house was built in 1922 and served as the residence of Schindler, his wife, Pauline, and their friends Marian and Clyde Chace. The facility is used to host salons and exhibits and is the destination of European architects and artists working in the United States, some of whom have stayed.

Noever has organized many exhibits in Vienna, including one in 2001 that featured the art of actor Dennis Hopper. Noever told Stein that Hopper is "for sure an artist, and if he had a boring time, he made a movie." In the same year, the Southern California Institute of Architecture honored Noever for his contributions to architecture and art.

Noever has edited many exhibition catalogues, as well as a smaller number of other books. The Discursive Museum is a collection of panel discussions and roundtables held at MAK, attended by significant figures in the art world who "discuss the ramifications for art museums of the increasingly conceptual, disembodied, fragmented, and performance-or time-based nature of contemporary art," noted Kelina Gotman in Parachute: Contemporary Art Magazine.

The Contemporary Art Tower (CAT) is another No-ever project, being created within one of the six anti-aircraft towers that are the biggest in the world. The ten-story Viennese bunkers were built in 1942 and 1943 and contain bomb shelters, hospitals, and artillery. Built in pairs, each having an artillery tower and a radar tower, they are from six to twenty-three feet thick, and indestructible. The flak towers are prominent in the skyline of Vienna's First District, along with several architectural masterpieces. Noever convinced the Federal Chancellory to give him a radar tower in 1995. Used primarily for storage for several years, it is being renovated for use as an exhibition center, with studio spaces for visiting artists, and conference rooms for workshops.

Liane Lefaivre wrote in Architecture that Noever "intends to make the CAT as financially independent as possible. Just as he shocked Vienna by turning an entire section of the original museum—once devoted to its permanent collection—into a restaurant, he plans on including commercial activities at the CAT." The bottom third of the building is to be used for retail and events, and the upper levels will offer two restaurants and a bar.

Architect Sepp Muller and engineer Michael Embacher partnered with Noever in designing a glass-and-steel tower that houses an elevator that provides access to each floor and the roof. Noever also included artists James Turrell and Jenny Holzer in the planning, thereby pursuing his objective of melding art and architecture. Their art includes Turrell's Skyspace Bar, which offers a view of the sky, and Holzer's searchlight, designed to project images onto the tower, creating an ever-changing tableau of art, news, and information.

Lefaivre brought up the question of whether the Nazi towers can be used as an art center "without banalizing history" and considered the relationship between art and architecture, their differences, and whether they can be combined. "These are particularly Viennese questions," wrote Lefaivre, "and tied intimately to the history of the Museum of Applied Arts. The institution itself was conceived as a kind of 'total work of art' or Gesamtkunstwerk, a melting pot for all the artistic fields. The CAT is a rare case of history, art, and architecture converging."



Architecture, February, 2001, Liane Lefaivre, "De-Bunkered," p. 60.

Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2001, Jeannine Stein, "A Life Devoted to Merging Art and Architecture; Austria's Peter Noever Is Honored for His Contribution to the Two Disciplines," p. E-1.

Parachute: Contemporary Art Magazine, January, 2003, Kelina Gotman, review of The Discursive Museum, p. 141.*