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Art and the Shopping Spree
The Run on the MoMA Shop in Berlin

"Where's your cup, your pin, and where are the art neckties?" It's only been up for a few days, but it's already obvious that the MoMA in Berlin isn't merely a big success with the public - the specially set-up shop in the New National Gallery is a record-breaker, too. Particularly coveted are the products made exclusively for the exhibition event by designers from Berlin and New York. Maria Morais spoke with the museum shop's director Jörg Klambt about the run on the designer pieces - and finally found out what a "Hot MoMA" is.

Jörg Klambt in the MoMA-Shop

Maria Morais: What are the highlights of the MoMA shop?

Jörg Klambt: We offer designer pieces developed especially for the Berlin MoMA which not only feature The New National Gallery logo, but which also echo the logo's colors. The visitor can find a selection of pink, black, and gold-colored products that all transport that unmistakable MoMA feeling. The articles I find really great are the ones that work with the word "MoMA" in a playful way. Among these, for example, is "MoMAnizer," a wonderful term we've coined for the staff members who give guided tours of the show and take care of the public. They wear pink "MoMAnizer" T-shirts especially for this purpose and can be recognized immediately. We wanted to toy around with this idea a bit further, of course. Just about everything can be "MoMA," and anyone who loves the show can discover things that speak their very own MoMA language: from T-shirts reading "Momazing," "momalicious," "Moman" or "Momantic" to coffee cups bearing scrumptious titles like "Momacino," "Momamorning," or "Hot MoMA." That's pretty good, isn't it? And we have a great selection for kids, too. And because The MoMA in Berlin is restricted to painting and sculpture from New York's Museum of Modern Art, our shop places a special emphasis on the design aspect, which is particularly characteristic for MoMA. To this purpose, we commissioned seven designers from New York and Berlin to create objects curated by Oliver Vogt from the Berlin-based Design Team Vogt + Weizenegger; these are featured in their very own window in the shop.

design objects from the 7+7 series
by designers of Berlin and New York

MM: Which objects were designed especially for The MoMA in Berlin?

JK: The immensely popular MoMA scarf, for instance: a yard-long knit scarf designed by the Berlin-based textile designer Sarah Siewert. It's completely covered with the names of MoMA artists, which produces a gorgeous pattern. You can really wrap yourself up in it. And the New York designer Tobi Wong's gloves are a perfect match. There's a MoMA and a Berlin ring in pink and black that can be combined together. They were designed by Elena Mildner, a Russian living in Berlin who's designed quite a bit for the Museum for Applied Arts in Vienna. And then there are some highly original things that aren't a direct part of the New York-Berlin exchange. Among these is a pencil case on which the owner has to paint the logo himself, created by the French designer Caroline Lisfranc . We developed the concept of the "empty logo" together with Lisfranc.

Bag for pens by Caroline Lisfranc

Shopping Bag by Caroline Lisfranc

Sixty articles have been created especially for the exhibition, along with a number of other objects made exclusively for the National Gallery that look very, very elegant. These are the more classical black and white products, including note pads, drawing pencils, and rulers on which The New National Gallery appears as an emblem. This synthesis of form and function goes over particularly well with the architecture enthusiasts. For the Mies van der Rohe fans, we already had to reorder quite a bit. But some new extras are going to be added throughout the course of the exhibition, as well: at Easter, for instance, we'll have our own Easter bouquet, and then there's the DESIGNMAI here in Berlin, for which a number of new, exciting design articles are planned.

Knitted Scarf by Sarah Siewert

MM: I imagine Sarah Siewert's designer scarf is one of the articles that will become highly coveted very soon.

JK: Yes, that's true. We've already sold twenty scarves, and at the moment twice that amount is in production, but that's it. Altogether, there won't be more than 50 or 60 of these scarves in the entire world.

Knitted Scarf by Sarah Siewer

MM: Should we hurry, then, if we still want to get hold of certain articles?

JK: Yes, because the MoMA Shop is a temporary thing that's going to vanish again after seven months. The articles will no longer be obtainable after that. The product line for The New National Gallery is a bit different. In all likelihood, these articles will continue to be offered for sale.

Berlin-New York Design Watch by roomsafari

MM: Were you able to prepare yourself ahead of time for the huge amount of visitors? Did you foresee the rush?

JK: We expected a lot of people, of course; we counted on approximately 1,000 customers per day. What's happening now, though, goes beyond our wildest expectations. The storage room is packed to the brim, and so we can't really keep any more products on stock here. As a result, we have to reorder quickly and hope that our suppliers don't leave us in the lurch.

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