In the 1960s, the Rhine­land was an im­por­tant cen­ter for a rev­o­lu­tio­nary oc­cur­rence in art: a new gen­er­a­tion of artists with in­ter­na­tio­n­al net­works re­belled against tra­di­tio­n­al art. They used ev­ery­day life as their source of in­spi­ra­tion and ev­ery­day ob­jects as their ma­te­rial. They went out in­to their ur­ban sur­round­ings, chal­leng­ing the lim­its of the art dis­ci­p­lines and col­lab­o­rat­ing with mu­si­cians, writ­ers, film­mak­ers, and dancers. In touch with the lat­est trends of this exc­it­ing pe­ri­od, the Cologne paint­ing re­s­tor­er Wolf­gang Hahn (1924–1987) be­gan ac­quir­ing this new art and cre­at­ed a mul­ti­facet­ed col­lec­tion of works of Nou­veau Réal­isme, Fluxus, Hap­pen­ing, Pop Art, and Con­cep­tu­al Art.

Wolf­gang Hahn was head of the conser­va­tion de­part­ment at the Wall­raf Richartz Mu­se­um and the Mu­se­um Lud­wig. This per­spec­tive in­flu­enced his view of con­tem­po­rary art. He re­al­ized that the new art from around 1960 was quintessen­tial­ly pro­ces­su­al and per­for­ma­tive, and from the very be­gin­n­ing he visit­ed the events of new mu­sic, Fluxus events, and Hap­pen­ings. He ini­ti­at­ed works such as Daniel Spo­er­ri’s Hahns Abendmahl (Hahn’s Sup­per) of 1964, im­ple­ment­ed Lawrence Wein­er’s con­cept A Square Removal from a Rug in Use of 1969 in his liv­ing room, and not on­ly purchased con­cepts and scores from artists, but al­so video works and 16mm films.

On the other hand, he en­coun­tered con­tem­po­rary art with a keen sense of his­to­ry. As a wit­ness of events and Hap­pen­ings, he doc­u­ment­ed what he saw by con­duct­ing artist in­ter­views to learn more about the cre­a­tion of the works and their artis­tic po­si­tion; he al­so pur­pose­ful­ly col­lect­ed works and doc­u­ments from spe­cif­ic Hap­pen­ing con­texts. This is how he came in­to pos­ses­sion of a great num­ber of ob­jects from Nam June Paik’s le­g­endary ex­hi­bi­tion Ex­po­si­tion of Mu­sic: Elec­tron­ic Tele­vi­sion of 1963.

The Hahn Col­lec­tion was ac­quired by the Re­public of Aus­tria in 1978 and was aug­ment­ed with other ac­qui­si­tions in 2003. It is part of the mumok – Mu­se­um mod­ern­er Kunst Stif­tung Lud­wig Wien in Vien­na. The ex­hi­bi­tion at the Mu­se­um Lud­wig and the mumok con­sid­ers the Hahn Col­lec­tion for the first time as a self-con­tained time cap­sule that of­fers a fresh look at the art of the 1960s and ’70s be­yond art-his­tor­i­cal or ge­o­graph­i­cal cat­e­gories.