Comprising more than 5,000 works of contemporary art dating from the 1960s to the present, the collection of the MUSEUMMMK für Moderne Kunst is one of the most important of its kind in the world. With canonical works by Carl Andre, Siah Armajani, Lothar Baumgarten, Thomas Bayrle, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Miriam Cahn, Hanne Darboven, Walter De Maria, Marlene Dumas, Dan Flavin, Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Donald Judd, Ilya Kabakov, On Kawara, Roy Lichtenstein, Mario Merz, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Nam June Paik, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Reiner Ruthenbeck, Rosemarie Trockel, James Turrell, Bill Viola, Jeff Wall, Franz Erhard Walther and Andy Warhol, the holdings constitute an important source for art-historical research. Municipal purchases from the Ströher Collection formed the basis of the collection, which has continuously expanded, taking on an ever-sharper profile in the process. Important works of conceptual art and American (Post-)Minimalism entered the MMK holdings when the museum acquired of the collection of gallery owner Rolf Ricke.
Selected purchases have enabled the successive directors to supplement the collection with major works of international contemporary art and gradually to form a concept of its future. These acquisitions include, for example, works by Saâdane Afif, Kader Attia, Vanessa Beecroft, Martin Boyce, Vija Celmins, Larry Clark, David Claerbout, Thomas Demand, Rineke Dijkstra, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, William Forsythe, Isa Genzken, Douglas Gordon, Florian Hecker, Carsten Höller, Anne Imhof, Teresa Margolles, Aernout Mik, Santu Mofokeng, Cady Noland, Charlotte Posenenske, Walid Raad, Tobias Rehberger, Peter Roehr, Willem de Rooij, Tino Sehgal, Gregor Schneider, Santiago Sierra, Dayanita Singh, Andreas Slominski, Jack Smith, Sturtevant, Wolfgang Tillmans, Luc Tuymans, Cerith Wyn Evans and Tobias Zielony. One focus is on the purchase of room-specific and site-specific works and workgroups.
Since the museum opened in 1991, it has assigned photography the same importance as painting, sculpture, drawing or video installations in the context of the collection. There was never a separate exhibition space for photography; rather, the photographic works have always been integrated into the respective presentation side by side and on a par with works in other mediums. In keeping with its guiding collection principles, the MMK also acquires photographic workgroups. The diverse spectrum of the photography holdings ranges from vintage prints on baryta paper to monumental Cibachromes, Polaroids and slide installations. Today the collection counts more than 2,500 photographs by eighty-one artists.
The holdings are continuously digitalized and made accessible to the international public outside the museum in an online catalogue. The scholarly archives on the work of Peter Roehr is likewise available online. The archive of Jean-Christophe Ammann will also be available online soon.