The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

BY John Biweekly

In this section we introduce Polish artists, places, new phenomena. We always ask the person or the place’s representative the following question: WHY ARE YOU HERE? It’s completely up to them, how are they going to answer it. Time for The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

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The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (born 2005) – national cultural insitution established by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Poland. It begun its activities in a temporary seat at Pańska street in the autumn of 2007. It has a lot of window space, perfect for exposition, easily accessible to the eye even from the outside. Located right in the very city centre in close proximity with its future building designed by the architect Christian Kerez.

Ostateczny projekt budynku Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie i TR Warszawa from Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw on Vimeo.

It quickly proved that the Museum’s agenda consists of matters absent or depreciated until now, like for example the exhibition „As soon as I open my eyes I see a film - Experiment in the art of Yugoslavia in the 60’s and 70’s,” or the later retrospective on Ion Grigorescu. The most interesting hitherto achievement of MoMA Warsaw is definitely a very well received exhibition Ackward Objects. It was a juxtaposition of pieces by artistic peers Alina Szapocznikow and Maria Bartuszova, Pauline Boty, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, and the younger Paulina Ołowska. In the recap of 2009 American monthly magazine ARTFORUM mentioned the exhibition three times when dealing with the most important art events of the year. The programme of MoMA Warsaw focuses on the Central Europe as its main point of interest, but also deals with widely known phenomena. The region’s manifestations are that way included in a wider spectrum.

“The exhibitions, events, educational programmes and publications provided by the Museum today help to develop the full range of activities the Museum will run in the future, after the proper building is opened. The Museum constantly expands its offer to the public, focusing on modern and contemporary art, graphic and industrial design and architecture. The Museum's main mission today is the creation of a proper art collection, relevant for the Museum's institutional outlook and its new building.”

KEYWORDS: modern art, MoMA, architecture, contemporary, progressive, central Europe



Joanna Mytkowska, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw says:

Poland has none museums that would approach modern art in a systematic and cohesive way. A modern art museum has been planned ever since 1948, when the Modern Exhibition took place in Cracow. The museum’s absence is, just like lack of highways in Poland, a sign of civilisation retardation. Moreover we’re experiencing a true artistic boom. Our art scene is rich, diverse and appreciated abroad. Polish artists managed to introduce new quality to the international art domain. The problem is though that the Polish audience has poor access to its artistic goods – lacking institutions that would inform, intensify the experience, and invite Poles to participate in its activity. It happens so, that this artistic scene has the most density in the largest Polish metropolis, which is Warsaw. That’s why the Museum of Modern Art will be located “here”.
The Museum owns a collection, which is thoughtfully chosen and accumulated, and kept in professional conditions. As far as other Polish institutions Art Museum in Łódź is the only body in Poland capable of pursuing such activity in the field of modern art, however they put an emphasis on the avant-garde art of the 1920s and 1930s, and its post-war continuation. Many galleries including the Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw are meant to present temporary exhibitions, at least that's the infrastructure side of things. Maintaining a permanent collection, providing broad access, and the scale of our performance are the aspects that enable MoMA Warsaw to establish a common awareness of the present day in relations to the modern tradition.