Krakow’s Museum of Contemporary Art opens in former Schindler factory

Poland's first purpose-built modern art museum prematurely launched before any art has even been installed

Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow building

KRAKOW. While Poland's first purpose-built modern art museum opened in November, its halls were largely devoid of art. Located on the site of Oskar Schindler’s former factory in Zablocie, a post-industrialist area of Krakow, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK)'s exhibition programme will not begin until spring.

Visitors to the building in its first month could, however, see the exhibition, “Architecture For Sensitive Lives”—a presentation of work by Italian architects Claudio Nardi and Leonardo Maria Proli, who designed the museum, as well as documentary films on construction projects taking place in the area, which is undergoing regeneration. On 6 December, the museum closed again to visitors so that renovations could be completed.

The exhibition programme properly kicks off in mid-May with the show, “History in Art”, for which 44 international artists have been invited to display their works. Additionally, 20 works will join the museum’s permanent collection. Director Anna Maria Potocka said she intends to boost the museum’s permanent collection through her private collection of contemporary Polish art.

The premature launch of the museum is seen by many as a political move by the president of Krakow, Jacek Majchrowski. The opening ceremony took place five days before the local elections, which Majchrowski subsequently won. “From the start it was clear that the construction schedule ran parallel with the elections,” said Potocka. “However, politicians' employment of such tactics in their election campaigns benefits the art community.”

Potocka's appointment by the president of Krakow was met with controversy at the beginning of the year and led artists Wilhelm Sasnal and Marta Deskur to found the Committee for Transparency in Cultural Policy in Krakow. Following the appointment, a letter was submitted to Majchrowski requesting an open, international call for applicants to fill the director's position. The president, however, stood by his decision.


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23 Apr 12
2:28 CET


Off the beaten track but a fabulous new space. This is something our city should aspire to. At times I was the only visitor visible but this will change. If anything the main exhibition was afforded too much space but this will change as curators home in. Enjoyed the reception, cafe and felt very comfortable in this great new space. We just had the British Art Show in Plymouth, a relatively art. No Go area. Aim for a pan euro version. That would truly put you on the map. Good luck. This could be very important for Krakow.I hope I will be back.

2 May 11
22:48 CET


Hello, While I am not aware of the names listed in the posts, I am extremely interested in the work of contemporary artists based and exhibiting in the Schindler Museum in Krakow. I plan on being in Krakow from May 13-May 17 and would hope to met some of the artists. I am a artist whose work is very socially engaged and a Professor of art at the University of San Francisco. Richard Kamler

11 Feb 11
14:19 CET


Funny you should bring up the Krasnals, Bela, a group that makes British stuckists seem relevant, in this particular context (and just to clarify, Krasnals are committed exclusively to mocking Sasnal and have never collaborated with him in any shape or form, despite what Bela so confusingly and sarcastically said here). The fact that the opening of an empty gallery can pass off as a newsworthy event says a lot about the wasteland that is Krakow today, artistically anyway.

3 Jan 11
2:48 CET


I adore Wilhelm Sasnal, and his latest work with Polish artistic group The Krasnals. You can see it there:http://thekrasnals-pl.blogspot.com/2010/12/wilhelm-sasnal-whielki-krasnal-nigdy.html

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