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
By Julia Michalska. Web only
Published online: 22 December 2010
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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