History of a Museum. Bargain or Resource?

National Museum in Warsaw, 4 March 2016 at 18:00 hrs

Panellists: Prof. Maria Poprzęcka; Jarosław Suchan, Director of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź; Piotr Rypson, Deputy Director at the National Museum in Warsaw
Moderator: Agnieszka Szewczyk, PhD, Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

On the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the inauguration of the ‘a.r.’ group collection we would like to invite to a meeting and discussion around the publication ‘Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi. Monografia’ [Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. Monograph]. This two-volume publication explores not only the history of the institution but also the evolution of the museum concept. Multiple narrative echoing in the essays of experts in the history of art and in the theory of culture intertwines with the voices of artists, curators, and researchers, whose contributions provide the foundations for reflections over the mission and practice of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. On top of that, the publication presents the projects by artists for whom the history of the Łódź Museum is the starting point for their own searches.

The National Museum in Warsaw, in turn, published, together with Art Bookstore publishing house, a book by Jacek Dehnel 'Proteusz, czyli o przemianach. Spacerownik po historii Muzeum Narodowego w Warszawie' [Proteus or Speaking about Changes. Guide to the History of the National Museum in Warsaw]. The history of the museum written in effortless, natural style, where the narration highlights subsequent transformations of the institution itself and dramatic reconfigurations of its collections, is full of anecdotes and footnotes. It is an attempt to build a history through the demolition of a unified overall coherent image of an institution.

The history of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and the mythology accumulated around it, together with its collection and archives, could lay the basis for a specific axiology or ethos. The same can be said about other institutions, such as National Museums in Krakow and Warsaw. Thus, institutions get in a way forced to engage into efforts that result in the update of the leading ideas on the role of art and museum.

The discussion will also be an opportunity to examine various methods that change the institutional past into a mechanism used to shape the programme and future of museums.

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