Go to section:

Museum of the Avant-garde or The Avant-Garde Museum? Collecting the Radical- the conference



ms2, Ogrodowa 19

On the 2nd and 3rd of December 2017, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź organised an international academic conference devoted to collecting as an avant-garde practice and held within this year’s celebrations of the Year of the Avant-garde in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. The invited experts concentrated on the early days of the institutionalisation of the avant-garde and their meaning for today’s museum activity. They also discussed the earliest examples of collecting avant-garde art, initiatives of self-institutionalisation emerging from within the avant-garde itself, as well as contemporary manners of working with the avant-garde heritage. The discussion also focused on the social and political dimension of the practice of avant-garde collectorship and the question of the benefits that it can bring today.

The invited guests included such figures as: Jeremy Braddock, author of a book devoted to the modernist context of such undertakings as the Société Anonyme collection, co-created by Marcel Duchamp; Juliet Kinchin, who explained the history of the beginnings of the modern design collection at the MoMA in New York; Francisco Godoy Vega, who presented the first museums of modern art in Brazil and Chile as a response to the formation of the idea of “Latin American art”; Annika Öhrner, who concentrates on forming modern art institutions in Scandinavia; and Rebecca Uchill, who studies the activity of Alexander Dorner– the founder of modern and progressive museology in the 1920s. The conference also featured: Maria Gough, outstanding expert in Russian and Soviet avant-garde, and Arseni Zhilyaev, author of the pioneering publication Avant-Garde Museology, comprising texts by Casimir Malevich and Alexander Bogdanov, amongst other figures. Their papers addressed the character and results of reforms in the field of museology that were introduced after the October Revolution in collaboration with radical artistic circles. A comparison of different models of avant-garde collecting and collecting the avant-garde provided the topic of the paper by the o.k. group (founded by Julian Myers and Joanna Szupińska in homage to the a.r. group). The history of the collection of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and current forms of working with the collection were discussed by Tomasz Załuski and Daniel Muzyczuk.

The conference was accompanied by a screening of the documentary film The Desert of Forbidden Art (dir. Tchavdar Georgiev, Amanda Pope), which tells the extraordinary story of Igor Savitsky, painter, archaeologist and ethnographer, collector of avant-garde art since the 1930s, founder of the Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art in Nukus.

The conference marked one of the stages of the multi-year and multi-staged project pursued by Muzeum Sztuki whose goal consists in highlighting the globally pioneering character of the International Modern Art Collection of the a.r. group.

The list of conference participants included:
Jeremy Braddock (Cornell University), Francisco Godoy Vega (La Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), grupa o.k. (Julian Myers, California College of the Arts, and Joanna Szupińska, California Museum of Photography), Maria Gough (Harvard University), Juliet Kinchin (MoMA New York), Annika Öhrner (Södertörn University), Daniel Muzyczuk (Muzeum Sztuki), Rebecca Uchill (University of Massachusetts), Tomasz Załuski (Strzemiński Academy of Art Łódź, University of Łódź), Arseny Zhilyaev (artist)


SATURDAY 2.12.2017
12.00  Welcome and introductions 
12.40  grupa o.k.: The Avant-garde Collection: An Introduction
13.20  Jeremy Braddock: The others Formation and the Société Anonyme
14.00  Daniel Muzyczuk: Present Past. International Collection of Modern Art Between Avant-Garde and Actualisation
14.40  Discussion
16.00  Rebecca Uchill: Alexander Dorner and the Impossible Exhibition 
16.40  Francisco Godoy Vega: We Were Never Modern. Tensions and Inventions at the Birth of Latin American Modern Art Museums
17.20  Discussion
18.00  Screening: The Desert of Forbidden Art (dir. Tchavdar Georgiev, Amanda Pope) 

SUNDAY 3.12.2017 
10.30  Maria Gough: The Work of Art Remade: The Politics & Aesthetics of Reconstruction
11.10  Arseny Zhilyaev: The Vulgar Freedom of Museum Work 
11.50  Tomasz Załuski: Art as an Agent of Modernisation. Władysław Strzemiński’s Double Politics of Social Change, the Museum, and the Artistic Culture
12.30  discussion
12.50  Juliet Kinchin: Art in an Expanded Field: Canonizing Avant-Garde Design at MoMA
13.30  Annika Öhrner: Inventing the Avant-Garde. Moderna Museet in the 1960’s
14.10  Discussion





The conference was one of the events crowning the 100th anniversary of the Polish avant-garde, initiated by Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz - an institution for which preserving the legacy of the avant-garde remains a constant source of inspiration and challenges for the future.

The conference Museum of the Avant-Garde or The Avant-Garde Museum? Collecting the Radical was co-organized by Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

The project was co-organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute operating under the Culture.pl brand within the international cultural programme POLSKA 100 accompanying Poland’s centenary of regaining independence. The programme included the very best of Polish culture with more than four hundred cultural projects. Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the Multi-annual Programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017-2021. The goal of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, a state-funded cultural institution operating under its flagship brand Culture.pl, is to promote Poland and Polish culture abroad. Through the presentation of high-quality initiatives and events in the fields of art, music, and design, the Institute aspires to introduce an international audience to contemporary Polish culture. More information about Polish culture worldwide at www.culture.pl

The event was presented in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Polish avant-garde.

Honorary Patron: the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda

Under the auspices of



Main partner of the 100th anniversary of Polish avant-garde in the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź




ms2, Ogrodowa 19


Pursuant to Art. 173 of the Act of Telecommunications Law we would like to inform you that by continuing to browse this webpage you agree to save on your computer the so-called cookies. Cookies enable us to store information on the webpage viewership. If you do not give your consent to saving them, change the settings of your browser. More about the privacy policy.

Logotypy UE