Sea Stories

Placed in Gdańsk Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art is run by Jadwiga Charzyńska. About CCA Łaźnia she says: “In a couple of years this provincial art gallery was transformed into modern, widely recognizable institution promoting modern art. To prove that statement our institution was placed by the Art Spaces Directory published by New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art in collaboration with ArtAsiaPacific among the 400 top places showing contemporary art in the world. It is also one of the seven Polish the most interesting institutions including Art + Science Meeting, Outdoor Gallery and In Progress – which is focused on experimental contemporary music.” Jadwiga Charzyńska is the only one director of Polish institutions who graduated University of Fine Arts, where she received her diploma finishing faculty of painting and graphic arts. She organized the exhibition of artistic duo Gilbert and George. After that event newsweekly Polityka, placed Łaźnia among the 20 best museums and galleries showing contemporary art in Poland.

Warsaw Inspirations

In a capital of art amateurs waits Open Zachęta or just Zachęta. According to Hanna Wróblewska, the director of Zachęta and the commissioner of The Polish Pavilion at the Viennece Biennale, the most important thing in managing cultural institutions is being opened. When she is about to make final decision she always questions herself: “What can be done to make it more available for the audience?” One of the answers is project Open Zachęta. The way to be opened leds through conversations with employees, architectural adjustments of the building or creation of the web site which shares the supplies of National Art Gallery. The aim was to increase the participation of society in cultural scene. In 2012 Hanna Wróbleska received Otwieracz Prize (Nagroda Otwieracza) awarded to people and organizations who are acting in favour of openness and promoting opened models in creation of sharing the knowledge and culture.

Cracow’s Hero

MOCAK, located in Kraków, presents famous Project (In)Between/Między created by Stanisław Dróżdża. All the projects are supervised by Maria Anna Potocka. She was the one who supported Kozyra’s installation Piramida Zwierząt, which caused a lot of controversy and social discussions. Maria Anna Potocka tells about her mission: “In galleries I was organizing a lot of risky exhibitions which were mostly directed to art society. Museum is not for critics and art curators though I am glad when they appreciate them. Mocak’s exhibitions should show addressee what is art for as it is extremely important almost strategical tool of existence. In art we can see ourselves and others who are very often much different then us. Art is something more than just the ornament of life and museum should be able to hand it on.” Maria Anna Potocka is trying to explain the whole idea of MOCAK by publishing To tylko sztuka, Estetyka kontra sztuka, and Kolekcje MOCAK-u. Since 1986 she also writes unpublished journals which consist of 50 notebooks.

National Dragon

National Museum in Kraków was probably visited by everyone. It consists of Main Building and Gallery of Polish Art The Sukiennice. Each department is managed by Zofia Gołubiew. “I was convinced that this is not a place for me. I thought that it is occupied by elderly women behind the wardrobes who are wearing slippers, gossiping and drinking tea. I was different, I was wild – I am not going to tell you about these wild things because it would be inappropriate. A lot of people claim that I have civil courage. I was able to speak when everybody was afraid of speaking, I was by someone’s side when others would not take it. These are the consequences of being raised on westerns (laughter). I still have courage to manage the museum – what probably gives me a bad press! At the same time I am afraid of the whole range of things: spiders, darkness, forest in the middle of the night and flying! Just a coward. Recently I am also afraid of open water. So am I brave or am I a coward?”. Zofia Gołubiew writes feuilletons for Dziennki Polski and letters. In the recent one, addressed to a journalist who calls her just director, she writes that he should show her more respect and she deserves better titular as she runs institution bigger than a nursery school. 

Wrocław with no Art.

Our journey ends in Wrocław where we can find Wrocław Contemporary Museum, the only one in Poland which does not contain the word art in its name. Just before opening of the museum, director Dorota Monkiewicz says: WCM is going to have various offer. It will be huge museum and it cannot be limited by a small formula. We are going to show the art which not only has an impact on intellect but is engaging every sense. Schron has no windows thus it offers us really specific psychophysical space with no access to natural light. Such effect provokes us to think about such exhibitions where light effects are going to play important role pleasing the audience because of its attractive formula. We are opened for various attitudes and formal variety. Dorota Monkiewicz is counted as one of the most important art curators and critics in Poland. As a curator she was concentrated on conceptual, feminist and critic art doing exhibitions such as Ewa Partum. Samoidentyfikacja or Zbigniew Libera. Prace 1982-2008. She is the author of almost 100 publications and the participant of scientific conferences. We cannot see them nor their portraits in golden frames but they are the ones who make galleries or museums the places with soul. Female directors.


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