The Museum of Contemporary Art together with the Project Space Press To Exit organizes the lecture by Alenka Gregorić, art director and curator at the City Art Gallery in Ljubljana.
One of the oldest and most developed organizational structures in the art system is the museum. The basis of the professional operation of the museum: strategy related to the collection, program, exhibition activities, communication with the public, publishing, education, and marketing, representing part of a coherently built vision. But today, when museums seem to show particular interest in marketing ways and means of promoting collections and contents related to them, it is necessary to be aware of the dangers of marketing-oriented approaches in the creation of museum strategies. Considering the pitfalls of Western models of art institutions, the most striking element should be mentioned – museum architecture, which has triumphed over museum content since the nineties. The 1990s was a decade when “star architects” designed museums that promoted a model of architectural dominance, where architectural design competes with and even dominates the contents of a museum building, rather than complementing it. Terry Smith describes this type of architecture as “destination architecture”, architecture for entertainment or an amusement park, where the goal is to transform contemporary architecture and art into an attraction. In addition to attractive “selfie-friendly” architecture, this type of “stunning” museums also offer free access to a range of amenities that the museum offers as an integral part of its interior: socializing rooms, restaurants and shops.
In the West, museums were built as a new type of amusement park, following the model of shopping malls. In the countries of the former Yugoslavia, shopping centers were built as new amusement parks. As a result of the constant lack of funding for museum buildings, most museums in the region have, paradoxically, avoided the dangers that come with Western trends – a museum model with infrastructure for leisure activities and urban plans for the renewal of neglected city districts by building attractive museum complexes in the role of new amusement parks.
In this way, most museums remained “trapped” in old or outdated architectural buildings that do not allow modern approaches in architecture, forcing them to focus on their collections, exhibition activities and the theme of the content. As a result, they are relatively unattractive to international art tourism and its ever-increasing audiences, but find their place on the world map of significant art institutions, as a result of their outstanding programs and concepts arising from their exhibition strategies. Many museums in the region of the former Yugoslavia have created and developed curatorial and exhibition programs addressing their specificities, as well as analyzing and critically evaluating established Western examples.
Alenka Gregorić is an art historian, curator and writer. From 2003 to 2009 she was the director of the Škutz Gallery in Ljubljana, and from 2009 the art director and curator at the City Art Gallery Ljubljana and CC Tobacco 001 (both spaces part of the Museum and Galleries Ljubljana). In 2009, she was the curator of the Slovenian Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, as well as the co-curator of the 28th Graphic Biennale in Ljubljana. In 2011 she was a co-curator (together with Gilit Eilat) of the 52nd October Salon in Belgrade, and in 2014 she was one of the curators of “Curated from_Vienna”. She has curated numerous solo and group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad. In addition, she is the author of numerous essays, reviews, and columns published in artists’ books, catalogs, and other publications, and has been an editor of catalogs and artists’ books. The subject of her interest is the responsibility of those who create contemporary art, as well as cultural institutions and their role in contemporary society.
The event is supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Skopje.
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