On 26 July, 1963, early in the morning at 05:17, a disastrous earthquake destroyed the sleepy Skopje. The pictures and news of this catastrophe, in which more than 1000 peoples were killed, were put on the front pages of the world media. The need for mobilization in overcoming the disastrous consequences was great and with global dimensions... “Skopje must not remain merely a newspaper report of its first sufferings, but must be the responsibility of all of us, of all men who today or tomorrow, through some similar new catastrophe, may become Skopians”. Alberto Moravia, 1963. “Skopje is not a film, not a thriller where we guess the chief event. It is a concentration of man’s struggle for freedom, with a result which inspires further struggles and no acceptance of defeat”. Jean-Paul Sartre, 1963.
Тhe international community manifested an exceptionally wide solidarity in assisting the reconstruction of Skopje. An important part of that solidarity was also the action initiated by the International Association of the Plastic Arts which on its convention held in October 1963 in New York, called upon the artists of the world to assist in creating a collection of works of art by which they would support the vision of the city reconstruction.
This action, as well as those by AICA, ICOM and other associations and individuals, contributed very quickly for the city of Skopje to acquire a remarkable collection of works of art. This information, together with the enthusiasm and vision of some people directly responsible for planning and reconstruction of the city, as well as the local artistic community, were sufficient motive for the initiation to establish the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Museum was established by an act of the Town Assembly of the city of Skopje on 11 February 1964.
MoCA as architectural exemplar
Having a total area of 5000 sq. m., the Museum building is made up of three connected wings, which include over 3.000 sq.m. rooms for the permanent and temporary exhibitions, cinema theater with 120 seats, the library and archives, administration, the conservation room, storages and other departments, and a museum shop and cafeteria.
The great park areas, that enable the installation of various sculptural projects, as well as the spacious parking lot further relate to the immediate environment of the Skopje Museum of Contemporary Art.
In addition to its collection, the Museum also organizes and presents domestic and international exhibition projects in the field of art, photography and architecture. It is the only institution in Macedonia that continuously collects and processes the complete documentation on Macedonian art. The Museum is also the only institution which presents historically relevant films, as well as specially conceived author's or national programs of the recent movie production. A significant part of the Museum activity includes also the video programs, performances, lectures, panel discussions, seminars and various other auxiliary actions. The extension of specific educational programs is intended to bring closer the art to as much as possible interested public. In further promoting these intentions, we should also mention here the expanding publishing program by the Museum of separate movie, educational and critical theoretical editions, as well as publishing of The Large Glass, the only magazine in Macedonia dedicated to the visual arts.