Joanna Mytkowska

  • “Black Monday” abortion-ban protest, Warsaw, October 3, 2016. Photo: Janek Skarzynski/Getty Images.

    Joanna Mytkowska


    Poland is the future: The nationalist, extreme-right-wing Law and Justice Party swept to power there in October 2015, giving the rest of the world a glimpse of what happens when contemporary populism engulfs a nation and takes hold. This shift announced a crack in the postwar liberal European order, and the results have been as swift as they are terrifying: authoritarian efforts to rewrite the constitution, a draconian attempt to curtail reproductive rights, and the radical defunding of the arts. In this way, Poland can be seen as both a case study and a warning—portending

  • Joanna Mytkowska

    MY EXPERIENCE AS THE DIRECTOR of an emerging art museum suggests that the institution can play the role of agent of change in the public sphere. The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw is the first art museum to be built in that city since 1938. The building, which is scheduled to open by 2014, will stand in front of Poland’s most emblematic structure, the Palace of Culture and Science. Erected in 1955, the Moscow-style skyscraper is regarded by some as a symbol of Soviet domination, by others as simply a Warsaw landmark. The palace thus serves as a literal backdrop or foil, emphasizing the new