PRINT Summer 2010

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 museum’s contextualization within a fundamental cultural shift that has been taking place in Poland. Emancipated from historical encumbrances and gathering momentum from the process of democratization that has been accelerating since the collapse of Communism, contemporary culture here—and visual art in

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