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Between Mobility, Control, and Social Transformation

In March 2020, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art from Rijeka published the textbook Between Mobility, Control, and Social Transformation, thus bringing to an end the four-year EU project Risk Change—an interdisciplinary project dealing with the topic of migration. It is a valuable publication featuring texts by experts from various fields of work, who covered this complex topic in their theoretical or practical work.

As part of the Risk Changes project, the Museum addressed the themes of migration (temporary and forced), escape, and the formation of prejudices about foreigners and newcomers through group exhibitions and art residencies, which are documented in this publication. Also, round tables, symposia, cinema screenings, workshops were organized, and research was conducted to verify the accuracy of the statement about the openness and multiculturalism of Rijeka, which is discussed in this book by Barbara Matejčić and Drago Župarić-Iljić. The Museum's curators Ksenija Orelj and Sabina Salamon, wrote about the project itself, mentioning how someone spray-painted over the banner placed on the facade of the Museum that had the motto of the project.

The textbook records research and anthropological fieldwork conducted by Igor Petričević while volunteering at the Porin Hotel, the main reception center for asylum seekers. In addition to having the opportunity to meet asylum seekers, talking to a resident of Dugave, he recognized the emergence of "compassionate xenophobia" among the local population. One of the texts contains notes to the ethnographic research conducted in 2016 in the Winter Reception and Transit Center of the Republic of Croatia in Slavonski Brod by Marijana Hameršak and Iva Pleše from the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research. Despite approval and accreditations, only quick space scans and interviews with management structures were allowed, but not with volunteers or migrants. Researchers, however, managed overtly to record some things.

Moving away from the topic of the migrant crisis, the guest curators of the first exhibition—Irena Bekić and Duga Mavrinac—wrote about the issue of temporary (so-called circular) migrations. In his text, Željko Senković presents a philosophical-theoretical overview of the topic of migration, and CJ Stephens writes about the experience of the Other from a psychoanalytic perspective and the relationship between the internal psychic space and external social and political spaces. Dragan Markovina addressed the topic of (lost) multiculturalism and nationalism of the Balkan-Mediterranean area as well as the prejudices of Western Europe regarding that area. Manuela Bojadžijev spoke about the migration policy of the European Union and the "impossibility of the European citizenship concept." (Ivona Marić)



NEMO releases initial report on museums in the time of the coronavirus

Following the closure of museums worldwide, NEMO has been surveying museums in Europe on the impact of the COVID-19, especially regarding the loss of income, but also on what has been described as "unprecedented creative digital use and engagement with and through culture in the world."

NEMO's initial report presents analyzed data from over 650 museums from 41 countries that have so far participated in the survey. That includes museums from all 27 EU member states, from 9 member states of the Council of Europe, and also museums in the USA, Philippines, Malaysia, French Polynesia, Iran. 

The short survey (it doesn't take more than 5 minutes to fill it) is open until 17 April 2020, and NEMO encourages museums to take part. The data collected will serve to advocate for support to museums and to help them exchange and learn from each other.

Also, NEMO has put together an overview of initiatives of museums, who, despite being closed, are continuing to provide a variety of digital services and support the public in these tumultuous and uncertain times. (Ivona Marić)



ETERNAL WATERS: LIFE & BEAUTY -  The Croatian Contribution to the European Heritage

(The Croatian Conservation Institute, 2020)

If you want to find out more about Croatia we highly recommend ETERNAL WATERS: LIFE & BEAUTY: The Croatian Contribution to the European Heritage. The book has been published only recently by the Croatian Conservation Institute, and is entirely available online.

Renowned experts from various fields of expertise selected the best examples of natural and cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. This anthology includes some hundred architectural gems, artistic masterpieces, customs and artefacts from a vast treasure trove of Croatian folklore and tradition, and nature areas of exceptional beauty and ecological value (national parks, geoparks).

The contents of the book are divided into five chapters, according to five Croatian regions surrounded by rivers and the sea, making water the connecting thread. Each subject is represented by an excellent photograph and accompanied by texts in Croatian and English.

A short promotional video is also available online. (Ivona Marić)



After the COVID-19 outbreak paralyzed normal life in Europe and around the world, museum organizations such as ICOM and AAM have put together some useful ideas, information, and recommendations for museum professionals. The focus is on implementing strict measures to help contain the spread of the virus while considering alternative ways to engage with the public and continue to work under these unprecedented circumstances. Also, the Network of European Museums Organization (NEMO) is at the moment gathering information about how museums are dealing with the coronavirus. If you want to participate in the online survey, click here.

If you want to use your time for learning, check out these free online courses by  the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History  via Coursera.

NEMO is inviting museum workers to join their free webinar Creative Europe What's in it for museums? scheduled on 15 April 2020 at 11:00 CEST. The webinar is limited to 100 participants. You can  register by 14 April. You can find all previous webinars on NEMO's YouTube channel. (Ivona Marić)



The Sixties in Croatia - Myth and Reality


As one of the most ambitious and complex exhibitions of 2018, The Sixties in Croatia – Myth and Reality held at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb (26 April – 30 September 2018) attempted to shed light on a decade as equally exciting and revolutionary in Croatia as it was in many parts of the Western world displaying more than 1.000 object. Croatia was at that time part of Socialist Federal Republic Yugoslavia which during the 1960s enjoyed a high degree of liberalization and an economy characterized by market socialist elements. The benefits could be seen in art and popular culture as well.

This comprehensive monograph published in English contains 448 pages and is structured in the same manner as the exhibition, examining the development of various segments of Croatian culture across the decade. A broader historical and socio-political context is provided stretching the limits of the decade from 1958 to 1971. Illustrated texts are written by the authors of the exhibition and cover the topics of visual arts (including painting, sculpture, new artistic practices, and monuments), design, architecture, theatre, photography, cinematography, literature, music, dance, fashion, pop culture and so on.

You can read extracts from the monograph here. (Ivona Marić)



A History of Museology - Key authors of museological theory


ICOFOM, the International Committee for Museology has published A History of Museology - Key authors of museological theory, the result of a five-year project led by its Vice President, Bruno Brulon Soares.

This first volume on the history of museology an important publication in series of ICOFOM monographs, launched in 2017 was printed at the occasion of the International symposium Écrire l’histoire des musées à travers celle de ses acteurs : Enjeux et responsabilités de l’histoire biographique, held in Paris on June 5-6th 2019 at La Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Among eighteen key authors of the museological theory, there are two Croatian museologists who joined the ‘ICOFOM family’ after 1985 - Ivo Maroević and Tomislav Šola who was director of the Museum Documentation Centre from 1981 to 1987.

To download the publication click here. (Maja Kocijan)



Buntovnik s vizijom - retrospektivna izložba Vjenceslava Richtera / Rebel with a Vision – a retrospective of Vjenceslav Richter

(exhibition catalog)

Last year the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb held the retrospective exhibition in honor of architect and artist Vjenceslav Richter’s 100th birthday titled Rebel with a Vision (October 10 – December 10, 2017). Over 200 works of art, including models and plans for architectural projects, sculptures, drawings, graphic prints, and paintings were on display giving an overview of Richter’s career.

Richter (Omilje, 1917 – Zagreb, 2002) was one of the members of the EXAT 51 group (1950–56) and later of the New Tendencies movement (1961–73) both of which promoted abstract art, experimentation, and synthesis of the arts - architecture, painting, and sculpture. He was the author of the Yugoslav pavilions for international exhibitions in Brussels, Turin, and Milan which earned him international renown. He also worked in theatre as a stage designer, designed museum exhibitions and created projects for museum buildings in Aleppo, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Skopje, and Krapina.

As an architect, he integrated the principles of constructivism and functionalism in the public and residential buildings he designed, and in his theoretical work, he put emphasis on the social role of architecture and how it can improve quality of living. By envisioning life in the supercities of the future he developed the idea of Synthurbanism and later of Heliopolis. He explored the ‘system’ in graphics, painting, and sculpture – for example, system sculpture which was characterized by a great number of movable mono-elements when translated on large scale led to the concept of the system architecture.

A bilingual Croatian/English catalog of the exhibition contains fifteen extensive texts by architectural theorists, art historians and other professionals who have over the years researched Richter’s work in the fields of architecture and visual arts. The complexity of conservation and restoration of Richter’s oeuvre is also covered as well as the topic of artist’s library, which was donated to the city of Zagreb along with his archival material, works of art and the family house. This 440-page publication, illustrated with 235 images is edited by Martina Munivrana and Vesna Meštrić and designed by Aleksandra Mudrovčić. Authors of the texts: Ivica Čović, Rika Devos, Igor Ekštajn, Günther Holler-Schuster, Zrinka Ivković, Mil de Kooning, Vladimir Kulić, Lovorka Magaš Bilandžić, Zvonko Maković, Vesna Meštrić, Maroje Mrduljaš, Martina Munivrana, Mirta Pavić, Šime Perović, Snježana Pintarić, Ivan Rupnik, Karin Šerman, Leila Topić. (Ivona Marić)