The Museum of Contemporary Art
The First Museum Built on Purpose in Belgrade and the Most Representative Collection of Domestic Art of the 20th Century:The idea to display the majority of Yugoslav art of the 20th century in the same place was born in 1958, and it was implemented by the decision to establish the Modern Gallery. The following year, for the needs of the collection, an edifice was built in New Belgrade (at the mouth of the river Sava), according to the architectural project of Ivan Antic and Ivanka Raspopovic. The construction works lasted from 1960 to 1965, and after their completion, the Modern Gallery accepted the current name: the Museum of Contemporary Art.
In the architectural sense, the museum is one of the most successful projects of post-war Yugoslav construction. The building consists of 6 cubical, two-story units that are rotated 45 degrees in relation to the rectangular ground floor. The sloping roof provides plenty of light to the exhibition space, and the facade is partly transparent and partly covered with Vencac marble.
The selection of approximately 8,000 artworks consists of paintings, drawings, graphics, and sculptures, and the institution also possesses an atelier for conservation and restoration. The collection increases by making purchases from the artists, as well as by receiving gifts and legacies.
The museum consists of 5 sections:
– Paintings dated from 1900 to 1945
– Paintings made after 1950
– Drawings and graphics
– Sculptures and installations
– Collection of New Art Media (photography, film, video, etc.).
Department related to paintings created before 1945 contains 900 pieces by 138 authors, and it provides an insight into the development of Serbian and Yugoslav modernism. A special position among the artists belongs to one of the pioneers of Serbian modernism, Nadezda Petrovic with her paintings famous for bold bright colors (Valjevo Hospital). Experimenting with the shape is especially visible in the works of Sava Shumanovic (Drunken Boat), Milo Milunovic (Bistro), and Ivan Radovic (Houses). Expressionist tendencies are the most successfully evoked by the paintings of striking colors by Milan Konjovic, Jovan Bijelic, Ignjat Job, and Petar Dobrovic.
Among the paintings made after 1950, the expressionist artworks of Petar Lubarda (Fantastic Landscape), as well as the Magical Realism of Milan Popovic and Vladimir Velickovic, stand out. Part of the collection also includes assemblages by Leonid Sejka and Abstract Expressionism paintings by Petar Omcikus. There are also accomplishments in the field of Art Informel (Mica Popovic), Pop Art, Photorealism, and Hyperrealism.
When it comes to graphics, the collection of some of the most successful achievements of the local authors (Djordje Andrejevic-Kun, Marko Krsmanovic, and Bogdan Krsic) is complemented by artworks of foreign artists. The first graphics by foreign masters were obtained as a gift from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 1965. The collection was gradually enlarged and today contains more than 300 graphics and drawings by Joan Miró, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, and others. The assortment of drawings contains more than 1300 pieces created starting with the beginning of the 20th century until today, as well as assemblages and collages.
Department which contains sculptures and installations is primarily associated with Ivan Mestrovic whose artworks initiated the development of the local modern sculpture (Torso of Banovic Strahinja), and the artists who created under his influence: Toma Rosandic (Harp Player) and Antun Augustincic. The artworks of late modernism are best illustrated by the abstract sculptures of Olga Jevric (Complementary form). Kosta Angeli Radovan is responsible for the female nudes that symbolize fertility, and the artworks of Mrdjan Bajic belong to the so-called New Serbian sculpture (Accumulation).
The Collection of New Art Media was formed in 1977, along with the necessity to consider the media: photography, film, and video, valuable as much as other art forms. Among many significant works, the video performances of Marina Abramovic (Freeing of Memory) stand out.
In addition to the artifacts in the interior, the museum also has a sculpture park that contains some of the most important Yugoslav sculptural works of the 20th century.