Museum boom continues: on the phenomenon of museums of contemporary art from a Central European perspective
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Since the 1990s Central Europe has been making up for the time lost in different spheres of life. The new century marked the beginning of the development process of museum infrastructure – a process that despite the economic crisis of the end of 2010s has been going on. Every year new museums openin in both the historical and art sector, and especially those dealing with contemporary art. Nonexistent before 1989, museums of contemporary art constitute a new type of institution in the region. Their role is not only to collect the latest art and performance, but also to make connections between art and life. Considering the low regard of contemporary art in public life, the museum boom in the field of contemporary art is indeed a phenomenon. In every larger city in Poland, as well as in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, attempts are being made towards the creation of a museum or centre of contemporary art.The aim of this article is to present and discuss the phenomenon of building new art museums in Central Europe, with emphasis on the mechanisms of their creation and local specificities. This museum-building frenzy that started in Central Europe at the beginning of the 21st century should be considered as part of the worldwide museum building boom. Various aspects of the museum boom are discussed in several points: 1) the grand vision for Warsaw – the desire to become an icon, 2) the political vision for museums, 3) contemporary art in the regions, 4) new spaces for old museums, 5) private patronage and non-governmental organisations. Central European institutions that were established during this period meet the expectations of cultural circles, politicians and patrons. In most cases, the stories of building the museums echo the Western fashion for icons and the tendency to adapt post-industrial architecture for the purposes of art.
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