The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Documentation and Information Department
The Museum of Contemporary Art houses the most extensive documentation on contemporary art in Croatia. Apart from the materials linked to events within MSU or organized by it, the Documentation Department also collects, processes, and presents the textual and audio-visual documents that are relevant for the activity of individuals, groups, and institutions in the field of contemporary art, both in Croatia and abroad. These materials are classified into several units: a scholarly archive of visual arts, a collection of newspaper clippings, a photographic collection, a video collection, and an audio collection.
The entire activity of MSU since 1954, which includes more than 1500 exhibitions, performances, and art events, combined with lecture series, video streaming, and round tables, has been documented in the form of photographs, slides, and press coverage. The Department's archive contains all publications, invitations, and working materials used to prepare these exhibitions and other events. These materials, collected during the organization of important exhibitions and events, have since become historical documents and are the most valuable unit of the Museum's archive. Thus, the materials linked to the New Tendencies movement (1961-1973) include not only printed matter and photo-documentation, but also extensive correspondence with artists and gallery owners, making them one of the principal sources in investigating the history of that international artistic movement. A particular gem is the section on computer art, which evolved simultaneously with the exhibitions and the publication of BIT International and is today one of the most complete of all archives of early computer art. There are also sections that came into existence while preparing large synthetic or thematic exhibitions, such as the archive of conceptual art, which evolved with the exhibitions on New Art Practice (Nova umjetnička praksa or NUP) (1978), Innovations in Croatian Art in1970s (1982), historical avant-gardes and Avant-Garde Tendencies in Croatian Modern Art 1919-1941 (1982), and Flashes of Avant-Garde in the Croatian Art of the First Half of the 20th Century (2007). Along with the exhibition and publication activity of MSU, there are other thematic units, such as the archive of photography, video, and media art, linked to the journal Spot (1972-1978) and the activity of the proto-conceptualist group Gorgona (1977,1989, and 1997).
Additionally, the Department aims to aquire documents that pertain to certain periods, movements, groups, or individuals from private collections, either by purchase or donation. These sections include photo-archives documenting the activity of the Student Centre Gallery in the 1970s and the artistic spaces of Podroom or Prostor proširenih medija (PM) in the 1980s. The Museum has also acquired a number of private archives created by distinguished curators and critics, such as the archives of Radoslav Putar and Boris Kelemen.
The scholarly public, both Croatian and international, has shown great interest precisely in these archival units, owing to their value and uniqueness. The materials are currently being documented, digitized, and classified in computer catalogues in order to facilitate the work of archivists and also to make them more accessible to external users.
Archivist: Ivna Jelčić e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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