PostModernism Museum (PMM) pursuits to be an open flexible independent museum, a cultural centre, an educational driver, an environment that is responsive to the issues of contemporary culture, while being accessible to audiences ranging from academic scholars to young children and tourists. It is based in Bucharest / Romania / Europe and opened to all.
I asked its founders, strategic and operational managers, Oana and Cosmin Năsui, a few questions and they kindly answered all of them.
Q: When and how was the idea of the PostModernism Museum born?
A: The strategy and the sketch for the private museum PostModernism began in 2011 and took form in November 2014, in the northern part of the Romania capital. Since 2014, PostModernism Museum is part of Global Private Museum Network (http://globalprivatemuseumnetwork.com/ ), the first association for private museums in the world. It organises one or two summits per year, where members gather to share projects, collaborations and interdisciplinary visions.
Q: How long did it take for the idea to materialize? Where did the funds come from?
A: 3 years.
PostModernism Museum (PMM) is a private initiative and its projects constitute a sustainable alternative to the production and capitalisation of different cultural areas, with a focus on Romania.
PMM is not a model of a public-money supported institution but quite the opposite, without though being a strictly commercial institution (like auction houses are). We use quite a mix of business models and functioning models.
The founders are a group of cultural managers, curators and collectors, actively taking part into PMM projects. The decision factors are connected to the museum sustainable development plan. The financing sources are multiple, from organising events to sponsorships, always paying attention to the sustainability model.
Q: How is the Post-Modernism Museum different from the state-owned art museums in Romania / abroad?
A: At a local level, we relate to the content of our artistic productions and to the beneficiaries of these productions. We could say there is a complementarity relation with the programmes of other cultural public institutions or museums. We have always considered the disadvantages of the local context as opportunities of growth and development.
At an international level, we have exchanges of projects and exhibitions which circulate within Global Private Museum Network but also specific content, self produced projects.
Q: Who benefits from this Museum?
A: One of our priorities when it comes to types of audiences favour the communities in the northern part of Bucharest. There is a special context here, a specific development of the city in the north. In terms of habitation, it has grown (and still does) chaotically and the needs occurred unevenly (housing, supermarket, pharmacy, bank etc. etc.). Just immediately, kindergartens, schools – most of them private. Alongside with this, tens of huge corporation building have risen and been filled in with specialised, often very young, human resources.
Otherwise, we target specific audiences, specific communities depending on the subjects of our projects, but always trying to develop new ones.
Q: How can visits at the museum be arranged? What are the visiting hours?
A: All information about visits, guided tours, special events, artist talks etc. can be found on each exhibition dedicated section on the website, www.postmodernism.ro
The visiting hours are adapted to season, to each exhibition project, following specific interests related to the various audiences in focus.
Q: Are there fees for the museum visits?
A: No, there are not.
Q: Name 3 main reasons why the Post Modernism Museum of Bucharest is a must-see for visitors.
A: Three reasons we would like to enhance:
- a word and also an acronym: DARE and / or Documenting, Archiving, Revaluing and Exhibiting
- a strategic objective: revealing closed, never before seen, private collections to audiences
- an interactive curatorial approach: researching and preparing exhibitions as _reasons_ for further investigation into various sectors of creativity, beyond traditional visual arts (architecture, gaming, history, anthropology, sociology etc.)
Q: What are the museum’s program’s highlights for 2016?
A: PostModernism Museum has initiated a 5-year programme of Documenting, Archiving, Revaluing and Exhibiting the art produced in Romania in 1945-1990, named DARE. The programme consists of a series of researches analyzing the relationship of Romanian artists to different political ideologies and social climates within the historic periods post-war and communist, 1946-1989. So far, no private or public institution in Romania has assumed an initiative of research recovery for this historic period of time. For 2016 we have prepared three exhibitions within DARE: ”Before and after the cultural revolution in Romania: 1971”, ”From political propaganda to baby boom”, ”Socialist architecture in Bucharest”.
Another highlight is the release of the complex duo study: ”Collecting Romanian Art” and ”International Curators interested in Romanian Art”.
This panoramic view of the art collectors, with focus on a Romanian art interest, has revealed interesting approaches. It speaks in many complex ways about finding and building identities, about historical reparations, about needs for values, about belongings to greater things. In many cases, the collectors are also responsible for saving artworks from deterioration or physical disappearance, restoring and, in particular cases, donating to museums or showing them in exhibitions.
The research on professionals’ curatorial concepts would reflect the heterogeneous nature of what influences contemporary art today, providing audiences with a broader historical and cultural perspective and insight. The selected curators’ experiences with Romanian artists reflect the fact that the exposure within international contexts are vital for both those in the art world and the audiences.
Q: Who are the main actors who made this project become reality? (Please describe each one in maximum one short sentence).
A: The founders are a group of cultural managers, curators and collectors. Oana & Cosmin Năsui are part both of the strategic team and the operational one.
Q: At the end of this interview, is there any interesting fact or story you’d like to share with the AAN readers (about this daring project)?
A: We would like to share an inspirational project of PostModernism Museum.
The project ”Hedda Sterne – The Discovery of Early Years 1910-1941” is dedicated to the important discovery made in Bucharest in April 2014, consisting of documents, photographs and the body of artworks created by Hedda Sterne until 1941, before she left Romania. Kept locked for more than 75 years in time, this treasure survived miraculously, being encapsulated within a private collection.
Born in Romania in 1910, Hedda Sterne moved in the U.S in 1941, where her works later found their way to the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It is still difficult to start to introduce Hedda Sterne other than with the clichés that described her either as the only female in the Abstract Expressionist group the Irascible 18 or the wife of the famous artist Saul Steinberg.
The study book here http://postmodernism.ro/hedda-sterne-the-discovery-of-early-years-1910-1941/
Thank you, Oana and Cosmin Năsui.
Interview and article by Anca Negescu
Photos: ©Oana & Cosmin Năsui