SMACK in the middle of Warsaw you can find the Museum of Modern Art: Moma Warsaw. As I am waiting for my Polish friend after getting off the bus, she advises me to “please skip the monstrous Palace of Culture and Science” and be amazed. And so I did…
Before I go I have to set my expetations straight. You will not find any Polish counterparts of Monet, Van Gogh or Picasso. Despite the museum’s name this is merely a palace for contemporary artists. And as you might expect with contemporary art this place makes you smile, mostly. Some pieces are really beautiful or interesting, but few will repel you, make you jump three meters in the air or only produce indifference. I feel like Alice in Wonderland being bounced from one feeling to another.
This wonderland forms a contrast with its casque: the building used to be a furniture store. Built in the 1970s it is a Soviet version of Modernist architecture. The building is spacious and light, it has straight lines only and it lacks any decoration, but its greyness and sloppy state remind me I’m in a former part of the USSR. This feeling gets stronger by just looking out of the window, where the enormous communist Palace is on view. Honestly, this is what I expect from Poland and even though it is not pleasant, its history is an important part of town so I embrace this unwelcoming greyness.
I found only one picture as proof of the famous Polish furniture store Emilia:
What I like about the museum is that it’s quiet, loaded with artwork but it’s not gruelling. In an hour you see most of it without going crazy, so to speak. And it’s varied enough to keep you entertained. A little warning is at place though, as you have to be open to contemporary art. If you’re not, you probably won’t understand the gross of it, frustratingly asking yourself “why?!”.
So if you’re not that much into contemporary art, try your luck at the National Museum Warsaw (art of all times) or Zacheta Art Gallery (1960s and 1970s). Done with art? The Chopin Museum is worth a recommendation. Or completely infatuated with contemporaries: visit the castle that houses the Center for Contemporary Art.