Zdenka Badovinac appointed director Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Curator and writer Zdenka Badovinac, who in December 2020 was forced by Slovenia’s new right-wing government from her post as director of Ljubljana’s Moderna Galerija, a position she had held since 1993, has been announced as the new director of the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU). The news was first reported by Croatian daily Jutarnji List, which noted that she bested all other contenders in an open call for applicants and subsequently won the approval of Zagreb mayor Tomislav Tomašević.
“I was very excited and honored when I received the news,” said Badovinac in a statement published on Slovenian website HRT. She went on to praise the institution as already possessing “one of the best collections in Central Europe,” noting, “I am very much looking forward to working with colleagues from the museum and the entire art and intellectual scene in Zagreb.”
Badovinac, who just before her termination from Moderna Galerija was awarded the Igor Zabel prize for her “outstanding […] contribution to Eastern Europe and global art history,” is best known for her work at that institution, which under her leadership became the region’s most prominent, and arguably most progressive, museum. Christened “the house that Zdenka built” by the late Okwui Enwezor, Moderna Galerija under Badovinac’s direction assembled the first institutional collection of postwar avant-garde Eastern European art. Badovinac staged a number of pathbreaking exhibitions at the museum, among them 1998’s “Body and the East: From the 1960s to the Present,” which traveled to New York’s Exit Art, and 2003’s “2000+ Arteast Collection: The Art of Eastern Europe in Dialogue with the West.” She was Slovenian commissioner at the Venice Biennale from 1993 to 1997, returning to reprise her role there in 2005. In 2002 she served as Austrian commissioner for the São Paulo Bienale; from 2005 to 2010, she sat on the board of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art before becoming board president, occupying that post from 2011 to 2013.