Ukraine’s National Art Museum to open with renovated premises and a new exposition on Independence Day – museum staff


National Art Museum opens its renovated premises and announces its exhibition plans. One of the highlights is the Spetsfond exhibition of Ukrainian graphics censored by the KGB in the 1930s and displayed for the public for the first time.

Kyiv, August 16, 2016. Ukraine’s National Art Museum will finish renovations started in the summer and will open its renewed premises and exposition on August 24, on Ukraine’s Independence Day. Renovation of seven halls on the first floor are now completed, exposition renovation is running to the end. Private donors contributed the majority of funds for the renovation. “Floor renovation cost us UAH 199,500 (7,000 euro). We collected over UAH 187,000 (6,6100 euro) in two and a half months. All this money was donated by artists, gallery owners, and museum visitors,” said Olena Honcharuk, public relations coordinator of Ukraine’s National Art Museum at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Except for the biggest donation – UAH 50,000 (1,770 euro), the rest did not exceed UAH 50. Apart from the first floor renovation, museum depository no.19 was renovated as well. Moreover, the entire collection of artwork was photographed; these photos will be placed on the museum’s web site and will be publically accessible.

Renovated exposition on the first floor starts with the classic names of Oleksandr Murashko and Vasyl Krychevsky and ends with the 90s. “It comes as a result of our scientific and research work, outcome of our numerous projects in particular of the “Spetsfond” (special collection) project. […] Its main idea is to present modernist and post-modernist trends in Ukrainian art, as well as their development. They actually remained topical even in times when social realism dominated,” said Oksana Barshynova, head of the scientific and research department of the art of XX-XXI centuries at Ukraine’s National Art Museum. In order to better present this development and change of trends, museum staff decided to step aside from the traditional combined chronological and biographical narration and choose the chronological one instead. “Through the exposition, one may see characteristic features of Ukrainian art of the XX century: constant refection on its own traditions, openness to international developments, and polycentrism of artistic life,” she noted.

Works of the artists of the “Ukrainian New Wave” (2nd half of the 80s – beginning of the 90s) and of the “Painters’ Reserve” group (abstract art that originated in the 90s and developed since then) will be presented in the exposition. Part of the exposition is formed by contemporary art pieces presented to Ukraine’s National Art Museum by patrons of art with whom the museum has collaborated. “These pieces will have stickers on them with names of the people who presented them,” noted Barshynova. Curatorial, thematic, and tailor-made excursions will be offered to visitors.

The museum plans to also open the graphical part of its Spetsfond collection. “This coming Friday, graphic art pieces will be showcased that had bad luck getting into the special collection. They include the works of Mykhailo Zhuk, Heorhiy Narbut and other less known artists,” said Barshynova. Later, an updated catalogue will be presented that contains the data on the fate of the artists from secret archives of the security service that were recently made accessible. Permanent exposition honoring Danylo Shcherbakivsky, Ukrainian expert in ethnography, historian, is being prepared in the information hall.

Next year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Art Academy, exhibitions of works by Oleksandr Bohomazov, Tetyana Yablonska and Fedir Krychevsky are scheduled. In addition to the above events, the museum, in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan to Ukraine, is organizing an exhibition of Japanese etching of the XIX century in honor of the year of Japan in Ukraine. “We are also planning another international project outside of the museum – the “Spetsfond” exhibition at the Museum of Ukrainian Art in New York,” said Yuliya Lytvynets, chief collection custodian, acting director general of Ukraine’s National Art Museum.

Lytvynets also said that the competition for the post of the museum director was transparent. The main candidates are Lyudmyla Milyayeva, who has been working for many years in the museum, Mykola Yakovyna, Head of Ukraine’s National Committee of the Blue Shield, and Olena Kramareva, Khanenky Museum chief collection custodian. “These are the people we trust with impeccable reputations,” she noted.

Museum renovation plans include the renovation of its façade, steps, and roof. The Museum is currently preparing project-related documents and budget, said Yuliya Lytvynets. “It is an architectural heritage object, that’s why chemical and technical research as well as land research is needed. […] It is 99,9 percent confirmed that the Ministry of Culture will disburse UAH six million (210,600 euro) for these works. We will do our best so that during the time of external and anti-damage renovations, the museum will not have to close,” said Lytvynets. Moreover, the museum staff plans to get back to the pursuit for the land plot on Instytutska Street 3. “Currently, no more than two percent of the collection is exhibited. Collection is being constantly replenished while the exposition spaces are not. That’s why we will fight for the land plot on Instytutska. It would be great to combine there the premises of the National Art Museum and the museum of the Revolution of Dignity. XX century is a rebellious century, it would be an interesting combination,” explained Lytvynets.

The museum plans to expand cooperation with colleagues from other museums as the joint communication level between the institutions is currently very low. “Improving relations needs to become our priority. We need to stop perceiving each other as competitors, we are one team and are doing one job,” Hontaruk noted.