Innovative institution, shaping the future through public dialogue: MOCA NGO launches the Ukrainian Museum of Contemporary Art

13 may, 2023

The Ukrainian Museum Of Contemporary Art/UMCA is an innovative network museum institution that brings together contemporary art professionals in Ukraine, enables different audiences to meet the creative imagination of artists. UMCA initiates a public dialogue about a common future on the territory of contemporary art. The network will comprise independent contemporary art museums from all over Ukraine. The participants, interacting through a digital platform that provides access to an organized database of Ukrainian artworks, are united by common mission, values, and collection.The Ukrainian Museum of Contemporary Art emerges during the largest war in Europe since World War II. A war for Ukrainian identity, independence and the right to be ourselves.

Illya Isupov, Revenge, May 2022. Painting from the collection of the MOCA NGO, courtesy of the museum

"Isn't it the very sign we needed to change our attitude towards art, culture and memory? The museum is essential for Ukrainian art and the artists who create it to always remain present. We have been counting our losses for centuries. But it will be different this time!",comments Olga Balashova, the Chairman of the UMCA Board.

According to the concept developed and approved by expert councils, the museum's collection will include artworks in different genres and mediums: architecture, urbanism, cinema, performing arts, industrial and fashion design. UMCA's chronological framework is set from 1954 to present. The collection will include works created since 1954, the year when Ukraine gained its borders, defining Ukraine as an independent sovereign state in 1991. At the moment, the collection of the museum features more than 100 works created after February 24, 2022, and purchased by the MOCA NGO with the support from international donors.

MOCA NGO will take care of the museum network development, manage the collection and digital platform until they are transferred to the museum fund of Ukraine. This should happen after the creation of the state museum of contemporary art (which is not established yet). MOCA NGO has been advocating the urgency of the state museum initiative from the very moment the NGO was launched. 

The Digital Platform is one of the MOCA NGO first projects. It is designed as a collection management system for contemporary artworks that helps to keep primary track of art pieces, fill in the cards with metadata about the works, combine the data with images, video and audio recordings, form collections and publish the data in an online catalog. The Digital Platform presentation is scheduled for the fall 2023. The inaugural project of the newly created museum is a large-scale exhibition of wartime art How Are You?, opening on June 1. The exhibition, prepared by a curatorial team of eight experts, encompasses the entire space of the National Center Ukrainian House and includes more than 400 works created by Ukrainian artists after the start of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine. 

The NGO Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in 2020 by uniting the professional community to create a new type of museum institution. In February-March 2022, together with the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund, MOCA NGO launched the curatorial project Wartime Art Archive to document the art created after the outbreak of full-scale war. The platform raised more than UAH 15 million over the year to help Ukrainian artists and support projects that develop Ukrainian culture.

The announcement features a fragment from Olena Subach's photo series "Hidden", 2022