Martor No. 26 / Year 2021

Recent and Radical: Excess, Absence, and Erasure in the Museum of Recent Art

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Smaranda Ciubotaru

Independent Researcher, Romania

Pages: 93-113


Postsocialism; nationalization; museology; dialectical contemporaneity; decorative art.


Inaugurated in 2018, the Museum of Recent Art (MARe) in Bucharest has rapidly become one of the leading contemporary art institutions in Romania. Rivaling state-financed museums, MARe’s approach to exhibiting contemporaneity is dialectical, exchanging the conventional, chronologically determined museological method for anachronism. This approach provides a framework through which the perpetual theoretical correspondence between past, present, and future artistic practices is facilitated. Focusing on art that circumvented the official visual discourses of the communist regime and on art that emerged after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, MARe’s novel museological method has, however, been impaired by the museum’s failure to fully account for the country’s totalitarian history. The absence of context, an unethical silence that can be seen as a symptom of Romania’s unresolved tension towards its communist past, underpins both the conception of the museum’s building and that of its permanent collection. Impeding discussions of nationalization, coercive state mechanisms, and the imposition of Socialist Realism, MARe further limits the emergence of art historical narratives by reaffirming the traditional, hierarchical superiority attributed to fine art forms.

How to cite this article:

Ciubotaru, Smaranda. 2021. “Recent and Radical: Excess, Absence, and Erasure in the Museum of Recent Art.” Martor 26: 93-113.

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