Support for the National Art Museum of Ukraine

We, the undersigned – artists and viewers, cultural actors and museum professionals, and all those who are concerned about the future of the National Art Museum of Ukraine (NAMU) – declare our support for the NAMU staff, who launched a protest on October 17, 2012.

We support the position of the collective of museum workers, as expressed in an open letter to the Minister of Culture of Ukraine Mykhailo Kulyniak:

“Given her glaring incompetence and unsubstantiated allegations, providing of false information,  appropriation of the Museum’s past achievements, the staff of the National Art Museum of Ukraine demands the immediate dismissal of Ms. [Tatiana] Mironova from the post of Acting Director of NAMU and barring her from being appointed director of NAMU.”

We believe that the most valuable asset of the museum today is its collective. It is precisely this group of professionals that over the past several years has transformed NAMU into Ukraine’s leading art museum – an institution open to innovation and experiment. NAMU has presented the country’s most significant projects integrating contemporary art into the traditional museum context. These exhibitions, which can already be considered part of history, include “Ukrainian New Wave” (curator Oksana Barshynova), “Great Surprise. R.E.P.” (curator Olesya Ostrovska-Lyuta), “Gnilitsky. Cadavre exquis” (curators Lesya Zayats, Oksana Barshynova), “Hostage in NAMU” (curator Larissa Babij), “Myth: Ukrainian Baroque” (curators Galyna Skliarenko, Oksana Barshynova), and important international projects like “1989 – 2009: Turbulent World – Telling Time” (collective of international curators), “Beuys. Paik. Vostell. Art actions and video-art of the 1960s-1970s” and “Record Again! 40 years of video-art.de” (curator Daryna Yakimova), “Cultural Luggage” (curator Mykola Skyba).

We insist that NAMU should be headed by a museum specialist who knows the museum from inside and has experience working in this particular institution, who has played a role in the museum’s above-mentioned critical development. A few candidates meet these qualifications: Yuliya Lytvynets, Chief Custodian of NAMU; Maryna Skyrda, Deputy Director in Education of NAMU; Maria Zadorozhna, former  Deputy Director of Development NAMU.

We insist on the timely fulfillment of the process of choosing the new director of NAMU through the expertise of the Museum Council of the Ministry of Culture and the Minister of Culture’s subsequent appointment of the director, so that the museum may finally return to its previous working rhythm.

We also believe that the introduction of open, transparent and competitive procedures for filling key positions in cultural and art organizations is imperative for the modern development of Ukrainian institutions and is capable of safeguarding them from the influence of private business interests and government bureaucracy.


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