Museums of the 21st Century: Other Narratives

In the 21st c. art museums have become places that not only store cultural heritage, but also communicate with the society and create significant discourses. Seeking to expand the debate, museum professionals invite contributions from researchers of culture and arts as well as artists.    

The permanent exposition of the National Gallery of Art, opened in 2009, introduces Lithuanian society to the 20th and 21st c. art. It has become an important place for education and improvement of visual literacy. It covers art processes of the period in three stages: modern tendencies in multinational Vilnius and the interwar state (1900-1940), ideological restraints and artistic opposition during the Soviet period (1940-1990) and liberation of art from traditions and local hermeticism since 1990. This story emphasises the changing art forms due to shifting political circumstances and expresses the 'totalitarian paradigm' that dominated cultural studies in the 1990s. Not only the Soviet occupation, but also other periods were analysed then in terms of binary oppositions that helped to reveal the mechanism of control, criminal aspects of the system and the resistance movement. At the beginning of the 21st c., however, that paradigm has been replaced by a post-revisionist approach, which focuses on everyday life, often happening away from politics, and the structure of social networks that formed a unique culture of survival. The most recent academic publications reveal multifaceted social interactions and the 'spaces of freedom', in which alternative values were cultivated. Descriptions of the Soviet period exclusively as a repressive system and romantic visions of the interwar period are gradually replaced by studies of budding 'consumer society', 'inventive society' or 'society of boredom', woven from marginal practices. Artists also question the dominant narratives of art history offering their own alternatives.

Such changes in the humanities and social sciences encourage to review the narrative of the 20th - 21st c. art history and ways of exhibiting it, to pay attention to 'other narratives' that are normally overshadowed by the discourse of power and the logic of opposition. Those 'other narratives' could include micro-histories, contradictory experiences of everyday life, the culture of memory, marginalized artistic activities, etc.

The purpose of the conference is to analyse the challenges to and possibilities of presenting the history of art with regard to the most recent interpretations of history, philosophy, sociology, and the arts as well as progressive international experiences of modern and contemporary art museums.

Speakers: Zdenka Badovinac, Adam Budak, Virginija Cibarauskė, Violeta Davoliūtė, Linara Dovydaitytė, Laima Kreivytė, Aurelija Maknytė, Šarūnas Nakas/Dainius Liškvičius, Agnė Narušytė, Joanna Sokołowska, Laima Laučkaitė-Surgailienė, Aurimas Švedas, Skaidra Trilupaitytė, Odeta Žukauskienė/Gintras Didžiapetris, Audronė Žukauskaitė.

Organizer - Lithuanian Secion of AICA, partner - National Gallery of Art. Curators: Laima Kreivytė, Agnė Narušytė, Lolita Jablonskienė. 

Sponsors: Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, Lithuanian Council for Culture, Polish Institute in Vilnius, hotel "Narutis".


The working language of the conference will be English

Friday, 18 November

Curators' introduction

11.05 Aurelija Maknytė
Artistic intervention "VJ in the Collection"

11.30 Laima Laučkaitė-Surgailienė
Dr. (hp), Chief Researcher, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Vilnius
Our Alien Legacy: German Art of World War I in Vilnius

12.00 Agnė Narušytė
Assoc. Prof. Dr., Vilnius Academy of Arts
Curating Photography: Narrative Layers of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Information

12.30 Violeta Davoliūtė
Dr., Visiting Prof., School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris; Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
From Poetics to Politics: Trauma and the Shift of Memory Paradigms in Late Soviet Lithuania

13.00 Joanna Sokołowska
Curator, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź
Atlas of Modernity. 20th and 21st Century Art Collection in Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź

13.30 - 14.30 Lunch break

14.30 Skaidra Trilupaitytė
Dr., Senior Researcher, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Vilnius
Exhibiting cultures: Industries of protest

15.00 Laima Kreivytė
Independent curator, lecturer of the Vilnius Academy of Arts and the European Humanities University in Vilnius
Feminist Curating in the Museum

15.30 Linara Dovydaitytė
Assoc. Prof. Dr., Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas
Public Engagement in Art Museums: the Idea and Practices

16.00 Zdenka Badovinac
Director, MG+MSUM, Ljubljana
Low Budget Utopias

16.30 Šarūnas Nakas / Dainius Liškevičius
Curator / Artist
Juzeliūnas' Cabinet: Modernizing Lithuanity

17.00-17.30 Discussion

Saturday, 19 November

11.00 Aurimas Švedas
Assoc. Prof. Dr., Vilnius University
Encounters with the Soviet Era: Lithuanian Historiography and Historical Culture in the 21st Century

11.30 Virginija Cibarauskė
Doctural Sudent, A. J. Greimas Centre of Semiotics and Literary Theory
Poet-martyr in Contemporary Lithuanian Literature Field

12.00 Audronė Žukauskaitė
Dr., Chief Researcher, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Vilnius
How to Define a Work of Art? The Unrepresentable and the Imperceptible Dimensions of Contemporary Art

12.30 Adam Budak
Chief Curator, National Gallery in Prague
Curating the (National) Gallery, or in a Search of a Polyphonic Narrative

13.00 Odeta Žukauskienė / Gintaras Didžiapetris
Curator / Artist
Jurgis Baltrušaitis' Manuscripts: For All and None

13.30-14.00 Diskusija / Discussion

NGA Auditorium
2016 11 19


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International conference "Museums of the 21st Century: Other Narratives" | National Gallery of Art, Vilnius | 18-19 November 2016