One year until the opening of MSN Warsaw on Plac Defilad
The new home of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw will open to the public in the autumn of 2024. To mark the occasion, MSN Warsaw will hold the biggest exhibition in its history of artworks from the museum’s own collection, which has steadily grown since it was founded almost 20 years ago. It will also be the first opportunity to fully experience the space of the building on Plac Defilad and its potential to shape the city around it. An extensive agenda of accompanying events is being prepared for visitors, along with the next, 16 th edition of the Warsaw Under Construction festival.
The whole team at MSN Warsaw is working intensely on the first exhibition of the collection prepared for the opening of the museum’s new building. The move to the space on Plac Defilad, transport of works, and installation in the main galleries will take place over the summer of 2024. MSN Warsaw’s collection of Polish and foreign art, gathered since 2005, has never before been shown to the public in such a full, multidimensional and coherent presentation.
“The path through the exhibition will begin with a collection of works allied with political engagement and dreams of building a better world through art,” said Joanna Mytkowska, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.
“The second section will comprise works arising from a fascination with pop culture, advertising and design, seducing the heart and the eye. The next chapter is art based on uncompromising imagination, drawing from numerous traditions: folk, non-professional, vernacular artistic practices blossoming away from urban centres and their conventions. The final section of the show will turn to the question of the boundaries of art, its transcendence of other systems of knowledge and cultural production, particularly in the context of the disintegration and destruction of the world as we know it.”
The MSN Warsaw building, designed by the New York architectural studio Thomas Phifer and Partners, is nearing completion. Interior fitout works on each of the six floors are now underway, focussing around the monumental central staircase. The museum will occupy a total area of almost 20,000 m 2 , including 4,500 m 2 of exhibition space on the first and second levels above the ground floor. The galleries on the top floor will be illuminated by sunlight scattered through skylights installed in the roof.
According to Thomas Phifer, designer of the MSN Warsaw building: “The roof is the
building’s ‘fifth wall.’ The skylights will be shaded, as we don’t want sunlight to strike the galleries directly, where it might damage the artworks. We want the galleries to be glow with diffused light.”
Both of the exhibition levels will feature “rooms with a view”—spaces with panoramic
windows onto ul. Marszałkowska and the southern portion of Plac Defilad, enabling visitors to gaze at the centre of Warsaw from an entirely new perspective.
The ground floor of the museum, open to residents, will house a café and the museum bookstore. This level was designed as the site for the museum’s public agenda and integration of various fields of art. The museum will also invite other cultural institutions and NGOs to partner on joint events here in the auditorium and educational spaces.
Tomasz Fudala, art historian, curator at MSN Warsaw and co-curator of the Warsaw Under Construction festival, explained: “The museum regards access to public space as a priority, and the building was designed accordingly. The ground floor of the new museum building was conceived in relation to the city, Plac Defilad, and the adjoining park. The task of this space will be to create a new urban setting encouraging comfortable, convenient, everyday contact with culture.”
The building will include a cinema seating 150 people, with unique film screenings and a programme of accompanying events. The legendary Polish Radio Experimental Studio, designed by Zofia and Oskar Hansen in the late 1950s, will be reconstructed in the building, with historic and modern equipment, once again becoming a scene for creative work and jam sessions by new generations of musical artists. The building will also house conservation studios, art storerooms, archives, and administrative and technical space for the museum’s staff. The space around the museum was planned as a forum for meetings and cultural initiatives, a link between the new Central Square and Park Świętokrzyski. Tall trees will be planted at places where they will not interfere with the Metro tunnels below. In the new home of MSN Warsaw, art will interact with the life of the street and the square. Visitors will share a view of the city and the proximity of other institutions on Plac Defilad.
The construction of the Museum of Modern Art is financed by the City of Warsaw.
Warbud S.A. is the general contractor for the Museum of Modern Art building in Warsaw. The architectural studio Thomas Phifer and Partners from New York and the studio APA Wojciechowski Sp. z o.o. are responsible for the design of the building. The designer of the structure and installations for the building is BuroHappold Engineering. The consortium of Ecm Group Polska Sp. z o.o. and Portico Project Management Sp. z o.o. is acting as contract engineer. Investment legal care for the MSN is provided by the law firm KKLW Kurzyński Łyszyk Wierzbicki Sp. K.