THE NEXT STEP International Conference of Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art, Ljubljana 2009
The conference title refers to the state of affairs brought about by the rapid globalization and the growing doubts concerning the universality of the Western canon of art history. Is it even possible to think about a new universal type of museum? Certainly not in terms of similarly conceived collections and history; possibly in terms of comparable dynamics in producing diverse contexts and a multitude of narratives.
The international conference "The Next Step" focuses on the following questions:
- What course of action should museums adopt now that new spaces are opening up, spaces that were until recently marginalized and whose art has not yet been integrated into the existing canon of art?
- Currently, virtually all principal museums of modern and contemporary art in the region of former Yugoslavia are closed for renovation or (re) construction. Could this be the right moment for them to think about a new type of museum based on the production of knowledge on still-uncanonized histories?
- Under the pressures of neo-liberal capitalism, how can museums continue to pursue their common interests with regard to being more market-oriented and treating their audiences as consumers? How do museums go on in view of the global economic crisis and the undermined faith in the infallibility of the free market? Will museums fall prey to the looming financial restrictions or can they take a pre-emptive position and propose new methods of work and association and, after all, international solidarity?
- Last but not least, the title "The Next Step" refers to the current renovation of both Moderna galerija buildings (the principal museum building and the premises in the former army base in Metelkova Street). The renovation of the buildings is connected with the division of the museum's work into two segments: a museum of modern art and a museum of contemporary art. At this point we find it especially momentous to define a museum for the 21st century, both in terms of looking separately at modern and contemporary art, and in terms of bringing the museum work up to date.