On 11 November, Branko Franceschi, director of the National Museum of Modern Art and Biserka Rauter Plančić, the former long-term director of the Modern Gallery, as the Museum was known then, held a press conference at the National Museum of Modern Art concerning the topic of “Renovation of the Vranyczany-Dobrinović Palace or stifling three cultural institutions with public money?”.
On this occasion, the concept and the implementation of the preparation of project documentation were presented to the public, as well as what is indicated in the implementation of protection measures of the Vranyczany-Dobrinović Palace. The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU), as the nominal owner of the palace, has signed a contract with the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, in accordance with the Call for non-reimbursable funds for the implementation of measures to protect cultural heritage damaged in the earthquake on 22 March 2020, in the areas of the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County and Zagreb County, from the European Union Solidarity Fund, which the said Ministry announced and implemented. As can be seen on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, the amount of HRK 65,361,673.71 is allocated for the preparation of project documentation and implementation of protection measures for the Vranyczany-Dobrinović Palace (Modern Gallery), Hebrangova 1-3/Strossmayerov trg 12, Zagreb.
It is evident, from HAZU’s previous actions, that the said exorbitant amount of HRK 65,361,673.71 of public funds will be invested in the renovation of the building that will prevent normal functioning, let alone progress and development of museological standards of the three institutions of exceptional cultural and public importance which are housed therein – specifically, the National Museum of Modern Art, the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Archives of Fine Arts with a holdings of more than 10,000 archival units, which operates at the address Gundulićeva 24.
Referring to the long-standing unresolved issues and neglected problems of management and ownership of the palace, the speakers presented their experiences regarding the current and historical relationship between the NMMU and the HAZU through the prism of a deeply unsatisfactory reconstruction planning process, and called on the executive and administrative component of state government to protect cultural property and cultural institutions as major public values from the arbitrariness of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Photo: from the archives of the National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb