Documentation and library
History of Exhibitions at the Zachęta – Central Bureau of Artistic Exhibitions 1949-1970 is a research project (2014-2017) financed under the Ministry of Science and Higher Education’s National Programme for the Development of Humanities. Its main goals include drawing up a scholarly outline of the gallery’s history, rounding out the source base and, above all, making available in the public domain a part of a unique collection of documents, including exhibition photographs.
The institution’s history will be presented through a history of exhibitions, their reconstructions and reception in art criticism. The assumed research perspective reflects contemporary interest (pursued by ‘new museology’) in galleries’ exhibition policies, curatorial strategies and exhibition design techniques. One of the subjects of analysis is the CBWA’s exhibition chronology as an index of the institution’s exhibition policy but also an example of the development of a canon of postwar Polish art. A history of the exhibitions staged at Warsaw’s Zachęta gallery can also be considered as a starting point for redefining the geography of Polish art history, taking into account its local significance as well as the political circumstances of international cultural exchange during the People’s Poland era.