Making good use of an unused wing of Ceausescu’s immense Palace of the Parliament, the National Museum of Contemporary Art opened in 2004 with several floors of flexible space connected by new glass lifts up to a rooftop terrace and café. It is currently showing work by a number of Romanian artists including Yael Efrati, Octav Girgorescu and Georgeta Naparus, along with early works from Iosif Kiraly and a small exhibition on one of Romania’s greatest artists Constantin Brâncuși – which left you wanting to see more – such as is currently on display at the Pompidou Centre in Malaga.
It’s a long walk round from the main entrance of the Parliament, but worth it for the exhibitions. The building itself is now 14 years old and in need of a little TLC in places. There does seem to be a consistent pattern in Romania about funding capital but not ongoing maintenance. There also seems to be a missed opportunity with the external spaces. The road to the museum seems unloved and unmaintained and, while there are a few sculptures outside, there is fantastic potential to do more and create a sculpture park, perhaps as part of a masterplan that connects to the new cathedral which you can see being constructed through the windows of the museum. There is a huge amount of land here that provides a unique opportunity to connect everything together and really support the development of contemporary art in Romania. This museum suggests unfulfilled potential.