Weekend Getaways

Museum of Broken Relationships Opens Second Location in Los Angeles

Museums usually get a bad rep as being a haven for boring, intellectually snobby types. Or for being a temporary prison for people and teens mandated to be there. You might get museum tickets as part of a vacation package deal. You want to kill some time or give children something to do. The museum may act as a rendezvous point for a meeting with someone else. Or maybe you visit a museum because of the requirements associated with a class or organizational visit. A lot of people see a museum as a repository for antiques and artifacts that no one cares about. You may find yourself going to a museum for a number of reasons. The plain truth is that, while there are a lot of museum-goers who truly enjoy the experience, most people go to a museum for a multitude of reasons that don’t really include wanting to enjoy a museum visit.

The Museum

Well, there are 2 artists from Croatia who are determined to change the personal experience of a museum visit for everyone. Olinka Visitica and Drazen Grubisic are collaborative artists and a former couple from Croatia who is determined to revolutionize the museum experience. Borne in the ruins of the couple’s own failed relationship, the Museum of Broken Relationships started out as a traveling exhibition show in Zagreb, Croatia in 2006. The first Museum of Broken Relationships was opened in Zagreb in 2006 and the second location recently opened in Los Angeles, California. Breakups and divorces can be messy, emotionally taxing and can involve everyone friendly or related to the failed couple.

The Thought Behind

They want the museum experience to become more interactive, interesting, introspective and self-initiating on the part of the museum-goer in terms of perpetuating creativity. So they created the Museum of Broken Relationships as a way to get more people involved and interested in museums and to help people creatively process emotional pain. After all, we all know that true art is created in the tumult and emotional fires of pain, loss, and love. Vincent Van Gogh is thought to have infamously cut off his own ear or earlobe while in a negative emotional state that may have centered on failed love.

Notable Exhibitions and Social Work

The first exhibition items in the Zagreb opening of the Museum of Broken Relationships in 2006 featured items and personal effects related to breakups donated from Visitica, Grubisic, their friends, families and their network of artistic collaborators. Items displayed in that show ranged from sneakers, shoes, dead roses, articles of clothing, an airsick bag, fuzzy handcuffs, a gifted toaster that was stolen back from a lover, and other emotionally resonant objects. All of the museum's exhibits come from the public via donation through the museum’s website. If you wanted to donate an item to the Museum of Broken Relationships, you would first fill out some online information. You can only donate anonymously, as no names are attached to the exhibits. You would have to give the exhibit a title, tell how long you were in the failed relationship, where the relationship occurred and write a full description of the donated item as well as its significance and bearing on the failed relationship. No donations or submissions with racist, defamatory, derogatory, discriminatory or sexist messages will be accepted. If your submission is accepted, you will get directions on how to proceed. The Museum of Broken Relationships has traveling exhibitions that go all over the world. So keep in mind that while your donation may join the collection only a select number of items are actually displayed in an exhibition.

Awards and Recognition

The Museum of Broken Relationships was awarded the Kenneth Hudson award for being the “Most Innovative Museum in Europe,” at the European Museum of The Year awards gala in 2011. The couple’s stated goal in opening the museum is to give people, “a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation.” The couple wants to revolutionize the museum experience by having museum-goers internally examine the emotional ruin and the uncontrollable coveting of sentimental objects that arise in the aftermath of a breakup or divorce. And to ultimately find peace from the experience and to further add to the exhibit in kind, if possible.

Wrapping Up

After all, we usually go to a museum to see an artwork that was probably created by an artist while in the throes of some kind of emotional pain. Art and pain are connected in life. We see that connection in museums and the couple wants the public to reinsert themselves into that connection. Especially in an age when going to the museum is seen as uncool, boring or something to endure. You can donate your items to the museum so that the chain of cathartic and emotional creativity between public and artist can continue forward. Who knows? Someday someone going through a difficult breakup of their own may find a moment of peace and solace examining your own donation in the Museum of Broken Relationships.


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