Since 2009, the Zagreb, Croatia-based Virtual Museum of Avant-Garde Art has been the online home to the Marinko Sudac Collection. In 2004, Croatian art collector Marinko Sudac started accumulating the Avant-Garde art of the former-Yugoslavian region, primarily art produced in Yugoslavia from 1914 till 1989, but later his interest included related materials from Central and Western Europe.
Today, the collection comprises some 20,000 items that include not only works of art but also publications and documents ranging from private letters to documentary photographs, videos and films. According to museum curator Branko Franceschi, whose winter exhibition "Tune in Screening: Psychedelic Moving Images From Socialist Yugoslavia 1966–1976" at New York City's Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, was included in the Village Voice's Fifteen Best Art Shows of 2011, the later is very important considering the documentation of public art, installations, performances and happenings occurring during 60s and 70s. Sudac's strategy is simple, says Franceshi, "to collect all that was relevant to enable present day and future research of the local Avant-Garde production, its connections and collaborations with the international movements and artists of its epoch. This research should become the foundation in positioning the local avant-garde production within the existing narrative of the 20th Century history of arts and culture which is predominantly west oriented."
As the Sudac Collection’s vehicle for ongoing development and research, the Virtual Museum of Avant-Garde Art is a portal for the dissemination of information about the avant-garde art that connects and integrates those interested in how the visions, methods, and ideas of the historical avant-garde can contribute to contemporary cultural discourse and practice, including its participatory potential, proclaimed social responsibility, and ability to humanize technology.
While annual exhibits at regional museums of key parts of the collection have been well attended and well received, Franceschi believed that a permanent presence was required in order to fulfill Sudac's mission of disseminating information on the Yugoslavian-region avant-garde. The Virtual Museum of Avant-garde Art fills that void.
While many arts-minded Americans are more familiar with Avant-Garde art of Russia and Western Europe, most probably don't know much about the Yugoslavian strain. So I asked Franceschi to give a brief history and overview of the movement: