Architecture, Arts and Crafts and Design of the Slovak National Gallery

In 1961, when new Act No. 109 on Museums and Galleries entered into validity, the Slovak National Gallery accepted a new statute that divided this institution into three specialized departments. A new department of applied and industrial arts was formed along with the original classical departments. At the same time, the acquisition concept for its collections began to be implemented. Despite the fact that this department should have been operating only temporarily on the grounds of the SNG in order to prepare the foundation for the establishment of the UMPRUM Museum, it remained permanently. The Collection of Architecture, which was founded in 1986, shares a similar story. The coexistence of the Collection of Architecture, Applied Art and Design under one roof with the art disciplines of free art also affected the character of the collection. From the outset, the concept was always more oriented on the borderlines of applied art in which the current development tendencies of free arts resonated, and less on design, just as, after all, in real life and within these disciplines. This fact was also reflected by collection activities and exhibitions due to the initiative of curators. In the first decades, this pertained particularly to independent exhibition projects oriented on individual disciplines, artists’ concepts, joint exhibitions in various combinations of the applied art collections as well as permanent expositions. Only in the 1990s, when the profiling of the collection provided sufficient possibilities for integration was the new phase of the exhibition life of these collections set in motion. The Collections of Architecture, Applied Art and Design became a regular part of key gallery projects as a result of regular cooperation with the curators of the Collections of Modern and Contemporary Arts. Today these collections represent the only collection of the works of these disciplines in Slovakia, which is unique (in its content and extent) within the entire network of museums and galleries. The Collection of Applied Art is classified according to material, which is a standard classification in all institutions worldwide. The profiling of the Collection of Design was particularly oriented on graphic and stage design under the given conditions in terms of history and culture. The third and last circle is constituted by the Collection of Arts and Crafts, which is relatively modest due to the fact that the collections of almost all Slovak museums are oriented on these disciplines.