The creation of the Łódź collection is a worldwide phenomenon for several reasons. Firstly, it was initiated by artists themselves: the unique collection was gathered thanks to the enthusiasm and devotion of as few as five members of the “a.r.” group – Władysław Strzemiński, Katarzyna Kobro, Henryk Stażewski (the artists) and Julian Przyboś and Jan Brzękowski (the poets). Their activities and contacts, stretching from Moscow to Paris, made it possible to create an outstanding international collection of their contemporary art. Secondly, the collection included the works of the most progressive representative of European avant-garde of the day whose names would only later be included in the canon of modern art. Finally, the attitude of the then-authorities of Łódź proved surprisingly open: in spite of certain misgivings the authorities decided to allow the revolutionary collection to be exhibited at the Julian and Kazimierz Bartoszewicz Museum of History and Art located at 1 Liberty Square, opened in 1930.
After the Second World War, in 1948, the Museum was re-located to one of the Poznański family palaces at 36 Więckowskiego Street, which still is one of its seats. In 1950 the Museum, taken over by the state was re-named to Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź – a name it still holds today.
The collection is now housed at ms² – a modernised seat of a 19th century weaving plant opened for public on 20th November 2008. Since then Muzeum Sztuki has presented its collection in a completely new way. The changes refer to the place itself as well as to the way in which the artworks are exhibited. The Museum resigns from chronological order of presenting the works in favour of four themes. Due to this kind of organisation the works presented at ms² not only illustrate specific directions in art but also communicate vital issues for visitors here and now. The objective of the permanent exhibition is constant renewal of the potential of the collected artworks, making the visitors able to deepen their experience and understanding of the reality that surrounds them today by means of communing with the works, creating an “event”, a moment when an artwork is brought to life again resounding with the thoughts and emotions of the visitors. The seat of Muzeum Sztuki, which used to house the Collection for 50 year, is now, as ms¹, a place of experimenting with the phenomena of contemporary art. The space is used to present temporary exhibitions, presenting performance art, organising workshops and film screenings
The project titled Revitalisation of Infrastructure of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź – Gdańska 43 seeks to resolve the problem of particularly poor technical shape of the building on the verge of collapse and improve the sub-standard space which inhibits the development of activities and restricts the offer of ms¹ housed in Więckowskiego 36; another objective is to eliminate the lack of rooms for educational activities and for events accompanying the exhibitions, which has lead to big discrepancy in the numbers of visitors to two locations of the Muzeum – ms¹ and ms2 – in favour of the latter. Within this investment project, which started practically already in March 2017, buildings B and C – forming part of the main location of the museum – will be rebuilt and a new structure will be added atop. The investment will ensure safe and proper functioning of specialist library holding unique collection, which – for reasons pertaining to safety – had to be moved to other facilities owned by the Muzeum. For the time being, in the msl building disabled people cannot benefit from what the institution offers to the public due to architectural and heritage conservation-related barriers, which could not have been eliminated when building A (Maurycy Poznański’s Palace housing exhibition rooms) was regenerated. There are passerelles planned to be built to connect buildings B and C with building A and lifts to be installed to facilitate the disabled actively benefiting from the museum’s offer. The project also provides for the purchase of equipment for cultural activities.
The main goal of the project is to regenerate the infrastructure of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. This effort has been undertaken to accomplish the global objective connected with the protection of cultural heritage and development of the cultural resources in the country. Directly, the project aims to contribute to the protection, preservation, and dissemination of cultural heritage and to promote cultural education through the extension and major repair of the building of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź.