The narrow, elegant peninsula in the midst of the mighty Danube is the location of a rare amalgamation. Museums take decades, or even centuries, to be established and grow under the patronage of kings, popes, states… Danubiana emerged out of nothing.
The enthusiasm of Dr. Vincent Polakovič and the financial resources of the Dutch collector Gerard H. Meulensteen, combined with the environment of the blue Danube, resulted in a spectacular museum of modern art.
Danubiana astonishes even before you reach it.
The modern architecture is visible from a distance, as the edifice is surrounded by water. The museum is located next to Čunovo, at the junction of the Slovak, Austrian and Hungarian borders, some 20 km from downtown Bratislava.
Shaped like the Roman galleys that used to navigate the shallow waters of the Danube, the museum acquired the title of the Building of the Year in Slovakia. In a way it is also a symbol of united Europe, as it is located at the very heart of the EU, on what used to be the border of the Roman Empire.
People who visit it are mostly thrilled not just with the location and architecture, but also with the numerous exhibitions of modern art from the region. On sunny days, a stroll on the peninsula, which is also home to a pleasant café along the Danube bank, is a true cultural experience. The river banks are replete with sculptures by European and American modern masters.
The large-windowed gallery and the park surrounding the edifice interfuse with the river, giving off the impression that the Danube itself flows through them.
Danubiana is an internationally acclaimed project and gallery, but the majority of the exhibitions are of regional character. The permanent exhibition, thanks to the patron of the arts Meulensteen, is impressive. Art frequently requires help from the state, and the situation
in Slovakia is no different. The controversy of providing aid to the gallery is not without its opponents. Without the state money the gallery may not be able to survive, and the government holds it to be the center of modern art in Slovakia. Critics, on the other hand, claim that public money could be better spent. With this aid, the state has assumed the ownership of the gallery and the surrounding facilities.
Currently, until March 5, Danubiana is host to an exhibition by Jiří Georg Dokoupil – Oxymoron. Unusual and attractive works of art have been painted with colored soap bubbles, if I understood correctly.
When you’re in Bratislava, Vienna, Győr, or nearby, Danubiana is worth a visit.