NOVAci is a project by Pogon and the curatorial collective WHW / Nova Gallery designed to encourage young art historians to engage with curatorial practices of contemporary art.
The NOVAci project, co-organized by Pogon and WHW / Nova Gallery, with the mentorship of curators Ana Kovačić and Lea Vene, is designed to encourage young art historians and others interested in curatorial practices in the field of contemporary art to engage in practical curatorial work and, at the same time, gain their first experience in curating under the mentorship of curators active on the Croatian art scene. The project raises awareness of the need for new forms of infrastructural, organizational and mentoring support for young curators to enable them the implementation of their first curatorial programs right at the start of their careers. This project relies, in part, on the very beginnings of WHW, when the Start Solo project at the Nova Gallery was launched to provide this type of support through a series of exhibitions by young artists. We want to explore the positions, strategies and themes that are evolving in the circumstances of the pandemic, the crisis that has been present for some time that, among other things, is reflected in the position of young artists and curators . Given that during their education, future curators often do not have the opportunity to develop this type of knowledge and skills, or to produce their own curatorial projects, this platform is designed to be a new type of catalyst for support and development of domestic curatorial practices focusing on concrete practical experience of the exhibition project. The history of Nova Gallery, its reputation and infrastructure, can be a stimulating context for curatorial reflection and interventions of younger generations.
An important aspect of the project is mentoring the selected curator or curatorial team with an emphasis on exhibition preparation, artist selection, planning and realization of the exhibition, budgeting, preparation and printing of exhibition brochures, design and implementation of the opening and accompanying programs and submitting final reports. This project captures the entire experience of designing and implementing the selected curatorial project and additionally gives the young curators the opportunity for new professional visibility on the Zagreb and Croatian artistic scene. Through mentoring, the selected curator or curatorial team will be guided in detail through all steps of the necessary preparation for the exhibition, and will also be able to get to know the local scene first hand through organized visits to artists, curators and other cultural workers active in the relevant fields of their research. The mentors of the project in 2021 and 2022 are Ana Kovačić and Lea Vene.