Grazyna Kulczyk, Poland’s richest woman, believes in art and wants to build a museum that will feature Polish artists among others. But her home town of Poznan doesn’t have the budget to maintain the institution. This story explains, in part, the continuing privatization of museums:
A big disappointment, however, was her ambitious plan to build an art museum in the park surrounding the brewery. “I went to Osaka to meet Tadao Ando; I saw some other of his buildings in Japan – for instance Naoshima,” she says. “It was like a dream. Tadao came to Poznan, he wanted to design a building completely underground, going down 12 or 13 metres, with a Turrell room . . . but when I presented the project to the local authorities, they said they had no money for it: I would have paid for the building and the collection, but I wanted them to pay for the upkeep, to make it sustainable in the future.”
The result is that the museum will not happen; Kulczyk has now bought another brewery, this time in Switzerland, close to St Moritz. “I plan to show Polish artists there,” she says.
She is also on the acquisition committee at Tate for Russian and eastern European art, but one senses that Polish artists are particularly close to her heart. “I see myself as an ambassador for contemporary Polish art,” she says. I ask her if she thinks of the collection as an investment. “Of course!” she replies. “It’s an investment, but it is not for sale; it’s for the Polish people.”
Grazyna Kulczyk’s collection on show at Boadilla del Monte, Madrid (Financial Times)