We started our museum project in 1992 with
Chaplin Art Center. The name of Charlie
Chaplin was adopted because of our aim to be
the same active and energetic in many fields
as beloved actor, director and composer did.
And one more reason to let his name last -
we would like also to support those who are
unhappy and sad...
We rented the former CPSU district
headquarters building for upgrading cultural
life in Pärnu, a town of 45 000 inhabitants.
In this ugly office building we started to
run art shows, film festivals, concerts,
The art center was ruled by a board with
members from Pärnu, Viljandi, Tallinn,
Helsinki, New York. The head of the board
was Mark Soosaar, a free lance documentary
film maker. Most of financial support came
from rental fees paid by companies working
in the building. Important part of support
came from the town budget and the Cultural
Endowment of Estonia.
In 1998 we started to build up the MoNA -
the Museum of New Art based on art
collection donated by artists around the
world. Today we have in our collection
masterpieces by P.Picasso, J.Rustin,
Corneille, Y.Ono, J.P.Witkin, E.Lucie-Smith,
M.G.Rivera, E.Ohlson, J.Saudek, L.Lapin,
P.Mudist, L.Lestberg etc. The main expert
for our collection is London based art
historian Edward Lucie-Smith. The main
curator and artistic director of the museum
is Mark Soosaar.
The largest hall of 250 square meters is 5,5
m high. The central hall of 200 square
meters is 7 meters high. Two smaller halls
by 70 square meters are 2,5 m high. The
lobby (150 sq.m) which can also to be used
for exhibitions is 2,3 m high.
The main function of the MONA is to organise
international art exhibitions. The Museum
has introduced artists from such countries
as Chile, Iran, Peru, China, Mexico,
Jamaica, Guatemala etc. Nor is Estonian folk
art neglected: for example, handicrafts and
naivist paintings from the Estonian islands
are often on display.
International exhibition of nudes Man and
Woman, as well as the an exhibition of
self-portraits, I Know Myself Best, are
long-standing traditions at the Museum. Man
and Woman is exhibiting beauty of human body
in a form of classical and contemporary nude
art. I Know Myself Best is the show where
the artists are free to display everything
connected with their unique person. Since
1997, the Museum has organised an
international symposium The Art of the
Blessed which tries to help mentally
retarded people to express themselves and
communicate with the rest of the world
through their art, since communication with
words is difficult for them.
Annually, every July, there will take place
international festival of documentary and
anthropological films. The Annual Pärnu
International Documentary and Anthropology
Film Festival is an artistic and scientific
event, an important link between documentary
film makers and anthropologists of the East
and West. The aim of the festival in general
is to support cultural survival of peoples.
Only documentary films and videos of high
value and quality, recording human
activities in social, historical or
ecological context are accepted for
competition screenings. During the festival
a selected program of outstanding
documentaries will be broadcast on Estonian
TV and during the last night the TV-audience
will be voting for the best film to be
awarded with the ESTONIAN PEOPLE'S AWARD.
The Museum collection contains near one
thousand items. There are items of fine art,
photographs and installations, sculptures
etc. The most significant aspect of the
collection is originality. Rather than
attempting to rival world-famous art museums
like the New York Museum of Modern Art, the
Louisiana in Denmark or the Moderna Museet
in Stockholm, the collection will
concentrate on the art of the Baltic Sea
countries. In Soosaar's words, this
condition is by no means a rule: if a person
or an institution donates a work by a
contemporary Chinese or Japanese artist, the
Museum will be only too happy to accept it.
The collection already contains a few
objects from Latin America. The Pärnu Museum
is not going to focus on the works of famous
artists of the 20th century, because in two
years time they will all be in the past, art
of the previous millennium. Instead, more
attention will be paid to young artists, who
may make a name for themselves in the
future. This does not naturally exclude
works by well-known masters.
The Museum with its cozy café, is open 7
days a week through year.
Welcome to our museum!
Vaiko Edur, programmer for the Museum of