Tell us about your background, how did you land this position? And what was your job before this?
I applied! The democratization of contemporary art has always been something I have been very passionate about and this museum truly is for everyone, we all have the language to talk about broken relationships. When I heard they were opening a branch here I threw my hat into the ring right away! I have project/studio managed a lot of artists and interesting and new types of art projects in Los Angeles so I like to think I was uniquely qualified to open such an unconventional and incredible conceptual art museum here.
How did the idea come about to put together a Museum of Broken relationships?
An artist couple in Zagreb, Croatia broke up and joked that they could start a Museum of Broken Relationships with everything they had acquired during their time together. A few years later they had remained friends and the idea had stuck in their heads and decided to put up a pop up of their concept. They asked friends and families if they had anything, of course they all did, and the first museum was launched! It has been traveling ever since!
Are you in a romantic relationship?
I am trying to be!
What are key components of a successful relationship for you?
Liking the other person, first and foremost. Not love, not infatuation, not mystery, not lust, but genuinely enjoying the other person’s company and wanting to spend time with them and hear how their day was. If you don’t have that, then I think it might not be for the long term.
Do you think technology has made us better or worse at relationships?
I think it has made us a bit harder to pin down. The idea that we have access to so much information/stuff/anything I think bleeds into the idea that we have an unlimited access to people and maybe there’s a better “deal” around the corner. Other than that, I think we’ve always been great and terrible at relationships and it doesn’t do much to add to it. Maybe it makes things that are supposed to end happen quicker?
The notion of broken relationships asks us to consider our sense of self and what it’s like to be an individual and be alone. How do you reinforce the importance of yourself in and out of a relationship?
If we break up with a loved one, is it a failure or another bump in the road of life we should all expect ? and if so how do we get used to this? Another bump in the road that we should all expect. I don’t know if we should or if we can ever get used to it and that’s ok. That is life, we all stumble looking for love, every single one of us, even the best and brightest and most beautiful (cough cough Brad and Angie) and that is normal! No one is perfect and as long as we are honest with ourselves, others and try our best I think that is all we can ask of each other.
How important is the healing process for you?
Extremely. It is my feeling that it is hard to properly move on until you have fully healed or things will keep coming back to bite you, bad habits and resentments and such. Being open about our emotions and the things that are difficult for us make us stronger.
It seems only fitting that a museum of broken relationships is in a city like Los Angeles. Take us through the process of how you curate a collection?
I curate it by feel, I’m taking the visitor on an emotional rollercoaster. It starts off with what I refer to as our ice breaker section. If you know about the museum, the objects and stories you would expect to see, and if you are new to the concept, it whets the palate for more. As you move through the main room I broaden the idea of what a broken relationship is, they aren’t only romantic. The visitor will see relationships depicted of friendships, family, places, businesses and oneself depicted. As one rounds the corner you are in a more physically restrictive space that is a little less exposed and that’s where the really heartbreaking stories live. Hopefully this gives you a bit more comfort to really feel for these stories and experience them fully. On the way out the stories transition into more positive areas. People looking back with fondness, humor or grateful even if it was hard: not every relationship is a bad thing. If I have done my job correctly your soul is a bit bolstered and you realize that each object here is someone who has gotten through something and to the other side, you aren’t alone, and you can do it too.
How does this space differ from the one in Croatia?
As one can imagine, Los Angeles and Zagreb are very different geographically and in terms of who lives there, their histories, and who visits. Our space is also in a newer building while their’s is an older more historical building. Both spaces have put a premium on elevating the idea of these ordinary objects into something to be considered, so I believe we have more in common than different.
Have you donated anything yourself to the museum?
I thought about it, but didn’t need to turn the museum into the Carly Simon song “You’re So Vain” with all of my exes trying to come through and seeing if this song was about them.
You invite your audience to send in things that denote the breakdown of a relationship, they they can be locked away, posted online or submitted for potential exhibition. Which is the most popular channel and what’s the most surprising item you’ve received?
Definitely submitting for potential exhibition! There is something about the physical act of the donation process that is cathartic in a way that nothing else is. The ritual of parting with the object and knowing it is going somewhere to be with other stories and objects is really beautiful and people enjoy participating in that act.
How does working in an environment that is centred around relationships and the complexities that come with them contribute to or hinder your personal relationships?
Since I experienced the exhibition for the first time in November 2015 I thought I would be much more bold and outgoing in my personal relationships, but that hasn’t been the case. I’m still me, but with a bit more self-awareness when I’m not being authentic or don’t put myself out there honestly about my feelings as I should be. I’m working on it though!
Last item donated?
Just received a painting of a hummingbird
3 words that define a relationship
Trust, Communication, Like