The MOCAK or Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków is one of the most interesting museums in Krakow and is entirely dedicated to Polish and international contemporary art. Housed in an award-winning building of modern architecture, in what used to be the sheds of Schindler’s Factory, the MOCAK has quickly become one of the most important contemporary art museums in Europe.
What you will find in this guide to visiting the MOCAK:
- MOCAK: Interesting Facts and Things to Know Before You Go
- Visit to the MOCAK in Krakow: What to Expect
- MOCAK Tickets and Opening Hours
- How to Get to the MOCAK
MOCAK: Interesting Facts and Things to Know Before You Go
The MOCAK or Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków is one of the most important museums in Krakow, and is an important cultural center that combines the best of contemporary art with the cultural and historical heritage of the city.
The MOCAK is located inside what used to be the famous Schindler’s Factory, in the Zabłocie district, one step away from Podgórze and Kazimierz and about 2.5 km from Stare Miasto, the Krakow Old Town. Schindler’s Factory is one of the most important places in the recent history of the city, and now houses a very interesting museum on the history of the Nazi occupation of Krakow and the German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who managed to save thousands of Jews from death.
But not all of Schindler’s Factory has been preserved: the museum of Schindler’s Factory is located in what used to be the administration buildings, while the production area has been demolished and here now stands the MOCAK, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków, housed in a beautiful, purpose-built contemporary architecture building.
The MOCAK was built between 2009 and 2010 and designed by the Italian architects Claudio Nardi and Leonardo Maria Proli, who wanted to create a building that integrated well with the architectural style of the old factory, in harmony between modernity and historical significance. The MOCAK was built taking up some of the elements and shapes of the old factory, preserving part of the perimeter walls and its characteristic industrial design, such as the saw-tooth roof.
The old factory was literally set within a new complex that makes skilful use of concrete, glass and steel. The large windows, the bright rooms and the eclectic division of spaces, with exhibition areas, squares, artists’ studios, a library and a bookstore, make the MOCAK a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. For this reason, MOCAK has won several important international awards and recognitions.
MOCAK was inaugurated on 19 May 2011, under the name of Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków, and has quickly become one of the most important cultural centers in the city, dedicated to Polish and international contemporary art. It hosts interesting temporary and permanent exhibitions of the best Polish contemporary artists, as well as some exhibitions and events dedicated to the best of world contemporary art.
Visit to the MOCAK in Krakow: What to Expect
The MOCAK boasts an exhibition area of approximately 10,000 square meters. Its collection of contemporary works of art is the most important in Poland, and boasts over 5,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations, by over 300 Polish and international artists. It is certainly one of the most interesting collections of Polish contemporary art, and this is the reason why several of his works are on loan to some of the most important museums in the world.
Most of the most significant works in the collection are exhibited in the MOCAK, alongside a selection of temporary exhibitions. The works on display at MOCAK are in constant rotation, so that by visiting the museum regularly you will always be able to admire different works.
The MOCAK consists of two main buildings. The largest (Building A) is on two floors and hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions, while the smaller (Building B) houses the MOCAK Library. The rest of the museum houses visitor services, administrative offices, the rooms where the works not on display are kept, the Bookstore and the MOCAK Café.
The visit starts from Building A, the main building. On the ground floor are the permanent exhibitions, with works by local and national artists. The exhibition boasts numerous works by local artists, mainly post-modernist art. Great emphasis is given to new artists, while some spaces are dedicated to the works of foreign artists. However, the exhibition is quite interesting for contemporary art lovers, who will be able to discover new and not at all obvious artists here.
On the upper floor, on the other hand, there are temporary exhibitions. The MOCAK boasts a wide choice of temporary exhibitions, usually at least 10-15 are organized a year. The exhibits span a variety of themes, from the most abstract to the topical, including music, history, religion, architecture and photography.
In Building B you will find the MOCAK Library, which houses an interesting collection of documents, magazines and books on contemporary art and humanities. The works are mainly in Polish, but the collection also includes several works in English. One section is dedicated to the collection of the Mieczysław Porębski’s Library, donated to the museum by Porębski, Poland’s most prominent art historian. This is an important collection dedicated to art and science, mainly from the Mediterranean, with books from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and even Russia. The MOCAK Library also has a reading room and a small café. The MOCAK Bookstore has a large selection of books and monographs dedicated to contemporary art, collection and exhibition catalogs and manuals.
MOCAK Tickets and Opening Hours
The MOCAK is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00 to 19.00, on Friday it closes at 20.00. You can find the program of temporary exhibitions here.
MOCAK Tickets Price is 20 PLN (Reduced 10 PLN).
MOCAK also organizes guided tours of the collection at the additional price of 140 PLN (in Polish) or 170 PLN (in English, French, Ukrainian or Russian).
Admission to MOCAK is free with the City Pass Krakow Card.
How to Get to the MOCAK
You can access MOCAK from the entrance located at Ul. Lipowa 4, approximately 2.5 km from Krakow Main Square. The MOCAK is located right next to Schindler’s Factory, so it will be easy for you to see it.
You can get there in about 30 minutes on foot from Krakow Old Town, otherwise you can go there by tram. Trams 3, 19 and 24 stop at Plac Bohaterów Getta, while trams 6, 11, 13 and 23 stop at ul. Limanowskiego. Both stops are located in what was once the Krakow Ghetto, from Plac Bohaterów Getta you can get to MOCAK in less than 5 minutes. The tram stop at ul. Limanowskiego is located about 100 meters from Plac Bohaterów Getta.
With the City Pass Krakow Card you can have unlimited free travel on trams and buses in Krakow, as well as free admission to MOCAK and the 40 main Krakow Museums.
Useful Tips for Your Trip to Krakow
Planning your trip to Krakow? These are our in-depth guides with everything you need to know to plan an amazing trip to Krakow:
- The Ultimate Guide to the Best Museums in Krakow
- Krakow Travel Guide: Things to do in and around Krakow
- All You Need to Know Before Going to Krakow (Best Tips for Planning Your Trip)
Photo Courtesy: Mocak, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.