Belgrade’s variety of art galleries and museumsoffer a window into Serbia’s history, culture, and identity. Medieval Serbian art was dominated by Byzantine influences and primarily expressed the religious themes of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The 19th century witnessed a revival in Serbian art, which was influenced by major Western movements such as Romanticism, and avant-garde movements like Cubism in the 20th century. Serbia’s dynamic contemporary art scene is now represented by a variety of galleries across the capital.
Founded in 2010 through the donations of cultural philanthropist Madlena Zepter, the Zepter Museumis Serbia’s first private art museum. Located in a distinctive 1920s building in the heart of Belgrade, the museum houses a collection of over 400 works which represent art in Serbia from the second half of the 20th century up to the present day. The collection showcases a wide variety of styles, ranging from abstract expressionism to Pop Art to the most current expressions of conceptual and post-conceptual art, and also displays the works of professors and students from the Belgrade Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts and the Novi Sad Art Academy. The museum functions as a cultural center with a variety of events throughout the year.
O3ONE is more than a gallery – it’s an art space which exhibits contemporary works by Serbian artists and also a ‘communication project’ which seeks to create and promote ideas at the intersection of art, technology and science. It consists of three zones, Art3ONE, Eko3ONE and Open3ONE, which represent arts, technology and science and education through the arts respectively, and the ways in which all three interact. The project takes a philosophical approach to cultural production and consumption and asks how contemporary art shapes cultural, social and political policies which in turn shape popular perceptions of the world.
Nina Galić Sculptures | Courtesy of Remont Gallery
Founded in 1965, the Museum of Contemporary Art seeks to showcase the main artists and movements in Yugoslav, Serbian and international 20th century art. The main collection is comprised of 8000 artworks (including painting, sculpture, prints, drawings and new art media) created in the Yugoslav region between 1900 and 1991, while the renowned Salon, founded in 1961, reflects the latest art trends and exhibits work by younger, up-and-coming domestic and foreign artists. Two other galleries in separate locations, the Petar Dobrović Gallery and the Čolaković Legacy, also form part of the Museum.
The gallery associated with the Remont Independent Art Association of art historians and artists opened in 2000 and exhibits pieces by young and emerging Serbian artists working in a variety of media, from photography and sculpture to conceptual art. The gallery is one of Belgrade’s most popular venues for contemporary art, and serves as a local meeting place for artists and culture enthusiasts. It focuses on showcasing innovative artistic practices and is committed to fostering regional and international cultural cooperation. Remont Gallery, Maršala Birjuzova 7, Belgrade, Serbia, + 381 11 32 23 406
Founded in 1919 by a group of artists and sculptors, the Association of Fine Artists (ULUS) created the first arts council at the Ministry of Education and founded the first universal organization for Yugloslav artists, extending invitations to all artists working in the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Today the ULUS Gallery holds ongoing exhibitions of work by both younger and more established artists covering many aspects of Serbian contemporary art (painting, sculpture, photography). ULUS, Umetnički paviljon “Cvijeta Zuzorić”, Mali Kalemegdan 1, Belgrade, Serbia, +381 11 262 15 85
The Cultural Centre Grad (KC Grad) was founded in 2009 as a joint Serbian-Dutch initiative to provide a space for culture and debate. The Centre is located in a converted warehouse in the old industrial area of Savamala near the Sava river, now an up-and-coming area undergoing an artistic renaissance. The Centre is a self-declared “multi-functional space” which hosts exhibitions, debates, lectures and workshops in addition to showcasing art, which tends towards the unconventional and avant-garde.
Founded in 1968, Belgrade’s Student Cultural Centre(SKC) has played a pivotal role in the Belgrade cultural scene as the place where artists such as Marina Abramović got their start. It came to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s with its festivals of expanded media, and with the establishment of art workshops and various research groups. Today, the SKC gallery exhibits a wide variety of visual arts (painting, graphic design and sculpture) by Serbian artists while performance art, plays, concerts and exhibitions are staged throughout the centre.
As suggested by its name, the Museum of Applied Art is dedicated not to paintings but to objects reflecting everyday life and originating mainly in Serbia, Central and Western Europe and the Middle East. The collections consist of over 37, 000 objects (with the oldest dating back to Ancient Greece), including metals, coins and jewellery, costumes, textiles, wood and period furniture, graphics, book illustrations, ceramics, porcelain, glass, architecture, urbanism and contemporary applied art. The Museum also holds numerous annual exhibitions on themes related to applied art and design.
The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts was founded in the 1970s to present thematic and retrospective exhibitions on art, culture and science and to display the art objects owned by the Academy. In addition it also serves as a venue for concerts, lectures and films. Located the cultural heart of old Belgrade, the gallery is Serbia’s most visited. In recent years exhibitions have been held on subjects ranging from the ancient Balkan culture of Lepenski Vir to Nikola Tesla, while the art collection covers the period from the 19th to the 21st century.
Already featured in our article on Belgrade’s best museums, the National Museum deserves another mention in this list for its Gallery of Frescoes and its impressive collection of 18th – 20th century Serbian painting and sculpture. The frescoes, copied from ancient monastic complexes such as those in Studenica and Sopoćani, represent the pinnacle of Serbian Byzantine mediaeval art. Artists closer to the modern period are represented by the likes of painter Paja Jovanović and renowned sculptors Ivan Meštrović and Toma Rosandić.