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Contemporary Art: Ivan Fijolić

…y, the statue was a world-renowned sight in Mostar’s Zrinski Park in 2005 before being removed due to the threat of vandalism. A pink replica of the sculpture, resembling a huge plastic toy, has subsequently been exhibited in galleries throughout Croatia and beyond. Fijolić’s subsequent works have continued in the vein of three-dimensional pop art – Jesus Christ Show Off (2010) is a muscle-bound messiah that looks like a comic-book hero wit…

Sveta Srca

Built for the Jesuits in 1908 but used as a warehouse after World War II, the Church of the Sacred Heart was renovated in 2010-11 to become one of Croatia’s most spectacular and prestigious exhibition spaces for high-profile temporary shows. Now run by the Istrian Archeology Museum, the stunning light-filled interior plays host to a rich menu of special-interest history exhibitions, contemporary art installations and other cultural events….

Summer 11am-2pm & 5-9pm Tue-Sun; Winter 11am-7pm Tue-Sun
Sv Ivana 1 More info
© Pula Film Festival

Istria: Pula

…tion. For shopping, culture or arrival by air, Pula is the place. The city’s growing status as a happening focus of the arts has been enhanced thanks to two recently opened exhibition spaces: the spectacularly renovated former church of Sveta Srca; and the ramshackle but promising Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria. The Pula Film Festival in July continues to be the biggest show in town, although the city has been catapulted into the music-fest…

Zagreb: Shopping

…re’s the Centar Kaptol and the Cvjetni Centar, located along the city centre’s lively pavement-café strip. South of the Sava, Avenue Mall, is as big an attraction to locals as the Museum of Contemporary Art opposite but the biggest and most popular is Arena Centar home to numerous fashion brands and Croatia’s first and only 3D IMAX, 4DX and Gold Class screens (tram 7 or 14 from the centre).  For books, try Algoritam or Profil Megastore, at…

© Galerija Dulcic Masle Pulitika

Dulčić, Masle, Pulitika Gallery

While the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik focuses on the new and the global, its sister operation the DMP named after renowned modern artists concentrates on important figures from the last 200 years. The two-storey gallery owns more than 2,200 pieces but only a fraction are on show. On the top floor, the most important artist is well represented: Vlaho Bukovac. His landscapes are of value but it’s his portraits that shine, often with a def…

10am-8pm Tue-Sun
Poljana Marina Držića 1 More info
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Places: Hotel Lone

…a building is a headline-grabber whichever way you look at it – as a state-of-the-art spa retreat, a bold piece of architecture, or an exemplary exercise in interior design. The Lone is also remarkable in that it was conceived right from the outset as a specifically Croatian showpiece: the building itself was entrusted to award-winning Zagreb architects 3LHD, who then engaged a team of local designers and artists to handle the interior details….

Film: Igor Mirković

…irković’s Sretno Dijete (“Happy Child”; 2003), a nostalgic documentary about the legendary Zagreb New Wave scene of the early 1980s, beat locally made features to become the most watched Croatian-made film of that year. LA Nedovršeno (“LA Unfinished”; 2008) is an object lesson in how to make a stylish, informative and entertaining documentary about contemporary art, following painter Lovro Artuković as he labours to complete one of his larger can…

Grey Area

Brainchild of artist and curator Darko Fritz, The Grey Area (Siva Zona) is an innovative and challenging contemporary art gallery that occupies a three-storey stone house on the seafront promenade. Only part of the building looks like a white-cube gallery – the rest still looks like a residential property which the inhabitants have only recently vacated. Each summer artists are invited to the house to set up a site-specific exhibition, whether i…

June-Sept 9pm-10pm daily
Ul. Biskupa Luke Tolentića 6 More info

Lesser-known neighbourhoods

…With a name that means something like ‘Cherryville’ (trešnja is Croatian for cherry), Trešnjevka is often referred to as ‘Red Trešnjevka’ – a reference both to its suburban fruit-orchard origins and its strong socialist traditions. For a city in the constant throes of change, gritty, mixed-up Trešnjevka arguably represents contemporary Zagreb at its most typical. Tram Nos.3, 9 and 12 rattle their way from Cibona along Tratinska, whic…

© Igor Hofbauer

Igor Hofbauer

If Zagreb had a recognisable look, then the work of Igor Hofbauer would form one of its key ingredients. The graphic artist’s instantly recognisable posters, flyers and programmes for alternative rock club Močvara have become ubiquitous elements of the city’s street-level identity. Hofbauer’s style mixes film noir, fifties’ Sci-Fi, Russian constructivism and the gritty cityscapes of suburban Zagreb to create a seductive urban aesthetic. As well…

Art Lounge Bar Closed

Bringing the outdoors indoors is one way of describing this enormous space. In effect, it’s a courtyard, with parts of the buildings that used to face it used as extra gallery space, The overall effect is impressive. From the orange-themed upper floors you can sit and enjoy your coffee or cocktail looking through the chrome railings over the ground-floor tables. From the ceilinged courtyard, you can sip while gazing up at flower-decked bal…

8am-midnight Mon-Sat; 10am-2am Sun
Šubićeva 3 More info

Croatian Art Photo Club

CroArt is part photo exhibition space and part café. Leather couches are set among display cases of old cameras (the door handle is also shaped like a camera), while each of the tables serves as glass-topped photo exhibit. It’s a popular downtown coffee-drinking spot in the daytime; wine, rakija and Fischer’s on tap take over come the evening. Photo exhibitions – hung around the open, brick-walled front room – change every two or thr…

8am-11pm Mon-Sat
Gajeva 25 More info