STA, 1 July 2022 - Mateja Kos Zabel took office as acting director of the National Museum in Ljubljana on Friday after previous director Pavel Car resigned last month over an art forgery scandal.
Appointed by the Culture Ministry, Zabel previously worked as a curator at the museum's history and applied arts department, and headed the programme management organizational unit.
She will serve as acting director up to a year or until a new fully-fledged director is appointed via an open call.
Zabel, who holds a doctorate in art history and museology, has been working at the National Museum since 1985. She specialises in applied arts, and in recent years she has focused on museology and the role of national museums in the context of modern museum studies. She has lectured art history at the Faculty of Arts in Maribor since 2009.
Her in-depth understanding of the domain and leadership experience have yielded results in her long-standing career at the National Museum, during which she has collaborated with many Slovenian and foreign museums, a press release from the Culture Ministry reads.
She headed two European project groups, many of the museum's projects, as well as a research programme. She also co-authored The Past Under the Microscope exhibition, for which she received the Valvasor Award for an outstanding achievement given out by the Museum Association of Slovenia.
Her predecessor Pavel Car resigned after the Travels exhibition, scheduled to display works from the Boljkovac family collection, including purportedly those of Picasso, Matisse, and Kandinsky, was cancelled last minute following a public outcry over serious forgery concerns.
Car stated he stepped down in order to protect the reputation of the museum and its experts, adding that he had been naive in trusting the wrong person to organize the exhibition.