When Croatian artists Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić ended their romance in 2003, they were left with ordinary, seemingly insignificant items they’d shared that had meaning only to them. So they did what artists do: They turned them into art.
Along with pieces donated from friends’ failed love affairs, they toured their art show in 25 cities, and in 2010 the pair opened the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb. Last month, in the building that once housed the lingerie shop Frederick’s of Hollywood, a permanent American branch of the museum opened, offering 105 souvenirs of heartbreak.
“It's almost like we don't choose these things, they kind of choose us,” says museum director Alexis Hyde, “these totems that get organically created in these relationships."
Though the museum sits on the same block as less-than-elegant boutiques like Souvenir Land and Chateau Denim, it has all the understated trappings of a classic gallery. Stark white walls, polished concrete floors, recessed lighting. The air is cool and people whisper. It’s a far cry from the old Frederick’s days when lace-clad mannequins lined the floor, though it’s somehow appropriate.