Arts, Entertainment & Media

Heartbreak on display: L.A gets it’s own Museum of Broken Relationships

Artifacts of Relationships Past at the Museum in Zagreb. Image: Mariana Des Forges

Artifacts of relationships past at the original museum in Zagreb, Croatia. Image: Mariana Des Forges

A wedding dress stuffed into a pickle jar, a ripped out phone and a transplant caregiver’s handbook.

These are just some of the items that have been donated to a new Museum of Broken Relationships that is set to open in early May on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.

The exhibit houses artifacts donated by members of the public that hold memories and meaning from past, broken or ended relationships.


Barbed Wire Relic at MOBR Zagreb Image: Mariana Des Forges

Barbed Wire Relic. MOBR Zagreb. Image: Mariana Des Forges

Accompanying each relic is the story of the relationship they came from, written by the donor- each story unique, poignant and often surprising.

The accompanying story at MOBR Zagreb Image: Mariana Des Forges

The accompanying story. MOBR Zagreb Image: Mariana Des Forges

The wedding dress donor tells of how she once cherished it but one day her husband told her he ‘probably’ didn’t love her anymore and that he felt stuck in their relationship.

The woman who donated the ripped out phone begins her story by relaying that she ‘fell in love with a junkie’ and the phone was a gift, ripped out of a phone box in Echo Park, L.A.

The idea for a museum of failed relationships and their ruins first came into being in Croatia by artists and ex-couple Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić in 2006.

Lana, who works at the museum gives a little background as to how it started.

The Zagreb museum’s website describes the concept behind it as being:

unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from failed loves. The Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the Museum’s collection.

Whatever the motivation for donating personal belongings – be it sheer exhibitionism, therapeutic relief, or simple curiosity – people embraced the idea of exhibiting their love legacy as a sort of a ritual, a solemn ceremony.

In a TED talk last year, Vištica spoke in detail about the project:

The museum toured as a travelling exhibition and became a permanent fixture in Zagreb, in the city’s Old Town, in 2010.

The exhibition holds donations and artifacts from all over the world.

An Exes Axe: an axe used to chop up the furniture of an ex-lover who found someone else. MOBR Zagreb. Image: Mariana Des Forges

An Exe’s Axe: an axe used to chop up the furniture of an ex-lover who found someone else. MOBR Zagreb. Image: Mariana Des Forges

The West Coast’s exhibition was founded by John B. Quinn, a lawyer in Los Angeles, after visiting the original in Zagreb on a family holiday.

The new museum has been seeking donations and director Alexis Hyde has said that the response has been ‘tremendous’. She commented:

We are receiving between 10 and 20 objects every day from all over. Quite a few have been from Southern California which emphasizes the local support we were hoping for, but we have also been getting them from all across the US and internationally.

The museum has few restrictions on what can be donated, however anything racist, cruel or that compromises anonymity will not be accepted.

When the exhibition opens in May, it will include 100 items from the donations as well as objects from the permanent collection in Europe.

“Love”: accompanied by a poem about a fathers love for his daughter and son. MOBR Zagreb. Image: Mariana Des Forges

The Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles will open early May and will be located on at 6751 Hollywood Boulevard.

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