BY JULIE GRAY
Bloomington has a new, quirky distinction. It’s featured prominently in a recently published book, The Museum of Broken Relationships (Grand Central Publishing, 2017), which contains photos of objects from a museum of the same name.
The museum, with branches in Los Angeles and Zagreb, Croatia, has its roots in an art project conceived by former lovers Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić. In 2006, the two created an installation of 40 everyday objects that symbolize the “frail ruins” of love affairs. Since then, they have received thousands of anonymous submissions from broken-hearted lovers worldwide. Each memento, ranging from a motorcycle sprocket to a wedding dress in a jar, is accompanied by a story.
Five unnamed Bloomingtonians have objects featured in the book. And although many of the museum’s objects are poignant, sometimes even painful, reminders of death and loss, those from Bloomington tend toward the humorous. One local, for example, submitted a package of Russian condoms, a gift from his (now former) girlfriend. He added, however, “Haven’t used them with her, nor with anyone else since.” Another submitted a can of love incense with the tersely wry epigraph: “Doesn’t work.”
The Hoosier artifacts take their place among 203 beautifully photographed objects. Thumbing through the handsome book is truly, as Vištica writes in the introduction, “a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.” Because we humans, she notes, are “almost always ready to give love a new chance.”