Exhibit Recap: Museum of Broken Relationships

The Museum of Broken Relationships opened in LA over the weekend. It’s a collection of donated items from individuals all over the world, each symbolizing a broken relationship. Next to each item is their story as the donor sees it. It’s heavy.

Although the majority are about broken relationships with lovers, there are others as well. Broken relationships with parents, with friends, even with their past sense of selves. There is generally a sense of therapeutic release behind each donation; many note it’s the last reminder/momento they’ve been holding on to.

It was a really well done and touching exhibit. J and I read every single story and were moved by many of them. I love how the objects, on their own, are mostly plain things that you’d normally not even notice. However, coupled with their stories, they become powerful symbols imbued with emotion and history. One example that stays in my mind is a nondescript blue blouse, plain and maybe even on the frumpy side. But the woman describes how it was the shirt she wore to the lunch where her husband of 30+ years calmly announced he was leaving her, leaving her in shock as her tears arrived along with her food.

I’m intrigued by those insultingly ironic contrasts too; in the midst of something earth shattering for one person, everyone else’s normal lives keep on going.

I think it was good to go at a time I was happy in my own life, or else it might have been pretty difficult to get through. It’s a very human experience. The only downside is its odd location in the middle of the sensory assault that is Hollywood Blvd. I feel it belongs in a much more quiet and introspective setting.

Here are pictures from the gallery and some of my favorite pieces. The gallery is $18 and the space is small, so it’s really only worth it if you are into these kinds of things (like I am).


Entrance. The folded cranes hanging are actually one of the donated items.

Funded by a law firm partner after he visited the original in Croatia, it is a well designed little space.

Example of a broken relationship with one’s self rather than a lover 😦 I hope I never get to that point. (Sorry if the text is hard to read, basically he bought the toy when he was 25 to remind him to keep the little boy inside alive; now that he is 50 he doesn’t see himself in the toy anymore.)


This was by far the longest and most involved stories. A lot of them were about very long, very dysfunctional relationships.

A confessional area. I didn’t write anything.

This one was about an old man who lost his close group of friends after they won the lotto without him. I think it was just sad at the end, when he notes it’s hard to make good friends again when you’re old 😦

A loved one who is technically still alive, but functionally gone :(((((((

A lot of times it’s the contrast of the heaviness of the story with the lightness of the object that feels compelling.

Probably the one that got to me most.

Thought this captured the mood well, although he’s probably just looking at his phone.

Many happy couples there!

Makes you wonder what you would donate, what you would say. I could definitely empathize with a lot of the emotions on display. I think that is one great benefit of experiencing any type of suffering; it gives you a deeper understanding of and compassion for others and their sufferings. But ultimately I actually like to keep my stories and my objects close. Even the hardest ones have turned out for the better. 
I will say one unfortunate consequence of going through a real heartbreak is, I think, no matter how happy you are later on, you will always feel in the back of your mind that it could happen again. But, that is life, and you can only control your actions and reactions.

Mood. (Studying anatomy is helping so much in building figures without any photo reference!)
Although it was sad, it really actually left me inspired and motivated. People love stories. There’s so much to do.

One thought on “Exhibit Recap: Museum of Broken Relationships

  1. I love the Peter Pan one! It’s a shame that some of us lose the child within us as we grow up… 😦 Really enjoyed these stories, they definitely offer a new perspective for the audience about our own lives!

    Liked by 1 person

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