The Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art was opened on October 20th 1965.

However, Museum activities began as early as 1958, when an act brought by the Cultural Council of the Peoples’ Committee of Belgrade established the Modern Gallery, an institution the purpose of which was to supervise the development of contemporary art in Yugoslavia. The Executive Council of the Socialist Republic of Serbia decided to construct a building which would live up to the standards of modern museological principles, and allots a location for it in New Belgrade, at the Sava-Danube junction, across the Belgrade Fortress.

An open competition for the project of new building was announced in 1960. Architects Ivan Antić and Ivanka Raspopović won the competition with a project for which they would later, namely at the opening ceremony of the Museum, be awarded the October Prize of the City of Belgrade for Architecture. After the construction of the new building was completed, the Council of the Modern Gallery passes a new name for the institution – the Museum of Contemporary Art. The first director of the Museum was Miodrag B. Protić. The theoretical and practical experiences of the most distinguished international museums of modern and contemporary art were taken into consideration in the process of the creation of Museum’s guiding work principles.

Museum’s founder and its first director was Miodrag B. Protić, a painter and the author of many significant exhibitions, books and texts concerning the history of modern Yugoslav and Serbian art. The other directors of the Museum were: Marija Pušić (1980–1984), Kosta Bogdanović (acting director, 1984–1986), Zoran Gavrić (1986–1993), Radisav Trkulja (1993–2001), Branislava Andjelković Dimitrijević (2001–2013),Vladislav Šćepanović (acting director, 2013–2014), Jovan Despotović (acting director, 2014–2015), Slobodan Nakarada (acting director, 2015–2020), Viktor Kiš (acting director, 2020–2021) and Marijana Kolarić (2021–).