The 54th Venice Biennale is less than a month away and the installation representing the Czech and Slovak arts scenes at the national pavilion is now en route. Created by Czech artist Dominik Lang and entitled The Sleeping City, the instalation aims to challenge international viewers to experience, assess, or revisit on an intuitive and emotional level recent Czechoslovak and European history, from the Cold War to today.
A selection committee seeking a new general director of the National Gallery has recommended economist Vladimír Rösel to the post, the Czech Press Agency reports. The final decision will rest on Minister of Culture Jiří Besser, who received the ten-member committee’s proposal on Friday morning; a decision on who is to run the institution is expected in the coming days. The committee has reportedly weighed five candidates to replace the outgoing director, well-known public figure Milan Knížák, among them art historian Jiří Fajt and the director of the Moravian Gallery Marek Pokorný. The new director of the National Gallery is to be named by June 1.
A unique show on at Prague’s Mánes Gallery is continuing to attract visitors like no other, the latest collaboration between respected artist and performer Petr Nikl and dozens of contributing artists from around the world. Called PLAY, the show invites visitors of all ages, from children to seniors to complete, destroy, co-author or interact with existing installations, which range from musical sculptures to piles of found objects that can be arranged and rearranged anyway you like. Radio Prague caught up with the artist earlier this week and takes
Prague’s National Gallery, one of the country’s most respected cultural institutions which includes a number of venues including Veletržní palace, has, along with other state-funded organisations, been told by the austerity government to save 15 percent of its budget next year. The cuts, following the earlier financial crisis, are expected to hit the gallery hard. While some steps have already been taken – a reduction in the number of exhibitions, a cutting back on acquisitions, a lowering of the number of staff – it is not likely to be enough.
Thursday marked the 92nd anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, and as always on that day a group of outstanding figures received the country’s highest honours. This year, President Václav Klaus bestowed medals upon 22 men and women, among them heroes of the Second World War and accomplished individuals from the worlds of science, sports and culture.
Many of the most famous artists of the 20th century will be in Prague as of Wednesday, vicariously through their artworks that is, as the National Gallery opens a major new exhibition called Monet – Warhol, showcasing masterpieces from the Albertina Museum in Vienna. The collection of 80 paintings merely begins with Monet and ends with Andy Warhol, with multiple works by Matisse, Magritte, Kandinsky and many more found in between. Taking famous collections on loan from abroad has not been a common trend in the National Gallery and I asked its director
The hedonism of today’s wealthy young Russians is the focus of an exhibition of photographs by Antonín Kratochvíl which has just opened at Prague’s Mánes gallery. In Moscow Nights, he captures scenes of decadence as the city’s “golden youth” cavort in night clubs and even on Stalin’s old yacht. Just ahead of the show’s opening, I asked the great Czech photographer what had drawn him to that subject.
Monday night will see the opening of Prague Photo Fair. Until the end of the week, the Mánes Exhibition Hall will present a wide range of photographers, galleries and art schools from Central Europe. For the first time this year, the Prague Photo Fair is part of a larger event – the Prague Photo Festival - that will be held simultaneously at twelve venues in Prague. Tomáš Hájek is the event coordinator:
Milan Knížák will next year step down as the head of the Czech National Gallery after over a decade in the job. He is leaving the post on agreement with the minister of culture, Václav Riedlbauch, a spokesperson for his ministry told reporters. Mr Knížák, who is himself a visual artist, is a controversial figure who has frequently been embroiled in disputes over his views on art and politics.
A recent opinion poll suggested that a majority of Czechs are so far satisfied with their government’s running of the EU presidency one month on – even its handling of the gas crisis and the conflict in Gaza. But one area the government apparently mishandled was its commissioning of artist David Černý’s Entropa, the controversial art work which surprised Europe when it was unveiled in Brussels roughly three weeks ago. Even now, it is apparent the work will not soon be forgotten. But was it appropriate? The artist and colleagues duped the Czech government