Forty inhabitants of the village of Líšeň on the outskirts of Brno receive instructions before they get off the bus at the Berlin Wall to take part in the annual Biennial of Art. Near the wall are exact copies of fences they have in their backyards at home. In a while they’ll be climbing over to meet their neighbours. For many of them, it will be the first time they’ll shake hands or talk to each other. The person who brought them together is the Czech artist Kateřina Šedá. When we met in Prague, I ask her where she got this idea in the first
Hundreds of cameras flashed on Thursday when seven representatives of church and state, including President Václav Klaus, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and Prague Archbishop Miloslav Vlk gathered in Prague’s St Vitus cathedral to unlock the chamber in which the Czech crown jewels are stored. The chamber only opens when all seven keepers of the keys unlock seven different locks at the same time. The crown jewels were then taken to Prague Castle’s Vladislav Hall, the traditional site of the coronation of kings, where they will be put on display for
Werich’s villa in Prague’s Kampa Park, once home of the famous Czech actor Jan Werich, will open its door to the public next year. The villa has been uninhabited and falling apart for years, but all the previous attempts to lease it fell through. The city council this week finally rent it to Meda Mládková, head of the nearby Kampa Museum, for the next 40 years. After renovations it will serve as a cultural space for screenings, debates and performances. I spoke to Mrs Mládková earlier and began by asking her a bit about the site’s history.
Hundreds of people used the opportunity on Tuesday to browse the collections of the Czech National Museum for free. The country’s biggest museum has opened its doors to the public to celebrate its 190th anniversary, which falls on the 15th of April. It’s also holding a series of other events to mark its birthday. But most of all it is getting ready for a major renovation project, that will get under way in three years’ time.
Alphonse Mucha’s Art Nouveau paintings are among the most instantly recognisable works in Czech art. He himself considered the Slav Epic, a series of huge paintings depicting the history of the Slav peoples, his greatest achievement, though it has not had the happiest of fates. Mucha donated it to Prague in 1928, on condition that the city build it a dedicated home. Eighty years later, his grandson John Mucha says he is at a loss as to why the artist’s wish has still not been fulfilled.
One community that’s borne the brunt of skinhead attacks are the country’s Romanies, 250,000 of whom live in a state of uneasy cohabitation with their white neighbours. Romanies make up half of the three dozen people killed in racially-motivated attacks since the fall of communism. April 8th is International Roma Day, which was first marked in 1971 and has been celebrated here in the Czech Republic since 1990. We spoke to Ivan Vesely, head of the Roma organisation Dzeno.
The police seized eight paintings on Friday belonging to the fugitive businessman Radovan Křejčíř which were to be sold at an auction. If sold, the eight works by renowned Czech modernist painters Jan Zrzavý and Václav Špála could go at an estimated 80 million crowns, or more than 5 million U.S. dollars. Fugitive Radovan Křejčíř is wanted in the Czech Republic for a number of crimes including conspiracy to murder, counterfeiting and extortion. Mr Křejčíř ran away in 2005 and is currently living in South Africa with his family.
Czech media may in the future face fines for running drastic photos. The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a Czech tabloid paper which printed in 2006 a picture of a young man who died in a car crash had to pay 100,000 crowns, or more than 6,200 U.S. dollars, to his family. The court said that the publication of such photos interferes with the family’s privacy.
It’s not everyday you are given a budget of 10 million crowns (624,000 USD) and told to spend it all. But that’s exactly what a group of Czech art experts were ordered to do by the government on Tuesday, in a bid to bring home some of the Czech Republic’s lost art treasures. Christie’s auction house in Amsterdam was putting more than 400 items from the Liechtenstein family’s art collection under the hammer. Many of these items had once hung on the walls of Czech chateaux. And following the sale, that’s where many of them will be finding themselves
This sort of music may not make for the easiest of listening, and the title of the song ‘pal vodsud’ hajzle’ (something like ‘piss off, jerk’), might not sound the most welcoming upon first read. But, it is a good example of Czech new wave rock of the 1980s. The band? Jasná Páka – one of the best known proponents of the new wave in this country, and one of the communist regime’s biggest thorns in the side. Jasná Páka reunited this week for a one-off concert to open a new exhibition at Prague’s Pop Museum called ‘Nová vlna se starým obsahem’ (‘New Wave
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