You may not be familiar with the name Josef Koudelka, but there is a very good chance you will know his work. And we’re all sure to see a lot more of it as the August anniversary of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia draws nearer. Koudelka’s striking black-and-white shots of tanks in the centre of Prague and other images from that turbulent period are regarded as some of the most important works of photojournalism of the 20th century.
A major new exhibition entitled “Biedermeier Art and Culture in the Czech Lands, 1818 to 1848” has just got underway at Prague Castle. Indeed, organisers are saying it could well be the Castle’s biggest show of the year. The term Biedermeier takes in literature, painting and even life-style, though it is most closely identified with elegant furniture which was made for central Europe’s emerging middle classes in the first half of the 19th century. Kateřina Horníčková of Prague Castle’s culture section told me a bit about the phenomenon of Biedemeier,
Anyone familiar with Czech photography in recent years will have come across the name of Adolf Zika – highly respected in the world of fashion for his commercial and artistic photographs. At 36, Zika has represented the Leica Gallery in France, has shot campaigns for major brand-name clients and done shoots for glossy magazines including Playboy.
This Tuesday sees the opening of a new exhibition at Prague’s Jaroslav Fragner gallery featuring the work of renowned Czech architect Martin Rajniš. He is one of the co-authors of the famous Máj building, now Tesco, on Prague’s Narodní Street as well as the architect who designed a famous wood and glass post office, on the Czech Republic’s Sněžka Mountain. Increasingly, the architect has focused on the incorporation of natural materials. The aim of exhibition, in many ways, is to show visitors they don’t have to accept the status quo.
The Czech and American governments have reached a deal under which a US radar base would be based in central Bohemia. With most Czechs opposed to the project, Prague’s American Center, part of the U.S. Embassy, has launched a photo exhibition entitled “Life with the Radar”. It documents life on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which hosts the radar facility that could one day be moved to the Czech Republic. Radio Prague talked to Miroslav Konvalina, the head of the American Center and a former Czech Radio correspondent in the United
Meda Mládková is a Czech art collector who spent more than half of her life in exile, mostly in the United States. In 1968 she established a collection of Czech art which she brought to the US from behind the Iron Curtain. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Meda Mládková returned to Czechoslovakia and donated her entire collection to the country. I met Mrs Mládková in her museum on Prague’s Kampa Island and started by asking how she became involved in art collecting in the first place:
It is exactly 50 years since Czechoslovakia’s great triumph at the world Expo exhibition in Brussels, at which the country won the best pavilion award and many Czech and Slovak artists received special prizes. To recall the Czechoslovak success at Expo 1958, the City Gallery of Prague this week opened an exhibition entitled “Brussels Dream”. It aims to recreate the famous Czechoslovak exhibition with authentic objects from Expo 58. It also reflects the lifestyle of the early 1960s, marked by the rise of popular culture and affected by the so-called
It is just under a month ago that some of the country’s most prominent artists and art critics sent a letter to the government calling for a change at the top of the National Gallery. Its signatories accused Milan Knížák, who has been the head of the gallery since 1999, of economic mismanagement, and leading the gallery, and by extension the Czech art world, into isolation. On Tuesday, Mr Knížák reacted to the petition calling for his removal.