If artist Josef Čapek is less known to non-Czechs than his younger brother Karel, the writer, that’s all the more reason to visit the new exhibition dedicated to his life and work at the National Library. The show, which opens on Wednesday, commemorates the 125th birthday of the jack of all artistic trades, and recalls the very different fortunes and pursuits of his professional life.
In this edition of our Sunday Music Show, we’ll hear songs inspired by the Czech capital, its beauty, its people and some of the events that took place there. Throughout the centuries, many writers, painters and other artists have been captured by the city’s charm but in our show today, we will listen to songs by foreign artists including Nick Cave, British Sea Power, Slayer, Joaquin Sabina, Vladimir Troshin, and others.
This Friday sees the opening of a new exhibition of new work in glass by Czech, Slovak and Austrian artists. The work is going on view at the Horácká Gallery in Nové Město na Moravě. The work was produced at the AGS Glassworks near Žďár nad Sázavou, located in the Czech-Moravia highlands, at this year’s International Glass Symposium.
They call it the biggest Roma culture festival in the world, and it’s back in Prague for the 14th year. The Khamoro, or World Roma Festival, means nine days of some of the best gypsy bands from all corners of Europe, but also a wide array of cultural and sociological events all aimed at promoting unity and understanding.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the vanguard rock n’ roll band Olympic, and this month the 70th birthday of its founder Petr Janda. Even in the late sixties music critics noted the tremendous impact that Olympic had on Czech pop, or big beat, but probably no one would have guessed that the band would still be playing in the 21st century, or that their Janda would still be on the stage in front of faithful audiences 50 years on.
Hunt Kastner Artworks in Prague 7 is a private gallery owned and run by Camille Hunt, who is Canadian, and Katherine Kastner, who is from the US though her mother is Czech. The two represent 10 Czech artists, among them Eva Koťátková, Josef Bolf and Daniel Pitín. This week I stopped by to talk to the owners about their work, both curating shows and helping their artists find buyers overseas. I first asked Hunt what had led them to open the gallery in the first place.
Our guest on this week’s Sunday Music show is singer and songwriter Tomáš Klus winner of the Singer of the year and Album of the year at the 2011 Andel Awards. Tomáš Klus has best captured the present mood of the Czech nation. In his 2011 hit song "Pánu bohu do oken" he sings about the rotten world of Czech politics asking God what Czechs have done to deserve this.
The company Modernista, which has a shop in the centre of Prague, deals in both original Czech furniture from the first half of the 20th century and replicas it has made under license. Perhaps most notably, Modernista sells and recreates Cubist pieces – including ceramics and clocks – which are unique to this part of the world. Owner Janek Jaros described the business to me when we spoke a few days ago.
American pianist Stephen Beus is one of the star performers at the American spring music festival currently underway in the Czech Republic. The internationally acclaimed musician, who performs with renowned orchestras and gives solo recitals the world over, has been described as a strikingly original, confident and gifted player with a rock-solid technique. On what is his second recital tour in the Czech Republic he visited Radio Prague’s studio and talked about the joy he derives from music, the inspiration he draws from it and the secret behind
Over the last couple of years, art sales in the Czech Republic have seen a decline. But this year is different, and it’s not just the record sale of a František Kupka painting that did the trick. The market now attracts collectors who are ready to look beyond the well-established segment of modern art that has topped sales so far.