Prague City Gallery showcases recent purchases in 'No Art Today?'

Works acquired by the city during the last four years include purchases made to support artists living during the pandemic.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 06.10.2021 12:52:00 (updated on 06.10.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

The new exhibition No Art Today? showcases works of art purchased by the Prague City Gallery (GHMP) since 2017. The show includes artworks purchased by the gallery with funds that Prague City Hall earmarked to support artists during the Covid pandemic.

Over the past four years, GHMP management and curators have added both contemporary works and pieces from the second half of the 20th century that fill in gaps in the collections.

These works are the source of No Art Today?, which will also include an accompanying educational program. The main part of the show will run from Oct. 6, 2021, to Jan. 30, 2022, in the gallery on the second floor of the Municipal Library (Městská knihovna). A second part will start Nov. 16 at the House of Photography (Dům fotografie).

‘Opakující se otázky’ by Lenka Vítková. (Photo: GMPH)
‘Opakující se otázky’ by Lenka Vítková. (Photo: GMPH)

“Last year, the capital sent an additional CZK 10 million from its budget to support contemporary artists. Some of these funds were directed by the Prague City Gallery to art in public spaces, while the larger part was used to acquire works that were previously beyond its financial means,” City Councilor Hana Třeštíková, responsible for culture and tourism, said in a press release.

“I look forward to the curatorial selection of newly acquired works of the young generation and established artists, and I cordially invite everyone to visit the additions that have not yet been exhibited,” Třeštíková added.

The exhibition is in several thematic units. Most of the presentation of the new collection will take place in the exhibition halls of the Municipal Library, where a broad range of art movements from the 1960s to the present will be presented. The themes of abstract shape and text variations in various media will be seen in a section dominated by monumental sculptural realizations by Jiří Příhoda and Magdalena Jetelová.

“The generous installation in the Municipal Library is not very reminiscent of an exhibition of acquisitions – it is rather an advanced probe into the current art scene. In smaller units, it indicates important topics that are addressed by the exhibiting authors, which are complemented by several works of Czech art from the 20th century,” GHMP chief curator Helena Musilová said.

“It is also worth mentioning the inventive architectural solution, which connects the separate author's individualities into an integral whole,” she added.

Other themes are explored through audiovisual installations. Some works that were realized within the GHMP exhibition program for young artists called Start Up are also represented here. An internationally acclaimed cycle of Anna Daučíková's videos has a special place in the field of new media.

'Pocta Cindy Sherman II' by Tomáš Smetana. (Photo: GHMP)
'Pocta Cindy Sherman II' by Tomáš Smetana. (Photo: GHMP)

The other part of the exhibition is oriented toward figurative depiction, focusing particularly on topics of society, physicality, and gender. These works show the position of an individual in the context of their time, through large-format paintings, sculptural installations, and moving images.

A select group of works with a purely conceptual and performative focus was separated from the section of Czech action art and has been supplemented by similarly focused works from the Slovak neo-avant garde. This part of the collection will be shown at the House of Photography starting Nov. 16.

"Thanks to the regular budget determined by the founder – the capital city of Prague – for the expansion of art collections, the Prague City Gallery, as one of the city's few public galleries, has been able to systematically supplement the collections in its care for seven years,” GHMP director Magdalena Juříková said.

“Special thanks go to Councilor Hana Třeštíková, who last year initiated the allocation of extraordinary investments of CZK 6 million for the purchase of works from living artists to support them through direct purchases from their studios in the difficult situation caused by the pandemic,” she added.

Prague City Gallery was established in 1963 and currently has seven locations: Bílkova vila, Colloredo-Mansfeldský palác, the House of Photography, the House at the Stone Bell, František Bílekʼs House in Chýnov, the second floor of the Municipal Library, and Troja Chateau. The gallery is also responsible for maintaining much of the public art in the city, including the statues on Charles Bridge.

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