Written by Elizabeth A. Haas
Following is a look at some of the must-see exhibits currently on display in Prague galleries.
For more exhibitions at Prague galleries and museums, check out our event listings:
It´s easy to find beauty in the cathedrals and spires of European cities. Landmarks and museums tended to postcard perfection for the benefit of roaming tourists; historical cafes peddling their sweet bounty in living color; majestic statues on every corner, always angling for a close-up. But the 190 photos that make up the Jindřich Štreit Retrospective at City Gallery Prague document village life, and though his frank images are turned out in black and white, they are often more colorful and alive than any painting. The prolific photographer got his start in the 70´s, shooting villages in the Czech Republic, but has since trained his camera on villages in numerous locales: France, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Russia. In the early 90´s he expanded his repertoire to include Romania and Asian countries as well. The exhibit spans an award-winning career of 30-plus years, with a handful of works making their first public debut. Capturing a world of hard work, winter coats, and unadorned emotion—usually a frank, startling joy that seems out of place in such bleak settings—the photographer is a masterful storyteller. Here Štreit implores us to savor the grotesque, heartbreaking beauty of humankind, making it difficult to look away.
Jindřich Štreit Retrospective
City Gallery Prague (The Stone Bell House), Old Town square 13.
Open daily from 10:00-18:00, 120 CZK.
America the Uncertain
The states of the U.S. are uncertain and there many. One of those states is skepticism—American political culture is currently viewed with raised eyebrows and shaking heads from abroad. But within the framework of the country´s many, often alarming, states, 40-some young artists from its States—and a few of its expats—are drawing on a number of materials, techniques, and concepts to give American art a new scope. Their paintings, photos, sculptures, videos, and installations are on view at the Galerie Rudolfinum beginning this month in a new exhibit, Uncertain States of America (American Art in the 3rd Millenium). The exhibit has been to New York, London, Reykjavik, Moscow, Denmark, and Warsaw, with curators modifying its installation to suit each city´s unique venue. A special version of the project is planned for Prague, and in a highly po-mo twist, artist information will be available to gallery goers via their mobile phones. Artists to watch: Frankfurt-based American installation artist Mike Bouchet, and performance/video artist Miranda July, who´s film “Me, You, and Everyone We Know” cleaned up at film festivals a couple of years ago.
Uncertain States of America
(American Art in the 3rd Millenium)
Galerie Rudolfinum, Alšovo nábřeží 12.
Open daily from 10:00-18:00, 100 CZK.
The Jiři Svestka Gallery has made a name for itself—and its artists—in Prague and elsewhere. Promoting international modern and contemporary art both at home and abroad, it has played a significant role in introducing young Czech artists to the world at large. Those who consider the Prague art scene a bit on the sleepy side likely haven´t stepped into this gallery space older avante-garde schools (the cubist paintings of Czech artist Emil Filla are in the permanent collection) share space with contemporary installations. Early this month the gallery presents Jarg Geismar´s “Nothing fits, everything goes” the Swedish artist´s take on society´s inability to explore the periphery; followed by “Second Time (is better)” an exhibit that features the probing visuals of Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi; and Polish painter Rafal Bujnowski´s “Lamp Black” (both starting from 14.12).
Jiři Svestka Gallery
Biskupsky dvur 6.
Open Tue-Fri, 12.00-18:00; Sat 11.00 a.m. – 18.00, and by appointment.