Tagged: hungary

cover of exhibition catalogue

Beyond the 3 Ts: Promote, Tolerate, Ban – Art and Culture in Cold War Hungary

Cristina Cuevas-Wolf and Isotta Poggi, eds., Promote, Tolerate, Ban: Art and Culture in Cold War Hungary (Getty Publications, 2018), 160 PP. 

The curators of the Getty Research Institute and The Wende Museum of the Cold War undertook a difficult task with an exhibition in Los Angeles, entitled Promote, Tolerate, Ban – Art and Culture in Cold War Hungary,(Eastern European regimes operating before 1989 were not, in fact, communist states. In my view, even the ‘state socialist’ adjective is inappropriate for the Kádár regime, especially since the mid-1960s, but the now increasingly common term ‘state capitalism’ is not yet Read more

poster image

Color–blind and Color–coded Racism: Angela Davis, the New Left in Hungary, and “Acting Images”

Race is a social construct based on images of “otherness.” In Eastern Europe, where self–identification relies on “whiteness”(See also: “Historicizing ‘Whiteness’ in Eastern Europe and Russia,” Socialism Goes Global, last modified June 26, 2010, http://socialismgoesglobal.exeter.ac.uk/conferences/.) as a construct, systemic racism along color–codes has been, and still is, experienced as irrelevant, “far away,” and without any actual real impact on society.(Ian Lew, Nikolay Zakharov, “Race and Racism in Eastern Europe: Becoming White, Becoming Western,” in Relating Worlds of Racism. Dehumanisation, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness, eds. Philomena Essed, Karen Farquharson, Kathryn Pillay, Elisa Joy White, Read more

Whose Land, Their Art? Debates over the Tendencies Exhibition Series (1980–81)

Money and Morals Then and Now

While at first glance the Artists’ Unions seem to be fossils of Eastern Europe’s state-socialist past, in fact they are still living with us, in several ways. First of all, they persist in the dream of a political utopia: after the short belle époque of welfare states, the current precarization of the cultural sector—especially affected by the COVID-19 crisis—provokes debates on the possibility of cultural workers’ unionization even in Eastern Europe. Secondly, while new institutions emerged after the political transition of 1989, the Artists’ Unions did not completely lose their importance as integrators of … Read more

Installation view

Mattis Teutsch: Avant-Garde and Constructive Realism

Mattis Teutsch: Avant-Garde and Constructive Realism, Scena9, Bucharest, September 12, 2019 – October 25, 2019

János Mattis Teutsch, the Hungarian-German-Romanian painter from Brașov, was characterised in 1920 as “the first who has the audacity to present to the Romanian public works in an expressionist style.” (Sigmund Maur, Rampa newspaper, October 21, 1920.) Mattis Teutsch was associated with the likes of Kandinsky, Marc, and Klee both in actual exhibitions, and in discussions of his artistic and conceptual calibre. His legacy today, however, is something of a battlefield, and the explanation for this lies in the seemingly incongruent bodies of … Read more

Art in Hungary, 1956-1980: Doublespeak and Beyond (Book Review)

Art in Hungary, 1956-1980: Doublespeak and Beyond. Eds. Edit Sasvári, Sándor Hornyik, and Hedvig Turai, London: Thames & Hudson, 2018, 384pp.

This collectively authored volume on Hungarian art under the state socialist regime of János Kádár offers readers a fresh, richly informative, and multifaceted picture of this critical period in Hungary’s post-war artistic culture. More than just an edited collection of individual contributions, it integrates texts by experts on different aspects of Kádár-period (1956-1988) art—specific temporal periods, policy phases, media, artistic modes, institutional spaces, and identities—within an orchestrated design. Following the introduction, seventeen chapters are grouped under four topical … Read more

Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere

Katalin Cseh-Varga and Adam Czirak, Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere: Event-Based Art in Late Socialist Europe (New York: Routledge, 2018), 264 pp.

The compilation of sixteen case studies of performance art in Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere: Event-Based Art in Late Socialist Europe presents a panorama of performative strategies in the context of East, Central, and Southeast Europe. This “site-specific” approach reveals the diverse conditions under which performance art was produced in the region. The editors, Katalin Cseh-Varga and Adam Czirak, avoid suggesting a comparative terminology for East and West; instead of defining their collective volume … Read more

Hungarian Art: Confrontation and Revival in the Modern Movement (Book Review)

Éva Forgács, Hungarian Art: Confrontation and Revival in the Modern Movement (Los Angeles, CA: Doppelhouse Press, 2016), 303 pp.

Hungarian art historian and modernist scholar Éva Forgács has been teaching at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, since 1994. A former curator at the Hungarian Museum of Decorative Arts and visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, she has also been active as a curator and art critic. She has published several books in her native Hungarian and in English, including The Bauhaus Idea and Bauhaus Politics (Central European University Press 1995; Jelenkor 2010), and … Read more

Off-Biennale Budapest: Art Beyond Government Funding?

OFF-Biennale Budapest, April 24-May 31, 2015, 136 venues in Budapest and internationally

OFF-Biennale was the inaugural edition of an art event that mobilized seemingly all of Budapest’s nongovernmental art, semi-art and entirely nonart spaces on both sides of the Danube, to present diverse works by some 200 local and international contemporary artists. Running a month-long marathon of daily exhibition openings and one-time performances in galleries, bars, a hair salon, an electricity factory and numerous outdoor public spaces (April 24 -May 31), the majority of the biennale took place in the Hungarian capital – its contextual home and a city that … Read more

Mladen Miljanović: At the Edge

Mladen Miljanovi?: At the Edge, acb Gallery, Budapest, June 6 – July 17, 2014

At the beginning of his career, Bosnian artist Mladen Miljanovi? prepared ironically toned, but rather serious, plans of attack (Artattack series, 2007) for occupying the great museums of the world. Actually, he painted military symbols on the maps of contemporary art museums and galleries representing how he could occupy their spaces. Of his targets, ironically, Budapest was the last “captured” city, as the artist showcased works in the exhibition spaces of New York, London and Venice before showing in the contemporary art institutions of neighboring … Read more

Performative Approaches to Identity in Contemporary Roma Art

At the 2007 Venice Biennale, and for the first time in the history of the event, art works produced by Romani artists were displayed in the Roma Pavilion. The exhibition for the first Roma Pavilion, entitled Paradise Lost, was curated by cultural activist and art historian Timea Junghaus. Contemporary artists of Roma descent had the chance to engage artistically and politically with their own identity concerns. Junghaus clearly states in the exhibition catalogue: “a new generation of Roma intellectuals and artists is emerging; along with a new Roma consciousness…The Roma Pavilion at the Venice Biennale will be the first, internationally … Read more

Cinema by Other Means at MoCA, Belgrade


The Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade recently presented the exhibition Cinema by Other Means at the ?olakovi? Gallery, their off-site exhibition space. The gallery is named after Rodoljub ?olakovi?, a high-ranking party functionary in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and a man of letters. ?olakovi? wrote the book House of Lament in 1941 under the pen name Rudi R. Bosamac. This book was banned by the royalist authorities in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for its socially critical views and exposé on the situation of political prisoners. ?olakovi? … Read more

Activated Roles of Curating in Hungary

In this interview, Eszter Szakács, a young Hungarian curator, interviews three curators, of different generations, working in Hungary: Hajnalka Somogyi, Adele Eisenstein, and Márton Pacsika. These discussions explore recent changes within the cultural policy of the Hungarian government and, more specifically, how they affect curatorial work.

Adele Eisenstein is a freelance curator based in Budapest, Hungary. She emigrated to Budapest in 1990, where she worked for the Balázs Béla Studio and Toldi Cinema. She was also a curator of the alternative art spaces “Turkish” Bath and Folyamat Galéria in Budapest. She is a former editor of the art journal PraesensRead more

Hungary in Focus: Conservative Politics and Its Impact on the Arts. A Forum

In 2003, Hedvig Turai, Allan Siegel and I put together an overview of diverse aspects of the Hungarian art scene. What gave urgency to providing an update so soon is that within just a few years, the cultural landscape has undergone significant change. Fidesz, the conservative right-wing party, has been in power for three years now in Hungary, gradually transforming the country into an isolationist, ethno-nationalist, authoritarian state not unlike Russia.

Concerning the post-Cold War world, Jürgen Habermas’s notion of a “post-national constellation” seems to be an outcome of wishful thinking, since despite the recurring prognosis of the death … Read more

Gabriella Csoszó in Conversation with Hedvig Turai (Interview)

Gabriella Csoszó (1969) is a Hungarian artist currently living and working in Budapest. Csoszó displays a unique series of photographs, specifically portraits, which examine identity and individuality. Csoszó uses texts, fragments, and often installations to accompany her pictures. She is presently exhibited at Paris Photo by Raday Gallery. Most recently, Csoszó has been experimenting with landscapes, deteriorated buildings, and construction sites that reveal traces of the recent past, on the Cold war period. Currently she is working on the photographic recording of the Georg Lukács Archive in Budapest, focusing on its history with curator Lívia Páldi.


Hedvig Turai: How … Read more

R.E.P. Group in Conversation with Larissa Babij (Interview)

The R.E.P. (Revolutionary Experimental Space) Group, which debuted in 2004 with art-protest actions during the Orange Revolution, is now one of Ukraine’s best-known young contemporary artist collectives. Its members each maintain their own artistic practice in addition to producing projects together. Also acting as curators, they continue to play a significant role in highlighting the activities of other Ukrainian artists of their generation, especially those involved in social-political activism. In recent years, R.E.P. has been attracting more attention abroad, taking part in exhibitions in Hungary, Russia, Sweden, Estonia, Italy and other European countries. http://www.rep.tinka.cc/

Larissa Babij: Tell me about your … Read more

The Editors About Hungary’s New Media Law

As expressed in this special issue, since the political changes of 1989 and Hungary’s subsequent membership in the EU, there has been a significant transformation of the country’s cultural atmosphere, avenues of discourse and forums for artistic expression. The diversity of the articles appearing in this ARTMargins Hungary Focus issue are indicative of this reshaping of the cultural environment. Yet in contrast to this transformation, in July of 2010 the Hungarian parliament established the National Media and Communications Authority; on December 21st a national Media Council was established. At the beginning of 2011 the laws resulting from this legislation came … Read more

Snapshot: Erika Deák Gallery, Budapest (Article)

The Erika Deák gallery was founded in 1998. Before this, Erika Deák lived in the United States for almost a decade. She graduated from Temple University, Philadelphia, and was working in several art galleries in New York City, while writing for different art magazines.

After moving back to Budapest in 1998 she opened her gallery in a small apartment on the third floor of a residential building in Buda. It was one of the first commercial galleries in Budapest. The first exhibit was a collaboration with the Ludwig Museum, Budapest. While the museum exhibited the large-scale installation works of Spanish … Read more

Aesthetics and Politics: Critical Art in Hungary Today (Article)

Critical art practices (once also labeled avant-garde) have been playing out their death throes ever more dramatically in recent years.(For a historical and theoretical reconstruction of the death throes of avant-garde art in the 20th century, cf.: Paul Mann, Theory-Death of the Avant-Garde (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991).)  On the one hand, this might be so precisely because more and more artists, curators, and collectors have taken an interest in them; but on the other hand, if they do die out definitively, then the real danger exists that there will be no alternative at all to global techno-capitalism … Read more

Participatory Practices in Hungarian Contemporary Art (Article)

Participatory art projects are not common in the Hungarian visual art scene. If we see this kind of artistic activity as having something to do with social engagement, it might be easier to understand its rarity. After a rising interest at the turn of the century, only a few artists have continued to develop socially engaged projects in the past few years. The art scene is not receptive to self-restricting artistic activity and autonomy.(See texts on some art collectives of the 1980s and 1990s  (the Újlak Group, Szürenon, INDIGO etc. in IMPEX: We Are Not Ducks on The Pond Read more

Notes for a Budapest Museum Master Plan (Article)

Similar to the country’s system of cultural institutions, the Hungarian museum system is bloated. Budapest is the cultural center of the country, as anything outside its limits is still referred to as provincial. The country’s major art museums with their most important exhibitions, large art schools, journals, artists, and the richest collections are all situated in the capital.

The most serious attempt to decentralize the museum system dates back to before the political transition. However, this was not a once-and-for-all resolution, since the upgrading of rural locations outside of Budapest was actually a project in the works intermittently from the … Read more

A Short Guide to Hungary’s Contemporary Art Scene (Article)


The two most weighty Hungarian contemporary art institutions, M?csarnok (Kunsthalle) and the Ludwig Museum Budapest have gone through significant changes during the last couple of years, in terms of both  their institutional structures and exhibition policies. M?csarnok-founded in 1877, opened in 1896, and still utilizing its original exhibition space-follows the model of the German Kunsthallen. Since 2007, after a long period as a state funded institution, it has been a non-profit, limited liability company with two external exhibition spaces; the Ernst Museum and the Dorottya Gallery (director, Zsolt Petrányi since 2006).

The Ludwig Museum, officially founded in 1996, but … Read more

Domestic Strategies by Women in Contemporary Hungarian Art (Article)

“Where are the women artists of Venice?” asked the Guerilla Girls in 2005. After investigating the ratio of woman artists exhibited in the most famous Venetian museum collections, they concluded that they are “underneath the men.” They communicated this in a humorous way on one of their posters exhibited at the Venice Biennale, placed above the following data: “of more than 1,238 artworks currently on view inthe major museums of Venice, fewer than 40 are by women.” Even earlier, the Guerilla Girls concluded that the situation in Europe is worse than in the United States (“It’s even worse in Europe,” … Read more

Suspended Belief: On Art and Memory in Hungary

In 2007, at the Venice Biennial, Andreas Fogarasi’s Kultur und Freizeit (curated by Katalin Timár) received the Golden Lion award for the best national pavilion. The work dealt with the socialist cultural houses and remnants of socialism in a video installation. Fogarasi is Hungarian, based in Vienna and in his early thirties. According to a logic typical of secondary memory or “post-memory”, this young artist “remembered” something of which he had little or no first-hand experience, partly because of his age and partly because of his location, geographically close but mentally far from socialist Hungary.

According to Piotr Piotrowski , … Read more

Interview with Gábor Andrási (Interview)

Gábor Andrási is an art historian and editor-in-chief of the Hungarian contemporary art monthly, M?ért?. From 1981 to 2007 he was curator of CAA, during which time he put on 300 exhibitions at two non-profit spaces in Budapest (Óbudai Társaskör Galéria & Óbudai Pincegaléria). Since 2007 he has been chief curator at Kassák Museum, Budapest.  He is also a research fellow at the Research Institute for Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and has authors numerous publications on classical and avant-garde art, modernism and contemporary art, as well as the local and international art scene.

Edit András:Read more

The Shifty Art of András Gálik and Bálint Havas (Interview)

Introduction, by Edit András
The Hungarian artist duo Little Warsaw, a collaboration between Bálint Havas and András Gálik, started locally in the late nineties. Both had been trained as painters by established conceptualist artists who had been newly appointed to the academy. However, to these young students, conceptualism was an exhausted, outdated movement that they considered esoteric, aesthetic, and dry. They understood that conceptualism was accessible only to a closed, trained circle that was isolated even within the art scene. Havas and Gálik were equally determined in their refusal to connect with the newly established art market by means … Read more

“Wash Your Dirty Money With My Art” – Hedvig Turai in Conversation with János Sugár

In the summer of 2008, János Sugár exhibited the sentence “Wash your dirty money with my art” at the Kunsthalle, Budapest, as part of an exhibition entitled What’s up?(<http://exindex.hu/index.php?l=en&page=14&id=52347>) Parallel with exhibiting the sentence in this safe context, he also displayed it on the pavement in front of and on the wall of two private art institutions in Budapest. Soon after this, one of these institutions sued him for damaging its property. After Sugár’s exhibition at the Kunsthalle it was easy to identify him as the artist, and soon Sugár was summoned by the police

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Gábor Ösz (Online Gallery)


ARTMargins is pleased to present the work of Hungarian-born artist Gábor Ösz. After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, Ösz pursued postgraduate studies at the Rijksacademie of Visual Arts in Amsterdam, where he has lived ever since. Ösz’s photographic and video work is conceptual yet pervaded by a strong sense of the importance of the medium. Among Ösz’s best known works are On the Edge (1998), a minimalist video work that can be viewed as a study of dimensions. In the project Liquid Horizon (1998-2002) Ösz uses as cameras … Read more

Interview With Eszter Lázár

Eszter Lázár studied art history and cultural anthropology at ELTE (Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest) and has been working as a curator at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, where she is a leading member of the exhibition committee. She also works at the Karton Gallery in Budapest. Her writings have been featured in: Balkon, exindex, Muérto, Magyar Lettre Internationale, and various exhibition catalogues. ELTE has two major exhibition spaces, and since her arrival as curator, the exhibition profile of these spaces has changed considerably; rather than staying on the margins of curating practices, Eszter Lázár has injected a new vitality, … Read more

An Interview with Róza El-Hassan on the occasion of her exhibition at the Mücsarnok (Kunsthalle) in Budapest, July-September 2006

Allan Siegel: Let’s begin with a broad, very general question about curating. There are many aspects to curating–how do you see its importance.

Róza El-Hassan: It’s a very pragmatic question. The most important thing about curating is to be able to communicate about art and what artists do. Especially in Hungary, it is very important to be able to communicate our work to the public. Not all curators agree with this.

A.S.: Do you think there is a problem (in the region) that there are not enough people who have the skills to curate?

R.E.: Before the changes (ed note: … Read more

Byzantine Tradition as (Re)Source or Why and How I Designed the Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest

The Patriarchal Cathedral “The Ascension of the Lord and Saint Andrew, the Apostle of the Romanians”, a proposal that won the 2002 competition of the Ion Mincu Architecture and Urban Planning University (UAUIM), project chief Professor Lecturer Augustin Ioan, Ph.D.; collaborating in matters of architecture with assistant architect Viorica Popescu, architect Tudor Rebengiuc; collaborating in the drawing up of the design and of the mock-up with architect Andrei Nistor and students Radu Ursoiu, Iulian Ungureanu, Florin Barbu, and Valentina Niculescu.

On the Relation between Tradition and Post-modernism

In its turn, modernism celebrated archaic culture, bringing forward Mediterranean architecture, and the … Read more