Feeling artsy in the New Year? A number of unique venues have opened recently in Prague and not all are devoted to simple visual arts. Taking inspiration as much from within as from without, the places listed here hope to make a splash on Prague’s canvas.
“We see a large influx of independent galleries which work with non-traditional spaces that are associated with some story, the current storyline of a particular place,” said Eva Pejchalová from Galerie Kin. “We are watching the galleries and the curators they are attracting, as well as the artists. They have a strong influence on the design and development of exhibitions.”
Here are the new galleries and multi-functional spaces catching our eye in 2015 and the exhibits not to miss:
Pop Art Centre
Probably the most museum-like of the bunch, the Pop Art Centre occupies a large space close to Old Town Square. The 180 CZK price tag was a bit of a surprise, and after seeing the pieces on display in the upstairs space, I felt a bit ripped off. In addition to a few Warhol’s (the Cologne Cathedral piece being the most interesting) there’s a Hirst and Lichtenstein. The best part were the whimsical drawings by Warhol’s nephew James who is a children’s book illustrator. Wandering back down to the ground floor, my hopes were raised when the attendant directed me to the basement where they were modern pieces with a pop art feel by Czech artists. The lighting here was quite off though and with only about six additional pieces to look at I was quickly re-disappointed. The gallery is connected with the world’s first Andy Warhol museum in Slovakia and includes a little of the family’s history. Complemented by a Pop Art Café and shop, if you are a true fan, you’ll probably enjoy it.
Czech companies’ canteens aren’t very inspiring, but the one for Koh-i-Noor’s employees in Vršovice has something going for it above and beyond the food. Artists Marie Vránová and Eva Pejchalová have their studio at the factory and were inspired to display art in the canteen after learning that a painting by Karel Liška, which used to hang in the space, was stolen in 2010. All work is site specific and hangs above the serving window.
“The Gallery responds to its visitors, who are primarily the factory Koh-i-noor workers and it creates a specific community of people who become part of the gallery,” Pejchalová said. “In addition, exhibitions by the individual authors are reacting to a specific space, which is connected with the daily service of a dining room.”
Through March 3 you can see pieces by Jana Vojnárová and according to Pejchalová 2015 will see work from the likes of Petr Gruber and art duo Martina Bobříkov and Oscar de Carmen. The gallery is only open to the public on exhibition opening nights and during the lunch hour.
Located near Náměstí Míru, according to a quote by the founder Nina Hedwic on the website, this classic gallery is a place “where dreams become a reality.” The clean white walls permanently display a selection of works by their stable of artists, including Adam Štech, Jakub Špaňhel and Jiří David. The gallery also holds temporary exhibitions, workshops and art courses. Through February 7 you can see Blues Woods by Martin Mainer.
Avoid the temptation of Belzepub out front and walk through the courtyard to Nevan Contempo. Sculptural and interactive works are more the norm here in this gallery which opened in October 2014. Future exhibitions haven’t been posted but you are sure to find something to intrigue you at this eclectic gallery.
One of the more exciting spaces to open in Prague in a while, Jatka 78 is located in one of the buildings at Pražská tržnice (look for the Penny Market). The main tenant (and founders) are Cirk La Putyka but the space was opened in November 2014 to be an experimental and creative hub for many different disciplines besides contemporary circus and new theatre. Workshops, conferences, exhibitions and more are all on the agenda. They are on mini-hiatus until April 2015, watch their Facebook page for upcoming shows and events.
KAVKA Art Books
Bear with me on this one. It’s a beautiful space, with a little art but lots of books about it. Kavka is an art book emporium in a bright corner shop that is almost completely windows. Tables are stacked with large full-color art books of nearly every genre, while shelves hold many more. Books are focused on 20th and 21st century Czech art, architecture, design, and photography. You’ll see artsy furnishings and the back wall offers temporary exhibitions of illustrations, paintings, and photography. But this is a DIY art experience – pick up a book and enjoy!