321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

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Slovak Neo-Avantgarde: Conceptual Art and Communism

art exhibition 06 August, 2015 - 27 August, 2015

[BBLA Gallery]


The exhibition “Conceptual Art and Communism 1965 – 1989: 50 Years of Slovak Neo-Avantgarde” introduces works of Slovak conceptual artists of the late 1960s. With photographs, prints, drawings and collages, the exhibition showcases Slovak conceptual art as a unique phenomenon developed behind the Iron Curtain concurrently with similar art movements in Western world, yet with specifics of their own themes. The exhibition is curated by Dusan Brozman and Boris Krsnak.


Presented artists: Stano Filko, Julius Koller, Rudolf Sikora, Peter Bartos, Milan Adamciak, Vladimir Havrilla, Juraj Melis, Dezider Toth (Monogramista T.D), and Jan Budaj.


It can be argued that Slovak conceptual art was the only art movement in the history of Slovak art in which the artists did not react to the current affairs of art in other countries. They did not copy or build on the art of foreign artists of the time, but rather were making their own contribution to the world of art. Slovak conceptual art was, even in the context of world art, innovative and current. However, the ideologically divided world and the impenetrable Iron Curtain severely hindered the communication of Slovak artists with the rest of the world. If this has not changed yet, or changed only slightly, it is due to the weaknesses in the Slovak cultural diplomacy but also due to the unwillingness on the world to change that part of art history which is thought to be closed and unchangeable.


Artist Alex Mlynarcik is well known among French new realists. His work was carefully observed and described in a monograph by the most notable theoretician of French New Realism Pierre Restany, a close friend of Mlynarcik. Stano Filko took part in the Document in Kassel in 1982 and his works can be found in numerous European collections. The work White Space in a White Space (Biely priestor v bielom priestore) by Stano Filko, Milos Laky and Jan Zavarsky was chosen by an international jury for the 9th Biennale de Paris in 1975. Some works of Julius Koller belong to the most notable European collections (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Tate Gallery, London). Some works of Rudolf Sikora who participated in the prestigious exhibition of world conceptual photography Light Years in Art Institute of Chicago 2011, belong to the most notable American collections (Art Institute of Chicago, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.). In June 2014, works of Vladimir Havrilla were exhibited in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. during the presentation of world experimental film of the 1960s – 1980s. He was the only Slovak artist to participate in the event.


Dusan Brozman is a Slovak-Swiss art historian and curator, author of several monographs, who focuses on Czech and Slovak art of the 20th century and Slovak conceptual art in particular.


Boris Krsnak has been devoted to Slovak conceptual art for over 20 years. He is acquainted with the works of most of the presented artists and he has organized numerous exhibitions in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.



BBLA Gallery at Bohemian National Hall

321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10021

viewing hours: Monday - Friday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

(Please note that BBLA's exhibition space is occasionally closed for events. Call 212-988-1733 to verify access.)

Free and open to the public.



Image: Julius Koller, Universal Futurological Questionnaire, 1978, photograph

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General