Hunt Kastner Artworks in Prague 7 is a private gallery owned and run by Camille Hunt, who is Canadian, and Katherine Kastner, who is from the US though her mother is Czech. The two represent 10 Czech artists, among them Eva Koťátková, Josef Bolf and Daniel Pitín. This week I stopped by to talk to the owners about their work, both curating shows and helping their artists find buyers overseas. I first asked Hunt what had led them to open the gallery in the first place.
The Czech knife maker Mikov on Saturday opened a museum in Mikulášovice, in northern Bohemia, dedicated to the 218-year-long tradition of knife-making in the area. The museum features hundreds of historic knives made by the Mikov factory along with other tools such as scissors, hole-makers and aluminium cutlery, including the fish-shaped penknife that has become the symbol of the factory. The firm’s director said it had taken five years of work to get all the materials and exhibits together.
After many months of delays, and several years of arguing, the Slav Epic will go on display in Prague’s Veletržní palác on Thursday. Alfons Mucha’s Art Nouveau masterpiece has been at the centre of a heated dispute between the town of Moravský Krumlov, where the 20 enormous canvasses were kept until recently, and the City of Prague, which has made no secret of wanting to put the work on permanent display. As for the painter’s own wishes, the Slav Epic was willed to the Czech capital upon his death in 1939, but on the condition that a special building
Two massive wooden boxes, each weighing over 300 kilograms – that was what the botanist and pharmacologist Bohuslav Jiruš left the National Museum in his will some 100 years ago. The humungous mystery crates came with one instruction: They should not be opened until 200 years after Jiruš’s death –the year 2101. Now, the National Museum has published the surprising result of its vote on whether its researchers should be allowed to take a peak inside with computed tomography.
The National Museum has decided not to explore the contents of two wooden chests, donated to the museum over a hundred years ago by Czech scientist Bohuslav Jiruš who died in 1901, the museum said on its website on Tuesday.. In his testament, the botanist and pharmacologist said the chests should be opened 200 years after his death. The museum held an online poll to decide whether or not to open the chests; more than 3,000 people took part, 53 percent of which voted against the opening of the boxes.
The Slav Epic by celebrated Art Nouveau painter Alphons Mucha will go on display in Prague’s Veletržní Palác on May 10. Preparations for the exhibit cost 36 million crowns and consisted of major technical modifications to the exhibition hall. The 20 enormous canvasses have been the subject of much controversy in recent years as the City of Prague has attempted to transfer them from their long residence in the town of Moravský Krumlov. The exhibit is expected to run for at least two years. The painter’s family is seeking a specially constructed area for the work in accordance with his wishes.
In today’s Spotlight we take a trip to a hidden gem of a museum in a Prague suburb which traces the often surprising history of coffee. The private Coffee Museum Alchymista takes you through coffee’s history, cultivation, production and industry covering the many different strains and its progress from a devilish concoction to everyday drink.
Prague’s Antonín Dvořák Museum recently reopened after renovation with a new programme dedicated to the life and work of the famous composer. Entitled The journeys of Antonín Dvořák, it offers a new look at the composer’s stays abroad. It also features an exhibition on Dvořák’s Czech-American friend and collaborator, Josef Jan Kovařík, who worked with Dvořák during his stay in New York.
Leoš Válka is one of the founders of the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague’s Holešovice district, which in just a few years has become one of the most important institutions of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. Válka has a perhaps surprising background for such a significant figure in the Czech art world: for several years he ran a firm in Australia doing maintenance work on high-rise buildings.
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