Since becoming director of the Czech National Gallery three years ago this month, Jiří Fajt has secured exhibitions by major international artists and helped make its numerous buildings in the capital more accessible to the public. Our tour of “his Prague” begins at the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia on the edge of the Old Town. It houses the National Gallery’s impressive medieval collection and was headed by the Prague-born Fajt himself in the late 1990s.
The newly reconstructed Werich villa on Prague’s Kampa, once the home of the famous Czech actor Jan Werich, opened to the public on Friday evening. The villa was reconstructed by the Prague city hall after being severely damaged by floods over a decade ago and is now leased by the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation, which has turned it into the Voskovec and Werich Arts and Social Centre in honour of the great Czech acting duo. Visitors will be able to view many of Werich’s personal belongings as well as costumes from his films. The centre will also offer lectures, exhibitions and other events. Actor Jan Werich lived in the villa from 1945 until his death in 1980.
As well as the historic monuments, visitors to Prague might be struck by the busy three and four lane highway in both directions that dissects the city centre and complicates access to many landmarks and cultural sites. The city has called in the studio of a world famous Danish architect to suggest how the so-called Magistrale can be tamed and transformed.
The Czech National Gallery is to get a permanent piece by the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei from next year, the institution’s director, Jiří Fajt, said on Tuesday. The courtyard of the gallery’s Kinský Palace building on Prague’s Old Town Square will be home to the artist’s Bicycle Chandelier, a large piece made from Chinese bicycles that has previously seen at other venues in Europe. The National Gallery’s Trade Fair Palace at present houses Ai Weiwei’s enormous site specific work Law of the Journey, a recreation of a refugee boat that draws attention to the migrant crisis, and last year showed his Zodiac Heads.
The newly renovated facade of the main National Museum building at the top of Wenceslas Square will be unveiled this summer, the institution’s director, Michal Lukeš, has told the Czech News Agency. Some guests will be admitted to the still empty building later this year before the National Museum resumes full service in 2018. The museum is currently getting a major facelift that includes the construction of a tunnel to its nearby former Federal Assembly building and the placing of a roof over its main courtyard.
Thousands of people visited museums, galleries and other arts institutions in the Czech capital on Saturday during the annual Prague Museum Night. Almost 80 places kept their doors open late in what was the 14th edition of the event. Czech Radio was also involved but welcomed members of the public from the morning as part of its annual open day. Among the other institutions taking place were the National Technical Museum, the City of Prague Museum and the crypt of the church on Resslova St. where the heroes of Operation Anthropoid met their deaths.
More than 1,500 houses of worship will open their doors to the public across the Czech Republic on Friday night for the annual Night of Open Churches. Visitors will be able to view church interiors that are normally off-limits and attend concerts, exhibitions and other programmes. This year, one of the highlights will be a candlelight pilgrimage across Prague’s Charles Bridge from the Church of St. Thomas in Malá strana to St. Salvador Church across the Vltava River.
The general director of the Czech National Museum has just signed an agreement committing the institution to helping Syria save, preserve and conserve much of its cultural and historical heritage damaged by six years of war. At the Prague signing, Michal Lukeš and his Syrian counterpart were on hand to describe the task they face.
German artist Gerhard Richter has been described as one of the greatest living painters, who left a mark both in the 20th century and continues to push boundaries with his work even now. Without exaggeration, a retrospective of Mr Richter’s work which opened recently at the National Gallery, is the cultural event of the season, a chance to see work of an artist who has oscilated between pure abstraction and photorealism.
An exhibition mapping the 60-year-long career of Czech pop idol Karel Gott will be on display on Prague’s embankment during the summer. The show, entitled “Gott, My Life” will be launched on June 8 a on a boat moored near the railway bridge at Rašínovo nábřeží. Co-organised by the National Museum, the exhibition will run until the end of September.
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