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Home Art

Exhibition of Czech folk design from 1950s to 1980s. Exhibition opening: Thursday, June 16, 6:30-8:30pm

The Czech Center New York will present a selection of the most interesting artifactsfrom the Home Art collection which are on loan from Domácí umění o.s. in Prague, Czech Republic. This exhibit has been organized by the Czech Center New York and curated by Pablo de Sax. Around 250 objects can be seen at the Czech Center New York at the Bohemian National Hall at 321 East 73rd Street in New York, NY from June 16 till September 15, 2011. Members of the press are invited to attend the opening reception from 6:30-8:30 pm June 16.

Home Art is a phenomenon that arose in the second half of the 20th century incommunist Czechoslovakia. Home Art was made by people with no art education andwith ambition not reaching beyond the intent of creating a piece of art simply for theirand their family’s joy. These artifacts decorated the interiors of Communist era housing projects, countryside cottages, offices and workrooms, pubs and military dormitories.

Artistry, craftsmanship, and a peculiar design inspiration is much in evidence as one tours this collection which serves as a kind of document of the personal and widely felt response to the social and economic constraints of that era.


Pavla Niklova, Czech Center Director calls the exhibition “important because it is the first time Americans have the opportunity to look into the lives of Czechs during the years of Communist state control and see in a very tangible way a kind of vital, fun, and free-form expression. In this way the Home Art pieces are more than just peculiar or quirky creations – they represent a folk art that flourished in response to repression.”

Home Art, especially at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s, complemented the “atomic style”, for which the name “Brussels style“ is used in Czechoslovakia after the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, where Czech designs won 27 gold medals.

While bursts of Czech Home Art activity can be seen in the mid 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, the 1960s was the time when it reached its peak.  By the fall of the communist regime in 1989, this modern folklore has more or less disappeared.

What these Home Art pieces may lack in formal aesthetic import they more than make up for in sheer creativity and whimsy, and it is in this light as artifacts that they are best appreciated as they  represent important historical and social evidence belonging to a bygone era.

www.domaciumeni.cz  (in Czech)

Contact for press: Jan Zahour, zahour@czechcenter.com, cell: 646 436-5215