Fascinating Art Brut at Museum Montanelli in Prague

On one of my art "reconnaissance" tour through Central and Eastern Europe last year I discovered for myself a gallery with a well recognized cashe that had somehow escaped my attention before- Museum Montanelli. Sadly overlooked the gallery is recognized as one of the most intriguing contemporary small private art museums in Central Europe.

Winter being the high art season, I didn't have a chance to write about my visit at the time but the recent Foundation Beyeler Museum's retrospective of works by the indomitable art spirit Jean Dubuffet was a reminder of necessity to rectify my oversight. 

Jean Dubuffet is perhaps most well known as the founder of Art Brut  (aka “outsider art”),-  term coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym to its French equivalent art brut traditionally translated as "raw" or "rough" art.  Jean Dubuffet is not only responsible for the French term to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture but also for the eponymous style he pioneered.  Dubuffet found his stylistic expression when being influenced by art of those on the outside of the art establishment, such as psychiatric hospital patients and children.  

My visit to Montanelli Gallery coincided with the exhibition project “Crossroads,” presenting works by three contemporary international art brut artists who share a common theme: the city as space that defines our lives:  Stefan Hafner, Marcel Schmitz, and Ota Prouza.

German artist Stefan Häfner creates three-dimensional residential modules with a carefully thought-out interior design to represent his vision of the “city of the future.” Belgian artist Marcel Schmitz explores in his paintings the anonymous metropolis as an extraordinary, multilayered structure.

Personally, I found of the Ota Prouza the most fascinating.  Several meters in length, drawings of this recently discovered Czech artist are an infinite tangle of roads and railway tracks surrounded by skyscrapers seen from a bird’s-eye view.  I was also taken aback by his drawings of wasps.  They are both terror- evoking and beautifully mesmerizing. 

"In all three artists’ work, urban space is a mental space as well." That statement acquires a different dimension when one considers that all three of these artists are mentally handicapped.  One can't disagree with the curators' conclusion that the artists' attempts at finding their bearings within this urban environment, so far removed from the nature (i.e. natural state of being) or controlling it through the artistic act is possibly their attempt at making themselves at home in their own mental territory.

Successful Art Basel Week - THINK+feel Contemporary presented at Scope 2016

Everyone knows that the first week of December in Miami is dedicated to art.  As the tradition dictates our gallery took part in this wonderful madness known as Art Basel, Miami week.  Under the curatorial oversight of our director, THINK+feel Contemporary gallery dedicated this year's show to women.  Works by Matus Lanyi, Martin Moflar, Dorota Sadovska and Anna Silivonchik were brought together in a show entitled Women: Heaven, Earth and Fantasy.  The presentation was conceived as a reflection on the numerous - often contradictory- ways women are perceived by the society, men and women alike.  Some see them as sex symbols, others as sensual,  strong personalities who are willing to sacrifice what's dearest to them, and others as spiritual and almost mythological creatures. The response to the presentation and featured works by visitors, collectors and fans was positively overwhelming.  We would like to thank all who came to see us, who support and follow us.  We wish you and all the lovers of art more creativity and inspiration in 2017!

THINK+feel Contemporary exhibition space at Scope, Miami Beach, December 2016

Beyond Art Basel

Thank you Cornell Art Museum at Old School Square for a lovely evening celebrating the height of art season in the greater Miami area. This fun event was my introduction to this wonderful institution that has been undergoing an enviable transformation.  Apart from a fun presentation, I had an opportunity to see an ongoing exhibition dedicated to the fascinating Joan Quinn (on view through January 15, 2017).  A renown collector, supporter of art and artists who knew and hang out with the greatest of them such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha...

Probably the most photographed, painted and sculpted persona in the history of contemporary art, Joan Agajanian Quinn was immortalized in works by Peter Alexander, Charles Arnoldi, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mike Chearney, Patrick Demarchelier, Laddie John Dill, Shepard Fairey, Claire Falkenstein, Sophia Gasparian, Frank Gehry, Chris Hartunian, David Hockney, George Hurrell, Robert Mapplethorpe, Kim McCarty, Ed Moses, Mel Ramos, Ed Ruscha, and Beatrice Wood - all on display at this exhibition.  A trip worth making!

"You've Got Me" featuring Anna Silivonchik's artwork nomitated for the Best Children's Album Grammy!

THINK+feel Contemporary is excited to share with you the latest collaboration by the artist Anna Silivonchik and Sara Lovell, an award winning composer, song writer and performer.  Anna was selected to create art for Sara's latest album.  You've Got Me is already on the Grammy ballot for Best Children's Album!

Here is the result of Anna's incredible imagination!

Despite her young age, Anna - one of the most versatile and imaginative artists today - already has an incredible track record in the area of illustrations and paintings for children.  Her illustrations adorn French and Russian versions of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's ultimate book for children Little Prince, numerous works by Russian authors as well as her own books such as Good luck. Her latest adventure takes Anna deep into Lewis Carroll's world as she is working on images for his Alice in Wonderland. Enjoy the trip with her!

To see more of Anna's wonderful works see our blog post For the littlest art connoisseurs from May 24. 

 

Art Wanderings through Central Europe: Prague. Kampa Museum

I've had the good fortune recently to be able to spend a few short weeks on a whirlwind tour of Central Europe. I visited Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Belarus where I visited galleries, discovering and meeting with the region's talented artists of the highest caliber. I can't wait to share with you the latest works from our established and our new artists soon. 

But before we are ready to unveil our latest acquisitions - enjoy my coverage of museums and galleries I've visited during my wanderings through the region.   

The number one stop on my journey was Prague’s Museum Kampa which had an exhibition of the critically acclaimed Czech-French surrealist artist Toyen (Marie Čermínová): I see for it is Night.  Kampa's exceptional temporary exhibits are a wonderful complement to their extensive permanent collection of Central European Modern art, and its seminal representatives such as František Kupka and Otto Gutfreund. 

 

Museum Kampa was recently extended to incorporate an enviable Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation collection - a lovechild of the art collector and benefactor Mrs. Meda Mládek and her husband Jan Mládek.  Until the mid-1990s, the fall of communism in the former Czechoslovakia, this notable collection resided together with its creators in Washington, DC.  Understanding the enormous importance of their collection to Czech and Slovak art history, the couple left it in trust to the Kampa Museum. 

The mission of the Museum is to represent through these collections a testimonial to the communist era, a very difficult period in Eastern European history in general and Czech and Slovak history in particular, encompassing the period from the late 1940s through mid-1990s.

  • Museum Kampa, Sculpture Garden, Prague, January 2016, Photos: © THINK+feel Contemporary