I just got back from Bratislava where I had been invited to present some of the Van Abbe's activities in the context of a discussion set up by a group who call themselves, 20 Years After the Velvet Revolution Did Not Happen
The following are some words by Maria Riskova and 20 Years After...:
20 Years After the Velvet Revolution Did Not Happen started as a civic initiative in January 2010 by a group of visual artists and theorists of younger generation. The group's petition published on Facebook and other (mainly Internet) media opened up a discussion about several neuralgic points of Slovak art scene, such as transparency during the selection process of the new Slovak National Gallery director, ongoing struggle to open Kunsthalle-type public institution in Bratislava, vitality of existing public institutions, procrastination with reconstruction of the "overbridge" part of the Slovak National Gallery building...
The petition served as a trigger for an open discussion on Internet. Gradually, more and more people joined – what has brought an avalanche of both positive and negative reactions and ideas from various members of art scene and public interested in arts. The special website documenting the process as well all materials and reactions from involved institutions and individuals was created.
The group around 20 years after... decided to organize meetings in "A4 - Zero Space" in Bratislava's centre, that would support bringing the discussion
from the Internet pages into real life.
More information (video, texts in Slovak language) https://sites.google.com/site/dvadsatrokovodneznej
First discussion/meeting of the initiative 20 Years After the Velvet Revolution Did Not Happen: March 8, 2010 at A4 – Zero Space, Bratislava
This well attended meeting focused on the most topical part of the petition – selection criteria for the new director of the leading public art museum of art in Slovakia, the Slovak National Gallery, after the previous director resigned in
December 2009. There were also wider topics discussed – such as vitality of existing public art institutions and their transparency, comparison with the situation in different countries, etc.
The respectable number of art theorists, art teachers, members of various art organizations and artists came to this meeting, as well as invited guests from the Ministry of Culture of Slovak Republic responsible for setting up the rules for the selection process of the new Slovak National Gallery director. After the introduction by initiators of 20 years after... and contributions by invited guests and public followed moderated discussion.
Common denominator was a call for transparency of election process for directors of public art institutions, especially the national gallery and improvement of its program and functioning. At the end of the discussion, there seemed to be a consensus about the possible improvement of the search process between the organizers, experts and public as well as Ministry of Culture representatives.
Summary of the discussion:
Attendance agreed upon setting up the time-limit (4 or 5 years with possible extension) of director's appointment. Several voices called for opening the search internationally, while others noted that in such a small country it is not easy to find person with both art history background and management skills.
The importance of a public hearing of each candidate's vision for the Slovak
National Gallery under their leadership or technical aspects such as proven
ability to use the foreign language (certificate) were also stressed.
The initiators included the conclusion from discussion into the material delivered to Ministry of Culture of Slovak Republic on March 19 and have published all contributions on their website, with the complete video-footage
from the meeting.
Despite of that, on March 23 the Ministry published the Call/Information about the selection process for a director of the Slovak National Gallery – with minimum of the requests from the meeting. The discussion continues...
Second discussion/meeting Public Institutions for Contemporary Art. Issues and models
Tuesday, April 13, 1 p.m. at A4 – Zero Space, Bratislava, Slovakia
Second discussion will have 2 parts – presentation of several models of public art institutions from abroad and panel discussion. We are also inviting people
applying for the position of the director of Slovak National Gallery, politicians running for 2010 parlamentary elections and representatives of local governments. Guest speakers:
Central European Forum, The Olomouc Museum of Art, Olomouc, Czech Republic: Gina Renotiére (Forum), Štěpánka Bieleszová (Head of Art History Department) http://www.olmuart.cz/?np=SEFO
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands: Clare Butcher (Guest curator) http://www.vanabbemuseum.nl
The Brno House of Arts, Czech Republic: Rostislav Koryčánek (Director) http://www.dum-umeni.cz/cz
Museum Moderner Kunst (MUMOK), Vienna, Austria: Dr. Rainer Fuchs (Head of Scientific Department, Deputy Director) http://www.mumok.at
Video interview: Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, Petr Nedoma (Director) http://www.galerierudolfinum.cz/