Institutional Collecting Versus ‘Live Art’: The acquisition policy of the Moravian Gallery in Brno against the background of contemporary art and other activities of the Sixties in Brno
This contribution focuses on the relation between the acquisition activity of the Moravian Gallery in Brno (officially founded in 1961) and the then current artistic production in the region (especially the program of the Brno House of Arts). While the collection of modern art – that originated before the official foundation of the gallery – was built in correlation with the current interwar exhibition activities of various art associations, in the 1960s the Gallery’s acquisition policy becomes selective. The reasons may be found in the diversification of modernity – personal preferences – political pressures – censorship – and/or the inability of the institution to deal with dematerialized art and newly emerging art forms. The text examines the position of the progressive trends of neo-avant-garde and conceptual art within the professional (institutionalized) art scene through specific examples of work, from the perspective of a significant Czech institution. Specifically, the essay deals with the works of art by Milan Grygar, Miroslav Sonny Halas and informal group called ‘The Brno Bohemians.’ It also contains a brief excursus on a possible analogy between the authors of graphic scores in the 60’s and 70’s and the visuality of records and scores of Leoš Janáček, one of the most significant composers of the avant-garde.