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15 Apr 2011

For Active Art – New Tendencies 50 Years Later (1961-1973) at Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb


For Active Art – New Tendencies 50 Years Later (1961-1973)
Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb


April 14 – May 29, 2011

Jadranka Pintarić
00385 1 60 52 736
00385 1 60 52 797

Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Av. Dubrovnik 17
10010 Zagreb

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The exhibition For Active Art – New Tendencies 50 Years Later (1961-1973), set up by the Museum of Contem-porary Art Zagreb to mark half a century since the first in the series of five exhibitions showing one of the most important international art movements in the second half of the twentieth century, is a form of continuation of this important cultural phenomenon's promotion, which in its time turned Zagreb into one of Europe's cultural centres. Apart from visual art, the movement encompassed many other areas of art, like music, film, and theatre. In that way, one of New Tendencies' goals was achieved – the integration of art into different aspects of social life.

In the period from 1961 to 1973, following the initiative of several artists, that time's Gallery of Contemporary Art Zagreb, today's Museum of Contemporary Art, organized five exhibitions, accompanied by symposiums and printed material. Many artists and art groups from all over the world, whose work was founded on Constructivist and Neoplasticist tradition, as well as Bauhaus ideas, participated in those events. The movement was joined by many renowned local and international art theoreticians. Each of these 'biennial' events opened new chapters in art, from constructive and kinetic to computer and conceptual art.

Personal experiences of artists were replaced by rational analysis, precision in execution, and experimentation with new technical media and industrial materials. The approach to artistic creation now included scientific re-search methods and explorations in the field of visual perception and communication, while the stress was shifted to collective effort. Through the interaction of the artist and the viewer, the observer was involved into the very act of artistic creation.

In the course of the last few years group exhibitions, lectures, and panel discussions on re-evaluation of the New Tendencies movement were organized in Croatia and abroad (Ingolstadt, Graz, Karlsruhe). Recent exhibitions of contemporary artists' works have shown to what extent the topics in the focus of New Tendencies' artists are still alive and present; they include the position of art and the artwork, as well as the role of the artist in the society, criti¬cism of art market that dictates the evaluation systems of artistic production and similar issues. The investigation of these topics in the light of contemporary production is the subject of today's research as well. Several surveys, studies, and dissertations concerned with the terminology, origin, development, aims, and reception of this art movement have been written up to now, but in spite of interest for New Tendencies, the essential phenomenon of the movement has not been sufficiently explained yet. The most comprehensive recent contribution to its knowl¬edge is certainly the book A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer's Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961-1973, published by ZKM Karlsruhe and MIT Press.

The exhibition For Active Art – New Tendencies 50 Years Later (1961-1973) represents a chronological selection of works from MSU's holdings and archives, as well as works from private collections of artists involved in the movement (Aleksandar Srnec and Miroslav Šutej). Furthermore, the selection of works and documents, including letters, programs, contemporary critique, press, and historical photographs will enable a better insight into the context of emergence of the movement and changes within it. In addition to that, the visitors will be able to see the works from solo-exhibitions organized by the Gallery of Contemporary Art, which played an important role in the development of the movement.