Prague, the Czech Republic’s bustling capital city, is the country’s main destination for lovers of great food, fascinating history and contemporary art. The Culture Trip has compiled a list of the city’s very best contemporary art galleries from the cutting-edge DOX Centre of Contemporary Art in arty Holešovice to the Leica Gallery Prague, an exclusively photographic gallery in the lively New Town area.
Located in a beautiful old building in the heart of the city, Museum Montanelli is one of the Czech Republic’s few private museums. Operated by the DrAK Foundation, which was founded by the Czech entrepreneur and art collector Dr Dadja Attenburg Kohl, Museum Montanelli was opened in 2009 and since then has established a firm reputation as a premier destination for viewing contemporary art. Focusing on up-and-coming artists based around the world that, in many cases, have not had their work exhibited in the Czech Republic, the museum’s inaugural exhibition featured works by 21 international female artists which included German installation artist and film director Rebecca Horn and the late, great American surrealist painter and sculptor Dorothea Tanning.
Nerudova 13, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 257 531 220
Galerie Jiří Ŝvestka
In operation since 1995, Galerie Jiří Ŝvestka is one of the Czech Republic’s foremost private contemporary art galleries. With an emphasis on the promotion of modern and contemporary artists from the Czech Republic and overseas, the gallery is instrumental in pushing young, up-and-coming Czech artists onto the international scene and is a regular attendant at international art fairs including the VOLTA fairs in Basel and New York. Since 2003, Galerie Jiří Ŝvestka has been based in a former factory in Prague’s Old Town and in 2009 opened a sister gallery in Berlin. The gallery represents a number of talented young artists including Jan Vytiska, one of the most significant emerging Czech artists, and the Romanian conceptual artist Ioana Nemes.
Biskupský dvů 6, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 222 311 092
FUTURA Center for Contemporary Art
A private not-for-profit arts institution, the FUTURA Center for Contemporary Art is a three-floor gallery space located in Prague’s Smíchov quarter on the west bank of the Vltava River. Since its establishment in 2003, the gallery has presented numerous group and solo exhibitions featuring works of art by artists native to the Czech Republic and respected international artists. The latter have included the New York City-based conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner, and Romanian artist Mircea Contor, whose art utilizes found objects in mediums that span video, sculpture, painting and animation, to name but a few. FUTURA Centre for Contemporary Art also operates an artist’s residency program both in Prague and in Brooklyn in the USA.
Holeĉkova 49, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 604 738 390
DOX Center for Contemporary Art
Located on a bend of the Vltava River in the increasingly arty neighborhood of Holešovice, DOX Center for Contemporary Art was established in 2008 as a means of putting Prague on the map as a hub of contemporary art creation and to provide a space for alternative arts. In its seven years history, DOX has become a popular destination for native art lovers, presenting over 100 exhibitions and ranking among the Czech Republic’s most forward-thinking art galleries, with a focus on unconventional and though-provoking art addressing current social issues. The varied range of events includes guided tours, lectures, panel discussions, performances and educational programs.
Poupětova 1, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 295 568 111
Leica Gallery Prague
Leica Gallery Prague, located in the heart of Prague’s bustling New Town, was established in 2002 and focuses exclusively on photography. Presenting six to seven exhibitions a year, the gallery strives to increase awareness of contemporary photography and is a regular participant in the Czech and Slovakian art fair Prague Photo alongside actively promoting local photography overseas. The gallery premises include an exhibition hall, café and a bookshop selling photography publications. In its ten-plus years, Leica has had the privilege of presenting seminal exhibitions by renowned artists including the late, influential German–Australian fashion photographer Helmut Newton and Brazilian documentary photographer and photojournalist Sebastião Salgado.
Leica Gallery Prague, Ŝkolská 28, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 222 211 567
Dvorak Sec Contemporary
Named after its directors, the local arts mavens Olga Dvorak and Petr Sec, Dvorak Sec Contemporary comprises 800 square meters of exhibition space spread over two floors in a stylish space designed by local design firm Konsepti. Established in 2005, the gallery focuses on young and up-and-coming artists from the Czech Republic, Britain, the USA and Germany. It gave the American painter and drawer Paul Brainard his first solo exhibition in the country, alongside exhibiting works by the young talented Czech artist Jakub Matuska, whose art blends elements of street art with earlier styles such as surrealism. In addition to its main space, Dvorak Sec Contemporary also operates the private Gallery Art Factory, which works to improve the development of the Czech art market.
Dvorak Sec Contemporary, Dlouhá 5, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 607 262 617
Founded in 2001 by the internationally renowned Czech sculptor David Černy, MeetFactory is a not-for-profit center for contemporary art with an international outlook whose main mission is to encourage dialogue between different genres of art while making contemporary art accessible to the public. Based in a former glassworks factory built in the 1920s, the center is comprised of three gallery spaces: the MeetFactory Gallery, which presents original curated exhibitions; Kostka Gallery, which focuses on solo shows by new and established artists; and the Wall Gallery, an exterior sidewall of the building depicting large-scale street art. MeetFactory also runs an international artists-in-residence program, the biggest of its kind in the Czech Republic, which hosts over 30 artists each year and has presented exhibitions by both internationally renowned artists such as Francis Alÿs, Pierre Huyghe or Erwin Wurm alongside the emerging and established generation of Czech artists, including Dušan Zahoranský, Václav Magid or Lucia Sceranková.
Ke Sklárně 3213/15, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 251 551 796
Hunt Kastner Gallery
The Hunt Kastner Gallery, located in the fashionable neighborhood of Žižkov, opened its doors eight years ago and is operated by two members of Prague’s expat community – Canadian Camille Hunt and Katherine Kastner who is from the USA. Centering on young and progressive artists and their artworks, the gallery represents mainly artists from the Czech Republic but also a small number of non-natives. Currently, Hunt Kastner represents Eva Kotáková, who is the youngest artist to receive the Jindrich Chalupecky Award which recognizes talented, young Czech visual artists, and the Prague-born contemporary photographer Alena Kotzmannová. The gallery is also instrumental in promoting local art abroad, having many private collectors from overseas and regularly taking part in international art fairs like Frieze London and LISTE.
Bořivojova 85, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 603 525 294
Galerie 35M2 gets it unique name from its size. The petite gallery, which is entered through a pretty courtyard in Žižkov, is split into two small rooms measuring just 35 square meters, but nevertheless presents a comprehensive program of 11 exhibitions each year. The gallery is operated by curators Michala Pěchoučka and Petry Steinrové whose mission is to work mainly with young artists and those fresh out of art college, with an emphasis on painting and photography, and growing enthusiasm for installation and conceptual art. Its 2013 exhibition program included Anna Hulačová’s Holubičky Spanilé (Graceful Doves), a series of sculptures examining Marian symbolism, and painter and young, recent graduate of Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts Patrik Pelikán.
Vita Nejedlého 23, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 777 589 954
The Chemistry Gallery
The Chemistry Gallery is a young, exciting and forward-thinking art space dedicated to the presentation of commercially and professionally orientated artworks by young and talented artists form the Czech Republic and overseas. The gallery’s primary goal is to showcase a variety of artistic genres and mediums while inspiring public interest in emerging art trends and encouraging interactions between artists and viewers. In 2009, the Chemistry Gallery was awarded the Art Prague Young Award at the city’s eighth annual contemporary art fair Art Prague, and currently has an impressive repertoire of artists including talented Czech painter Tomás Němec and Robert Palúch, a Slovakian artist who works with sculptural, object and installation art.
Bubenská 1, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 606 649 170