• The Jewish Avant-Garde in Hungary
Podium / zo 10 sep / 20:00

The Jewish Avant-Garde in Hungary

Nationalism and anti-Semitism in Central Europe from the 20th century until today

At the beginning of the 20th century the artistic and intellectual life in Hungary flourished. Jewish artists experimented with different styles, like French Fauvism and Cubism, Italian Futurism, German Expressionism, and Soviet cinema and Constructivism. In the ’20s they faced rising antisemitism. When we look at present day Europe, we notice that antisemitism is far from gone. With our speakers we will discuss how antisemitism and anti-intellectualism rise and take a look at the past and the present.

In the 20th century, Europe was plagued by nationalism, war, and growing antisemitism. Jöel Cahen, former director of The Jewish Historical Museum, who co-curated the exhibition From Fauvism to Surrealism: Jewish Avant-Garde Artists from Hungary, will take us back to this period and give an introduction about artistic life in Hungary back then. What was life like for the artists back then and how did this change before and during the Second World War?

With that, we will talk about today’s Europe. When we look at present-day Europe, we notice that antisemitism and anti-intellectualism are far from gone. What is the situation currently like for Jewish citizens and for artists and intellectuals in Europe? We will discuss this with Agnes Heller, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, András Kovács, professor at the Nationalism Studies and Jewish Studies Program at the Central European University and with amongst others Ferenc Laczó, assistant professor in European History at Maastricht University.

Starting point for the program was the exhibition From Fauvism to Surrealism: Jewish Avant-Garde Artists from Hungary, that presents the innovative paintings of Jewish Hungarian artists from the first half of the 20th century. On show at the Jewish Historical Museum until the 24th of September.

This program is a cooperation between the Jewish Historical Museum and De Balie.
The program is supported by the Embassy of Hungary.