Kogart Contemporary Collection

Castle Garden Bazaar - Guards' Palace (Northern Palace)

Date: 18/May/2018 - 16/September/2018

The Kovács Gábor Art Foundation starts the summer with a new exhibition that offers an insight into the KOGART Contemporary Art Collection, which was established in 2007. Presenting seminal works of contemporary Hungarian art in the Palace of Guards at the Castle Garden Bazaar, the display has a dual concept. With the help of the Collection, the exhibition focuses on man—the individual and their surroundings—, as well as on the historical perspective that informs the development of the Collection.

KOGART has been staging exhibitions at the Palace of Guards since the autumn of 2015: the first display, a memorial studio that salutes painter Tibor Csernus has been open to the public ever since, and was to be followed by exhibitions like Szalay–Sokol–Picasso, Geishas by the Danube, and Artistic Life in Hódmezővásárhely 1900–1990.

The KOGART Contemporary Art Collection, which is the subject of the current display, was created through extensive cooperation, for emphatically public purposes, and has now fulfilled its mission for a decade. The Foundation is not the only one to present selections from the Collection: museums and galleries in Hungary and abroad have come to reckon with this rich trove of works, and more and more of them borrow works from the KOGART Contemporary Art Collection for their own exhibitions.

In the autumn of 2007, the Kovács Gábor Art Foundation announced an acquisition programme with the intention of supporting contemporary Hungarian art. The most important principle of this programme was historical, the goal being to represent the Hungarian visual art of the past more than fifty years with the works of eminently important, often epoch-making artists, as well as to take an assertive position with regard to the dilemma of what is Hungarian art, by purchasing works from Hungarian artists irrespective of their country of residence. These two intentions precluded preferences for particular styles. Every characteristic trend is of equal importance, as this is the only way to create a nuanced overview that reflects the events and tendencies that took place in reality.

In addition to the enlargement and management of the collection, the Foundation organized major charitable auctions each year, from separate funds, to benefit NGOs – active mostly in education and health care –, and to provide young artists with career starter grants and scholarships for study trips abroad. In addition to developing the collection and supporting young artists, the Kovács Gábor Art Foundation is also committed to the education of younger generations, and will devote even more attention to this mission in the coming years.

This commitment is reflected in the cooperation that began in the spring of 2018, between the Foundation and the Eötvös József Grammar School, Budapest: the initiative is about offering a new, exemplary kind of arts education, which is developed with the active participation of the students themselves. By having a first-hand experience of the Foundation’s activity, they stand a fair chance of getting to know and like contemporary and classical art. In the course of this collaboration, the students take part in the popularization of the Foundation’s exhibitions, such as the current one, and help to plan and realize the associated events.