25 March - 1 September 2020
The Kassák Museum is temporarily closed due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak. To make the museum visible during these extraordinary times, we made our publications accessible online for free. Our most recent exhibition catalogues and other publications are available through the links below.
Older exhibition catalogues of the Kassák Museum, published between 1976 and 2010 and edited by former directors Ferenc Csaplár and Gábor Andrási, are available in the online database of the Arcanum Hungaricana Library. You can discover Kassák’s artistic and literary oeuvre through many excellent publications, including a monographic volume on Kassák’s works in advertisement and modern typography, in English and German. Most of these catalogues are available in Hungarian and English, but several German, French, Italian, and Rumanian catalogues are also included.
One of Kassák’s most fascinating avant-garde poems is the 500-lines long A ló meghal a madarak kirepülnek (The Horse Dies the Birds Fly Away) from 1922. The autobiographical poem tells the story of Kassák’s loitering through Europe in 1909. Since its first publication, the poem has been translated into thirteen languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Serbian, Slovakian, Polish, Rumanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hebrew and Japanese. We have collected and published Kassák’s poem in all available languages on this microsite.
The current permanent exhibition of the Kassák Museum opened in 2011. The exhibition provides a comprehensive view of the versatile oeuvre, the editorial, artistic and literary activities and the public roles of Lajos Kassák, the leader of Hungarian avant-garde. The exhibition, curated by Edit Sasvári and Judit Csatlós, is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated exhibition guide, designed by Imre Lepsényi. Two infographics of our permanent exhibition, now available online, show the diverse international connections and the rich literary work of Kassák.
We have published our catalogue Circles of Interference in 2012, in collaboration with the Collection Marinko Sudac and the Institute for the Research of the Avant-Garde in Zagreb. The focus of this catalogue is the cultural exchange between the avant-garde periodicals MA (Today) and Zenit (Zenith), two magazines that were among the most influential in the region at the beginning of the 1920s. The essays analyse issues of networking and the aesthetics of Constructivism that had a strong impact on the cultural life of Yugoslavia in the interwar period.
The volume Signal to the World – War ∩ Avant-Garde ∩ Kassák was published to accompany our 2015 temporary exhibition, focusing onLajos Kassák’s first avant-garde magazine, A Tett (The Action), published in 1915 and 1916. The essays of this catalogue focus on the artistic, historical and political context of Kassák’s magazine. We also prepared a virtual version of this exhibition, where you can find out, for example, why did Kassák publish an African mask, a Futurist poem and a Pacifist manifesto in the same issue of his magazine.
For those interested in the international networks of avant-garde magazines during the 1920s, we offer the proceedings of our 2015 conference Local Contexts / International Networks: Avant-Garde Journals in East-Central Europe. All twelve excellent essays of this volume dig deep into the twists and turns of interwar avant-garde networking – focusing not only on Kassák, but also on magazines published in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland. For more detailed essays on Kassák’s avant-garde networks, you can also visit the Academia.edu websites of Gábor Dobó and Merse Pál Szeredi, researchers of the Kassák Museum.
The catalogue of our 2016 exhibition Vízizrí – Workers’ Culture on the Banks of the Danube, edited by Judit Csatlós, examines the role played in workers’ culture by the Friends of Nature Ramblers’ Association and the camping site at Horány on Szentendre Island in the period between the two world wars. Here, “culture” means the aggregate of meanings, everyday customs, special occasions, and material culture. These formed the participants’ view of the world and created and re-created their conception of self-identity. At the centre of workers’ culture was workers’ self-definition, self-improvement and self-organisation, or in other words, the development and nurturing of their identity. It was a new form of community activity where the changing identities within workers’ culture and the ideas attaching to them could be elaborated and debated.
One of our most recent publications is Art in Action, a richly illustrated collection of essays. The volume provides an introduction to Lajos Kassák’s avant-garde magazines, edited in Budapest and Vienna between 1915 and 1927. Kassák’s magazines, entitled A Tett, MA, 2×2 and Dokumentum (Document), were the most important publications of the Hungarian avant-garde movement. The essays were written by members of the avant-garde research group hosted by the Kassák Museum, and the volume is illustrated by Klára Rudas’s designs for our past exhibitions.
Edit Sasvári and Franciska Zólyom curated a temporary exhibition on the work of Lajos Kassák during the 1920s at the Berlinische Galerie in 2011, entitled Botschafter der Avantgarde (Ambassador of the Avant-Garde). The exhibition’s German-language catalogue provides an overview of the international networks of Kassák (see the essay by Éva Forgács), and presents Imre Pán’s works and his curious avant-garde art collection for the first time (see Júlia Cserba’s essay).
In 2017, the Kassák Museum presented the art of Karl-Heinz Adler, in cooperation with the Kiscell Museum. The catalogue of these two exhibitions was published with the title Sonderwege. Karl-Heinz Adler und die ungarische Abstraktion. The Dresden-based artist Karl-Heinz Adler, who died in 2018, was a significant figure of German Serial and Concrete art. The exhibition and the catalogue sheds light on the parallelisms and differences that characterized views on abstraction in the political and artistic spheres of Germany and Hungary.
Some of Kassák’s writings and poems from the 1920s were also published in German at the time, and two of his important publications are available as facsimiles published by the Kassák Museum. The Bildarchitektur Manifest (Manifesto of Picture-Architecture) was originally published in 1921, and introduces a special interpretation of Constructivism that Kassák created in his Vienna exile years. Kassák’s first German collection of poems was published by the Berlin-based Expressionist magazine Der Sturm (The Storm) in 1923, entitled MA-Buch. This volume features a representative selection of Kassák’s Expressionist and Dadaist poems, translated by his colleague Endre Gáspár. Kassák also published several German-language special issues of his magazine Ma during the 1920, including one focusing on Bauhaus design and architecture, and another dealing with avant-garde music and theatre art – these are available scanned by the Austrian National Library.
In the name of the staff of the Kassák Museum, we wish you pleasant reading, good health in these trying times, and hope to see you soon again in Budapest.