LONDON–The Polish Twittersphere went slightly mad on January 15. Not only had the film “Ida”been nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars, but Poland’s entry also had been nominated in the category for Best Cinematography. There were ecstatic comments by proud Poles (and other fans of the film) that this award was competing against the big Hollywood guns for the prize. The film, shot in black and white with the vast majority of the scenes using only one angle, does have a masterpiece quality to it, feeling very art house and intimate. Set in the early 1960s in post-war communist Poland, the film is based around a young novice nun who learns that she is Jewish and her family were killed during the war. Read more
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WARSAW, Poland — As with so many really good and really bad ideas, this one was conceived over a few beers.
Marta Kolakowska was sitting one evening in the upstairs office of her Warsaw art gallery, Leto, with two of her artists, Radek Szlaga and Honza Zamojski, talking half-seriously about applying to the Frieze Art Fair’s inaugural New York show in May 2012. Read more
WARSAW, POLAND –Warsaw has long been seen as the ugly stepsister of Krakow. While Krakow gets all the invites and accolades—pretty, special, sweet—the Polish capital is forgotten, seen as nondescript and cold. But scratch beneath the surface and Warsaw is a dynamic and lovely old gal. Read more
BELGRADE, Serbia — Around Belgrade, they are jokingly referred to as Megatrendusas — a take on the Serbian word “namigusa,” meaning flirty and a dig at the alleged frivolity of some of the more fashion-conscious female students attending the private Megatrend University, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
Controversies have swirled for years around Megatrend, which offers degrees in everything from media to economics and has campuses across Serbia.
When Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the late Libyan leader, was granted an honorary doctorate in 2007, Srbijanka Turajlic — the then deputy minister for higher education — was quoted as saying, “This is not something this university should be proud of.” Read more
by Ginanne Brownell
Almost two years ago London’s Victoria and Albert Museum held an exhibition titled Cold War Modern, examining how the U.S. and the countries of the former Eastern bloc were fighting a proxy war in the world of design. Besides the obvious geopolitical aspects of the show, I was most intrigued by how much of the region’s design I had never seen before. Well, that’s all over now. Designers from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have become increasingly ubiquitous, making creative waves in some of the world’s biggest markets. In April, London’s Mint gallery held a monthlong exhibition called Chez Czech, which featured Czech glass and ceramics. At Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in May, designers like Slovenia’s Nika Zupanc and Hungary’s János Hübler created some serious buzz with their avant-garde pieces, and the Polish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo features building structures made from paper cutouts—an ironic nod to iconic Polish folk art. Read more