Economical Art - New Acquisitions

Ludwig Museum, until 14 June

Tues.-Sun. 10:00-18:00,1200 ft
Komor Marcell u. 1 [map]
Pest, IX, Boraros tér (T 4,6), 8 min
Art, in times of economic desperation, might appear frivolous, and spending copious amounts of money on it can seem downright wrong. That’s one way of looking at it. The other: art is an essential means of escape, especially in times like these. The folks at the Ludwig Museum take the latter view, as you would expect, but it looks like they're scraping around in their pockets like the rest of us.

The art that comprises New Acquisitions is mostly what they’ve purchased in the past couple of years and is all contemporary, if not the newest in new. Pieces by Hungarian artists make up most of the show, but there are several works from artists around the world including Chinese artist, Csi Peng, whose “
True And False Money King” might hint at a fitting theme.

Alas, the selection of photography, painting, sculpture, collage, and video seems to have everything but unity. An exhibition of recent acquisitions is bound to be a mixed bag but here the emphasis is most definitely on the 'mixed'. The neon piece, “Little Warsaw” doesn’t really tie in with Péter Gémes’s brilliant, pictogram-esque large-scale black and white negatives, nor Antal Lakner’s comical “Passive Working Devices” (above, right). But then again, nothing meshes.

Something that always tends to wear me out at these group shows is the sheer amount of video work on display.
I feel like an A.D.D. kid inside a Chuck E. Cheese that’s inside of a Toys R Us that’s inside of a McDonald’s PlayPlace. Then, when you get to watch them, it suddenly transforms into a series of 5-15 minutes comas... and New Acquisitions has 7 of them.
Throughout the exhibition, no single piece really stands out as envelope-pushing or jaw-droppingly, mind-blowingly amazing. That said, the pieces do make for a reasonable discourse on Hungarian art and its place within the larger spectrum of contemporary art. Thanks to the economic crisis, it would seem that LUMU is keeping things up longer than usual, giving you until mid-June to check it out. So it's not exactly essential and there's no rush: just see if you can scrape together enough forints from the cracks in your couch.

Jacob P.


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