History of an Idea, 1950 – 2000

€ 48.00

Date of publication April 2023

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History of an Idea, 1950 – 2000

Ed. Russell Ferguson, Kunsthalle Praha, text(s) by Russell Ferguson, graphic design by Studio Najbrt


2023. 224 pp., 130 ills.


18.00 x 26.50 cm

ISBN 978-3-7757-5466-8

From its origins in mid-nineteenth-century Paris, the idea of bohemia has been a powerful and persistent component of artistic identity. While artists have always in part had a reputation for living outside societal norms, it was here that such a way of life was first codified and romanticized. The concept of bohemia quickly achieved an international currency, and after the Second World War it emerged in many different places around the world.

Bohemia: History of an Idea, 1950–2000 looks at the differences and the continuities in a variety of these scenes. It concludes at the end of the twentieth century, when commodity culture began to erode a way of life predicated on its refusal. The bohemian idea nevertheless still offers an alternative to conformity, and for that reason still exerts a fascination. Even from out of the past, it still beckons with ways of living that continue to galvanize and inspire.

Published to accompany a major exhibition at the Kunsthalle Praha, this book includes discussion of important works by a diverse range of artists, including Stan Douglas, Ed van der Elsken, Nan Goldin, Tomislav Gotovac, Peter Hujar, Libuše Jarcovjáková, Alice Neel, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Zhang Huan, among many others.

RUSSELL FERGUSON is a research professor at the University of California’s Art Department. During his tenure at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, he curated numerous exhibitions on culture and representation in contemporary art and photography.

Kunsthalle Praha, Czech Republic,

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