One Murder + Two Films = Things Go Amok

***Update***The film opens in Poland on Friday March 24th 2017 WARSAW, POLAND—Krystian Bala’s murder trial in 2007 had all the ingredients for a blockbuster whodunit crime film.  The 34-year-old good looking, educated, best-selling Polish…

What to CEE at the Venice Biennale

VENICE, ITALY—I was running late. I needed to get to the Kosovo Pavilion to meet with the artist Petrit Halijaj, so I was blowing through room after room in the “Encyclopaedic Palace”, the official curated show at the Venice Biennale.…

Poland's "Lost Museum"

LONDON--A few years ago, a Polish friend and I had lunch in a cozy little café in Warsaw’s Powlisle district. Somehow during the lunch, we got on the subject of Poland’s lost art works that were stolen by the Nazis in World War II. I was…

Guest Edit: Budapest's Cultural Mismanagement

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY***--When I arrived at the Ludwig Museum—Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest on March 1, a colleague told me in a near whisper how the day before the Director of Finance had received a letter instructing that Barnabas Bencsik,…

We Are Pioneers

LONDON, UK—It’s been 20 years since Druha Trava first played the US and the Czech bluegrass/folk band are getting antsy to return there this autumn, in part to play songs from their 2011 English-language album “Shuttle to Bethlehem.”…

Finding New Ways to Connect in Kosovo

PRISTINA, KOSVO--***In June, Kosovo will make its pavilion debut at the Venice Biennale. Petrit Halilaj, a 26-year-old artist whose artistic talent of drawing simultaneously with both hands was first spotted at a refugee camp in Albania,…

Generation Unexpected

LONDON, UK--I first met Katka Reszke and her partner, Slawomir Grunberg, when I was working on a story about Jewish Poles involved in the arts. I happened to be in New York and they happened to also be in the city, having just moved to the suburbs.…

"The scene is really developing"

WARSAW, POLAND—**Polish theatre, which has always had a strong reputation in the country, has in the last few years been finding critical acclaim across Europe and North America thanks to vibrant experimental productions by talented young directors. Poznan's Biuro Podrozy

Clutching at Their Kafkas

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC***—Jan Mancuska makes terrible coffee. The 38 year-old Prague-based artist has just arrived back from a work trip in Berlin—he splits his time between the two cities—and he’s out of coffee filters. “We can pretend…

A Disappointing Documentary

LONDON, UK—There are few things I love more than a good documentary; when done really well, they can fascinate, compel and touch the soul. But when documentaries are done poorly they can leave a viewer wondering what was the point. “The…