The Second Year

J&T Banka Art Index 2015

In its second year, the J&T Banka Art Index experienced only partial changes. The top positions did not change, but ten new names appeared in the top 100. Some artists moved up the chart, even by several dozen places, while the point scores of many others changed significantly.

The index, which is prepared by J&T Banka in co-operation with the ART+ portal, is an attempt at an unbiased description of developments on the current art scene and ranks Czech artists born after 1950 according to their active participation in art activities. The index is based on the assumption that one cannot objectively measure the value of art itself, but one can assess the success rate of an artist’s career. The index factors in participation in exhibitions, biennales and other art events (e.g. a monograph or public installation), art awards, and presence in galleries. Overall, it contains eight various categories.


The resulting awarding of points only involves events that have taken place over the past ten years. The monitored period thus gradually progresses, with events from between 2005 and 2014 being included in this year’s assessment. In other words, events from last year were added to last year’s results, and any points for 2004 were deducted. This is what makes the J&T Banka Art Index different from foreign art indexes that usually work cumulatively for an artist’s entire career. The J&T Banka Art Index is designed primarily as a report on the current state of the Czech art scene, not as a final assessment of the importance and artistic qualities of individual artists.


Sales prices, whether achieved at auctions or charged for sales through galleries, are not one of the criteria and have no influence on the final placement. The success rate of an artist in the market may be an important piece of information for potential collectors and investors, but this is an area for which relevant data is not available. The input data on exhibitions and other art events is drawn from Internet databases and the separate artists’ websites and their galleries. Some of the point variations are also due to new information about older exhibitions that do not appear in basic art databases and by a finer calibration of the evaluation of individual events (points are not awarded mechanically, but the nature of the event and the significance of the organising institution are factored in).


J&T Banka Art Index 2015


Even though the top 10 positions remained almost unchanged – the only new development being the move by Jiří David from 11th to 10th position – it is certainly not just a repetition of the results from the previous year. Many artists confirmed their presence in the top 10 with important exhibitions last year. Jiří Kovanda had two exhibitions in leading Czech exhibition institutions, The Brno House of Arts and City Gallery Prague, and several smaller exhibitions abroad. In co-operation with the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Kateřina Šedá further developed her project concerning Bedřichovice, which she moved to London just for a weekend three years ago, and prepared an event for Los Altos, California, under the auspices of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Among other things, Eva Koťátková received the prestigious Dorothea von Stetten Art Award, bestowed biannually by Kunstmuseum Bonn to artists under 36 years of age. Zbyněk Baladrán continued a series of smaller exhibitions at home and abroad that won him the title Personality of the Year 2014, bestowed by Art+Antiques magazine and the portal based on the voting of an expert jury.


Krištof Kintera had a large exhibition from June to September at Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland. No other contemporary Czech artist in their 40s had ever had a large exhibition in such a renowned museum institution abroad before. The exhibition was entitled I Am Not You and essentially repeated the layout used three years ago at the Municipal Library in Prague; however, having been transferred to a new environment and within a different context, it received a new stimulus. Its success is also proven by the fact that Kintera is preparing a repeat performance for Kunsthal Rotterdam, where it will be on display from the end of February to the beginning of June this year.


Among artists whose names were in last year’s top 100, František Skála and Vladimír Houdek improved the most year-on-year. Skála, who celebrated his 59th birthday at the beginning of February, is one of the oldest artists on the index, whereas Houdek (in his 30s) is one of the youngest ones. Whereas Skála, a former member of the Tvrdohlaví group, is now in the position of a living classic artist, Houdek is an example of a young artist on the rise. Last year, Skála had two exhibitions in regional galleries in Jihlava and Pardubice and implemented the Garden of Eden project for the Sluňákov ecological centre, which he describes as “a combination of a monastic herb garden and a country estate within the architecture of a boat”. Vladimír Houdek, who entered the art scene vigorously just five years ago, is one of the most talented and most sought-after young painters. Last year, he had exhibitions at the Plato Gallery in Ostrava, the Richard Adam Gallery in Brno, and the Berlin gallery which represents him, Schleicher/Lange.



General indices with regard to sex, age and preferred art technique are very similar to last year. There are only 20 women in the top 100, and only three of them in the top 10. Two-thirds of the artists were born after 1970 and three artists will turn thirty only this year. The most common art form is painting, with more than 40 artists using one painting medium or another. However, we won’t find any painter in the top 10, as the conceptual approach to artistic creation prevails.


As with any index, the J&T Banka Art Index is a simplified description of a very complex situation. One cannot automatically equate the quality of an artist’s work with his/her position on the index. A high position does not necessarily mean that the artist in question is more important than someone placed lower or not in the top 100. Had such a chart existed during the First Republic, for example, it is highly probable that someone like František Kupka would be positioned somewhere in the bottom half, as in the interwar era his work was not frequently exhibited. The Index should primarily be perceived as a report on how visible an artist is on the current scene and how much he/she exhibits in renowned institutions.


The J&T Banka Art Index is understood as a report for the broader public. It can help potential collectors and investors who are considering an acquisition of contemporary art orient themselves on the current art scene. Whereas abroad with a certain simplification one can define something like a general profile of a prospective young artist – one who exhibited in such and such gallery, participated in such and such group exhibitions – in our case it is much more difficult with regard to the problematic situation of central museum institutions and the relatively underdeveloped gallery scene. The J&T Banka Art Index provides certain guidelines for beginning collectors. However, in the end, each collector makes his/her own decisions based on his/her own judgments and criteria when acquiring a work of art.


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