Prague's Only Guide With Style...

 

Welcome to the Archives of Velvet Magazine! For those of you who might not know, Velvet was Prague's first city magazine and sadly published just a few issues. I, Jeffree from Think Magazine, designed the very last issue of Velvet, which was killed the day it was to go to press... and thus, I turned my attention to making Think. A lot of the contact, adresses and business information here is too old to be useful, but why not take a walk down memory lane and enjoy yourself?


By Susannah Rosenstock

n the corner of Celetna and Ovocny trh, the iconic sculpture of the Black Madonna and her child stand guard at Josef Gocar's monument to Cubism - The House of the Black Madonna. Commissioned in 1911 as a department store/cafe/restaurant, Gocar's masterpiece proves that there was a significant period in Czech architecture that fell between the construction of the Charles Bridge and the glass-encased Bata building. It was recently restored to its original Cubist splendor, and now serves as one of three branches of the Czech Museum of Fine Arts.

Upon buying a ticket be prepared to take the elevator to the top floor and walk down. It you've been to New York's spiraling Guggenheim Museum, the procedure should be familiar. Housed in the top two floors is the museum's permanent collection of Cubist art, it's sort of like walking into a "Cubist showroom" at a department store where complete home furnishings and coordinated art are grouped together. All the furnishings, paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, tea sets, and vases reflect elements of the Cubist style and, if for sale, could furnish a geometric, Escheresque fantasy apartment.

The bulk of the furniture is designed by Gocar. A wooden writing desk with angled legs perches like an elegant spider, as if protecting its contents. Other pieces include a dressing table, bedside table, sideboard, bookcase, and two pairs of not very comfortable looking chairs. These pieces all defy traditional notions of the ninety-degree angle principle. The [must-have-that-in-my-apartment piece is Gocar's movie-star sofa: a heavy, black wooden frame whose angled back and arms seem to reach out to all corners of the gallery, with dense, inviting, brocade cushions.

Surrounding the furniture are paintings by the big guns of Czech Cubism: Bohumil Kubista, Josef Capek, Emil Filla, and Antonin Prochazka. Portraits and still-lifes borrow from Picasso's shifting planes and complex spatial structures, yet some pieces exchange his muted Cubist palette for a more saturated Expressionist one.

Cubist sculpture is represented by the works of Otto Guareund whose bronze figures twist and writhe as if struggling to escape from their original mass of unmolded material. The showroom is rounded out by Cubist theater and stage designs, photographs of Gocar and Josef Chochol's other Cubist buildings, as well as cups and saucers in which to serve Cubist tea to your Cubist friends as they relax in Cubist chairs.

The House of the Black Madonna represents the breadth of a unique and short-lived period within Czech art, architecture, and design. While guarding the building, Black Madonna can be imagined observing the city's skyline now dotted with cranes and wondering what new period of architecture will emerge from Prague's post communist construction boom.

Dom U Cerne Matky Bozi (House of the Black Madonna) Celetni 34, Prague 1

 

 

Cover credits

  Pg. 07 Editor's Letter
  Pg. 09 FIRST: Ghost Busker
  Pg. 10 The King is Dead
  Pg. 10 Kik's Kaka
  Pg. 11 Trick of the Trade
  Pg. 11 Telephone Obsessive
  Pg. 12 The H.O.G.s are here
  Pg. 12 Fugazers
  Pg. 13 Windex
  Pg. 14-15 POLAROID: Laurie Anderson
  Pg. 17 Letter From L.A.
  Pg. 18-19 6 Kc and Peace of Mind
  Pg. 20-23 Velvet Devolution
  Pg. 24-27 FASHION: Cafe Couture
  Pg. 31 REVIEW: Jiri David's "Hidden Image"
  Pg. 32 Czech Cubism 1911-1919
  Pg. 33 REVIEW: Klub Lavka
  Pg. 33 REVIEW: Subway Club
  Pg. 34 MUSIC: The Ecstacy of St. Theresa
  Pg. 36 RESTAURANTS: Here's the Boeuf
  Pg. 37 RESTAURANTS: Comedy Cafe Akropolis
  Pg. 42 COFFEE: Meduza Kavarna
  Pg. 43 ALTERNAMALL: Jilska 22
  Pg. 44 SHOPS: Ligne Roset
  Pg. 45 Above & Beyond
  Pg. 47-48 BOOKS: Expat Mixed Bag
  Pg. 50-51 MUSIC REVIEWS
  Pg. 54-55 MOVIES: Karlovy? Very.
  Pg. 52 Scene
  Pg. 53 LAST: Intro to Cool.
   
 

Volume 1, Number 1
August 1995

Editor and Publisher MICHAEL WAYNE JR.

Executive Editor CHRISTOPHER HOLLAND

Senior Editors
WALTER R. DEVINE, JOYCE-ANN GATSOULIS

Associate Editor
SUSANNAH ROSENSTOCK

Editorial Assistants
HELENA SIPKOVA
MAURA GEDID

Contributing Editors NICHOLE ACHS
OMRI BEN-AMOS
MATT WELCH

Contributing Writers RADHA BURGESS, LOU CHARBONNEAU, DAVID FREELING, JOHN HECK, MARKETA JIRASKOVA, ANNE RENAHAN, JENNIFER TORPIE, LAURA ZAM


Creative Director GERMAIN E. DESEVE

Senior Designer
CLARE MANIAS

Production Associates STEVE ROWLAND
D.A. STRUBLE

Staff Photographer ZUZANA OPLATKOVA

Contributing Photographers
SEAN GALLUP,
AHMED RAHIM

Publicity
MICHELLE LEGGE


Advertising Director CHRISTOPHER LOVERING


The Prague Review s.r.o.

CEO: NICOLAS R. PERKlN

CFO: DAN ROSE

COO: MICHAEL WAYNE JR.

Main Offices:
Velvet Towers East
Zitna 30, 120 00 Prague 2

Editorial: 24 22 29 37
Production: 24 22 30 35
Advertising: 24 23 23 04
Voicemail: 430 430 ext. 82

Velvet is a publication of the Prague Review, s.r.o. (c) 1995, The Prague Review, s.r.o. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited by law.

Printed in the Czech Republic.

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