Soros Center for Contemporary Art

The cast of villains in “Polyphonia: Social Commentary in Contemporary Hungarian Art” warrants some serious soul searching here in the land of the freed. You have the Museum Director who refused to mount the show because of the potentially politically incriminating ideas that might arise. You have the organizers, who, though they pushed the venue onto the streets (and into various other public places), insisted on inviting artists to submit proposals for works of a sociopolitical nature with the condition that they not consider “daily politics, concrete persons, institutions, interest groups, ideological trends and interests of the state” to be subjects within the “competence of art.” And finally you have some normally on-the-ball artists who capitulated to these milk-toast terms. That said, it wasn’t such a total bomb of a show, if the aspirations of individual artists count for anything

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