Soros Center for Contemporary Arts Budapest

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Operated 1985/1991-1996 in Budapest.

Between 1992 and 1999, the SCCA Network functioned as part of the Soros Foundations network, with a mission to support the development and international exposure of contemporary art in Eastern and Central Europe, the countries of the former Soviet Union, and Central Eurasia as a vital element of an open society.

At the end of 1999, the members of the SCCA Network created ICAN: International Contemporary Art Network, registered in The Netherlands as a public benefit association. C3: Center For Culture and Communication, which was registered as an independent foundation at about the same time, is a founding member of ICAN.


1985-1991. Soros Foundation Fine Arts Documentation Center

The Soros Foundation Fine Arts Documentation Center was established in 1985 in the Budapest Mûcsarnok (Kunsthalle), as cooperation between the Mûcsarnok and Soros Foundation Hungary. The framework of the Soros Foundation, in the area of fine arts, was to support modern Hungarian culture which was banned or at least forced into the background by official cultural policies; in essence, support those Hungarian artists in “counter-culture” circles. It assisted avant-garde spirited art through scholarships, purchases, and helped in the organization of exhibitions and the publication of catalogues. The Fine Arts Documentation Center, under the direction of an Advisory Board, functioned as a resource center offering information on twentieth century Hungarian artists to students, scholars, collectors and dealers from within Hungary and from abroad. Slides, photographs, biographical data, catalogues, press clippings and bibliographies were collected and compiled at the Center. The commencement of such an activity was of vital importance at that point in time when the authoritative gestures of cultural policy (that categorized arts as those supported, those tolerated and those banned, according to prescribed criteria regarding both content and style) had already begun to break down, yet there was not much support for progressive art, especially not for making visual documentation of important oeuvres and art events.

1991-1996. Soros Center for Contemporary Arts (SCCA), Budapest

In 1991, the Center expanded its activities under the name SCCA, and in addition to the preparation of comprehensive documentations, organized exhibitions and different art projects, managed a grants program for contemporary Hungarian artists and arts institutions to support the organization of contemporary art exhibitions and the printing of catalogues. From June 1996, with the creation of the C3: Center for Culture and Communication, the activities of the SCCA have been incorporated in the programs of C3. The artists' portfolios and the audiovisual database as well as the up-to-date collection of international information have been continuously placed on the on-line arts magazine, exindex, launched by C3.

From the end of 1991 until 1999, 19 additional SCCAs were opened in 17 Central and Eastern European countries, with goals and activities similar to the Budapest SCCA. The SCCAs were open art centers maintaining information on international grants, scholarships, arts programs, competitions, exhibitions and other events. They also offered the visual arts community a library of exhibition catalogues of local artists' work and a collection of contemporary arts publications. Most SCCAs organized an annual exhibition of local contemporary art and offered a grants program for artists living in their catchment area. In order to increase the international art world's access to the contemporary art of Eastern and Central Europe, each SCCA maintained comprehensive documentation on significant artists in its country and published information about its work on websites and the Internet. A vital element in the work of the SCCAs was the educational program, including the organization of seminars, conferences and lectures, the provision of grants to attend conferences or take up internships abroad.



  • Architektonikus gondolkodás ma / Architectonic Visions Today, eds. Katalin Néray and Suzanne Mészöly, Budapest: Soros Foundation Fine Art Documentation Center: Műcsarnok, 1990. Catalogue for exh. held 2 Aug-2 Sep 1990, 55 pp. [1] (Hungarian)/(English)
  • Interrupted Dialogue: Revisions: Contemporary Hungarian Art, eds. Suzanne Meszoly and Richard Grayson, Adelaide: Experimental Art Foundation, and Budapest: Soros Foundation: Műcsarnok, 1992, 47 pp. Catalogue for exh. held at Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, 28 Feb-21 Mar 1992. Contributors: Richard Grayson, Lajos Németh, Suzanne Mészöly, László Beke, János Sugár. Festival guide. [6] [7] (English)
  • Soros Centers for Contemporary Arts, 1993. Newsletter printed for the SCCA launch in Venice. (English)
  • Több mint tíz / More Than Ten. 84-94, Budapest: Soros Kortárs Mûvészeti Központ, and Budapest: Ludwig Múzeum, 1994, 46 pp. Catalogue for exh. to mark the tenth anniversary of the Soros Foundation Center for Contemporary Art. Held at Ludwig Múzeum, Budapest, 30 Sep-23 Oct 1994. [13] [14] (Hungarian)/(English)
  • V = A x Ω. A Soros Alapítvány Kortárs Mûvészeti Központ éves kiállítása, Csók István Képtár, Székesfehérvár, eds. Andrea Szekeres and János Szoboszlai, Budapest: Soros Kortárs Mûvészeti Központ, 1994, 78 pp. Catalogue for the annual exhibition of the Soros Foundation Center for Contemporary Art, held at Csók István Képtár, Székesfehérvár, 3 Dec 1994-29 Jan 1995. [15] [16] (Hungarian)

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