László Beke

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László Beke (23 May 1944, Szombathely - 31 January 2022) was an art historian, curator, and a leading figure in the Hungarian art field since the late 1960s. He was an active contributor to the development of the neo-avant-garde and Conceptual art in Hungary, and wrote important articles about the theory of photography.

Beke studied art history at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. From 1969-86 he was a research fellow in art history at the Research Institute for Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

In 1971, he initiated the project WORK=the DOCUMENTATION OF THE IMAGINATION/IDEA by sending a call to twenty-eight contemporary Hungarian artists—including Miklós Erdély, Tamás St. Turba, Endre Tót, and others—asking them to submit A4-sized works on paper in response to the concept of the work’s title. Beke arranged and preserved the sheets in folders, which were available for viewing in his apartment and only rarely in exhibitions. A comprehensive selection of these documents was published in 2008 and 2014.

In the 1990s, due to his status as an expert on Eastern European art, he curated shows that represented the region's Conceptualisms, such as the exhibition Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s-1980s, at the Queens Museum in New York in 1999.

He had been teaching at the University of Lyon 2 – Louis Lumiere (1988-1989) and was Chief Curator of the 19th and 20th Centuries collections of the Hungarian National Gallery (1988-1995) and General Director of Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle in Budapest (1995-2000). From 2000-2012, Beke was Director of the Research Institute of Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest. He was Professor at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and teaches in several Hungarian institutions. Ex-Member of the Hungarian National Committee of Art History and of AICA.

He lived in Budapest.


Books, catalogues[edit]

  • with Zsuzsa Varga, Kozma Lajos, Budapest: Akadémiai, 1968, 38 pp. (Hungarian)
  • Schaár Erzsébet, Budapest: Corvina, 1973, 93 pp. (Hungarian)
  • Bibó-emlékkönyv, 1980. (Hungarian)
  • Moholy-Nagy László munkássága, Budapest: Corvina, 1980, 16 pp. (Hungarian)
  • Jovánovics, Budapest: Képzőművészeti Alap, 1980, 30 pp. (Hungarian)
  • Sodronyzománcos ötvösművek, Budapest: MTA Művészettörténeti Kutató Csoport, 1980, 158 pp. (Hungarian)
  • Für ein “musée imaginaire” des Spiegels, Duisburg: Wilhelm-Lembruck-Museum, 1982. (German)
  • Hajas Tibor 1946-1980, Paris: Magyar Műhely - d’atelier, Paris, n.d.
  • Műalkotások elemzése, Budapest: Tankönyvkiadó, 1986, 435 pp. (Hungarian)
  • Caspar David Friedrich, Budapest: Corvina, 1986, 123 pp. (Hungarian)
  • with Miklós Peternák, Bódy Gábor, 1946-1985: életműbemutató / Gábor Bódy, 1946-1985: A Presentation of His Work, Budapest: Műcsarnok, 1987, 335 pp. Catalogue. (Hungarian)/(English)
  • Művészet/elmélet. Tanulmányok 1970-1991, Budapest: Balassi & BAE-Tartóshullám-Intermedia, 1994, 300 pp. (Hungarian)
  • with Dieter Ronté, Dóra Maurer, Arbeiten/Munkák/Works 1970-1993, Budapest: Present Time Foundation, 1994.
  • editor, Fluxus: definíciók és idézetek. Szöveggyűjtemény a Fluxus Németországban 1969-1994 című kiállításhoz, Budapest: Műcsarnok, 1996. (Hungarian)
  • Médium/elmélet. Tanulmányok 1972-1992, Budapest: Balassi & BAE-Tartóshullám-Intermedia, 1997. (Hungarian)
  • editor, Dadaizmus-antológia, Budapest: Balassi, 1998. (Hungarian)
  • Műalkotások elemzése I. Képzőművészet. Középiskola, 9. Évfolyam, Budapest: Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, 2002, 164 pp. (Hungarian)
  • Műalkotások elemzése II. Építészeti és tárgyi környezet, Budapest: Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, 2003, 168 pp. (Hungarian)
  • editor, Képkorbácsolás. Hajas Tibor Vető Jánossal készített fotómunkái / Image Whipping. Tibor Hajas’ Photo Works with János Vető, Budapest: MTA Művészettörténeti Kutatóintézet, 2004. (Hungarian)
  • with Katalin Néray, Tóth György, 2007. (Hungarian)
  • Elképzelés: A magyar koncept művészet kezdetei. Beke László gyűjteménye, 1971, Budapest: Open Structures Society & tranzit. hu, 2008. (Hungarian)
  • more, more

Essays, talks (selection)[edit]