Basis Voor Actuele Kunst
basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht (BAK) is a leading international platform for theoretically informed, politically driven art and experimental research. Based in Utrecht, BAK addresses the social, ideological, and environmental urgencies of the present by combining public programming and exhibition making with research, learning, and talent development. Working with communities involved in arts, activisms, and academia—and bringing artists, scholars, and members of the precarious classes together—BAK cultivates art as a public sphere and a space for politico-aesthetic experiments.
Maria Hlavajova is founding General and Artistic Director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, since 2000. In 2008–2016 she was Research and Artistic Director of FORMER WEST, which she initiated and developed as an internationally collaborative research, education, publication, and exhibition project, culminating with the publication Former West: Art and the Contemporary After 1989 (co-edited with Simon Sheikh (BAK & MIT Press, 2017). Hlavajova has instigated and (co-)organized numerous projects at BAK and beyond, including the series Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–ongoing), Future Vocabularies (2014–2017), New World Academy (with artist Jonas Staal, 2013–2016), among many other international research projects. In 2011, Hlavajova organized the Roma Pavilion titled Call the Witness in the context of the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice and in 2007 she curated the Dutch Pavilion Citizens and Subjects at the 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice. In 2000, Hlavajova co-curated Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana, titled Borderline Syndrome: Energies of Defense. In addition, Hlavajova is co-founder (with Kathrin Rhomberg) of the tranzit network, a foundation that supports exchange and contemporary art practices in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Previously, she was a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (1998–2002), and director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts in Bratislava (1994–1999).