Otto M. Urban

Czech art historian, curator of many important exhibitions. Writer. Member of band DekadentFabrik. 


Thus spoke LaChapelle

Otto M. Urban

Exhibition Catalogue,

Arbor vitae, Řevnice / Pavleye Art and Culture, Praha1490 CZKCzech, English274 pagesISBN: 978-80-87164-86-0

Thus spoke LaChapelle


Catalogue includes the reproductions of all exhibited works and texts by Otto M. Urban.

Texts / Otto M. Urban

Translation / Barbora Štefanová, Keith Jones
Graphic design / Robert V. Novák
Editors / Irena Lehkoživová, Hana Kosáková

Exhibition  of David LaChapelle in gallery Rudolfinum, Prague

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Joel-Peter Witkin / Vanitas

Otto M. Urban

  • Graphics: Robert V. Novák


The American photographer Joel-Peter Witkin (born 1939 in Brooklyn) has been one of the most outstanding representatives in the world of photography since the end of the 1970s. His stylized black and white images are included in all major photography collections around the world. Witkin focuses mainly on still-life and portraiture. His work presents a unique view of the contemporary world and he often works with references to religious themes (the crucifixion, saints, etc.) as well as to classical painting (Francisco Goya, Odilon Redon, Joan Miró, Hieronymus Bosch, etc.). His art has influenced a number of other artists (e. g. Erwin Olaf, Jake and Dinos Chapman) and musicians (Diamanda Galás, Trent Reznor). Also thanks to the work of Joel-Peter Witkin the concept of decadence and the decadent has recently emerged more and more in relation to contemporary art. The book represents a cross section of the artist’s work since the 1970s to the present. In addition to photographs, lesser-known drawings and paintings are also included in the book. For the very first time, this monograph presents a collection of Witkin’s latest photographs, his retablos, created over the last three years. The monograph, in English and in Czech, with a text by the art historian Otto M. Urban summarizes the development of Witkin’s life and work.

  • Edition: Monographs and Catalogues
  • Year of publication: 2011
  • Number of pages: 164
  • Number of illustrations and supplements: 93
  • Format: 220 x 260 mm
  • Binding: V4
  • Number of copies:
  • ISBN: 978-80- 87164-72-3
  • EAN code:
  • Availability: Available
  • Price (inc. VAT): CZK

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Decadence Now! Visions of Excess, Otto M. Urban Graphics: Robert V. Novák, Editor: Otto M. Urban

Decadence is a hot topic in contemporary culture, or better said, it has recently re-gained importance. The apocalyptic feeling of decline and crisis in our civilisation has stimulated an increased interest in the dark side of the human soul and the world itself. Since the 1970s we have seen continuing attempts in contemporary art to work with characteristically decadent themes: alienation, deviation, depression, perversion, horror, ugliness, beauty, hallucinations, death, suicide, decay, narcissism, pornography, violence, narcotics, illness, madness.

book nomnated in the contest "Most Beautiful Czech Book of the Year"

In Morbid Colours: Art and the Idea of Decadence in the Bohemian Lands 1880-1914Otto M. Urban, Luboš Merhaut, Daniel Vojtěch

The monograph Decadence: In Morbid Colours, published in conjunction with the exhibition by the same name held at the Municipal House, presents for the first time – even in Europe – the specific part of the art scene at the turn of the century influenced by the idea of decadence. Authors covered include: Max Pirner, Hanuš Schwaiger, Beneš Knüpfer, Jakub Schikaneder, František Bílek, Karel Hlaváček, Max Švabinský, Alfons Mucha, Jan Preisler, František Kaván, František Kobliha, Jan Zrzavý, Josef Váchal and many more. The phenomenon of decadence is interpreted by three critics: Daniel Vojtěch from a philosophical and historical point of view; Luboš Merhaut from a literary point of view; and the editor of the book, Otto M. Urban, from the point of view of art history. The illustration section is divided into 4 subsections: Gloomy, Debauched, Morose; The Demon Love; Satanic Hallucinations and Purgatory of Death...more 

Dekadence, Bohemian Lands 1880-1914 Otto M.Urban

web of the exhibition

The catalogue Decadence, Bohemian Lands 1880-1914 is published on the occasion of presidency of the Czech Republic in the Council of the European Union and on the occasion of an accompanying exhibition held in Hôtel de Ville, the main Brussels city hall, and in the Musée provincial Félicien Rops in Namur, Belgium. The catalogue discusses modern Czech art influenced by the ideas of Decadence, and places it in larger European context. It is divided into four sections: Gloomy, Amoral and Morose; The Demon of Love; Satanic Hallucinations and Purgatory of Death. It focuses on authors traditionally linked with the Decadent movement, such as Karel Hlaváček but also on their predecessors, artists of the Prague German community who were also directly influenced by Decadence (Hugo Steiner-Prag, Emil Orlik, Ferdinand Staeger) and, finally, on the works of some Austrian artists who had intensive contacts with Czech culture (Alfred Kubin).  

Alfred Kubin – Rhythm and Construction, Petr Wittlich, Otto M. Urban, Ingeborg Habereder, translation: Klára Humhalová, Katrin Wippich-Roháčková, Jana Zoubková

Alfréd Kubin (1877-1959) was a painter, graphic artist, writer and creator of an original art style combining the ideas of symbolism and the morphology of expressionism. The book Rhythm and Construction was published in conjunction with the exhibition by the same name, organized by the Egon Schiele Art Centre in Český Krumlov. It is the first monograph on Kubin’s work in the Czech language. After graduating from the Munich Academy, Kubin started to collaborate with members of the Vienna and Berlin art noveau movements. He met and befriended the painters Paul Klee and Max Klinger and the writers Thomas Mann, Gustav Meyrink and Franz Kafka. His first exhibition in Bohemia took place in 1905. The emphasis in the book is not only on the illustrations - the individual essays deal not only with Kubin’s work in the perspective of art history, but also with the Litoměřice native’s relationship to his homeland and also with his seminal literary work. Of great value is the anthology of his texts. The book contains a list of exhibitions and a comprehensive bibliography.

Karel Hlaváček, Artwork and CriticismOtto M. Urban, editor Otto M. Urban

Karel Hlaváček (1874-1898) is well known as an impressive poet and one of the foremost representatives of symbolism and decadence in the circle around the magazine Moderní revue (Modern Revue). The art historian Otto M. Urban focuses mainly on Hlaváček’s own art and criticism, presenting its characteristic features and exceptionality and its position within the Czech and European contexts. He shows the depth of the level at which the author’s sensitive personality, his life, his art and his stylization all connect. The book contains an edition of Hlaváček’s critical texts dedicated primarily to fine art. As for illustrations, it covers almost the entire oeuvre including drawings, illustrations and book art. It revives self-portraits, spiritual landscapes and dream worlds of Karel Hlaváček, his “insatiable thirst for something new, better, delicate and subtle”.


Edvard Munch - Being on One’s Own (paintings, diaries, responses), Otto M. Urban, translation Jarka Vrbová (translation of Munch's diaries) editor Tomáš Vrba

he book, prepared by Otto M. Urban, Jarka Vrbová and Tomáš Vrba, is composed of three sections: an essay about the Norwegian painter as an eminent figure in the 20th century culture; excerpts from his fascinating illustrated diaries (the first collection of this extent published outside Norway) and an essay on Munch’s influence on the development of Czech art after his successful exhibition in Prague in 1905, which changed the course of Czech art. The monograph is published as the fourth volume in the Vera effigies Series focusing on key personalities in art at the turn of the 19th century.  It contains 223 reproductions of Munch’s oil paintings, graphic works and photographs kindly lent by the Munch Museum in Oslo. The book is not only the first large monograph on Munch, but also a guide to the history of culture at the turn of the 19th century.

Arnold Schönberg – Style and Idea, Otto M. Urban, Ivan Vojtěch, translation Ivan Vojtěch, editor Ivan Vojtěch

Arnold Schönberg (1874–1951) was one of the pre-eminent personalities of the first half of the 20th century. He was not only a world famous music composer, but also a brilliant theoretician, essayist and an interesting painter. The core of the book is a selection of essays and lectures that the author arranged in the collection Style and Idea, considered as an important contribution to the understanding of modern music. Professor Ivan Vojtěch, the author of the introductory essay, who is also an editor and translator of this book, is a world renowned expert in the whole range of Schönberg’s concerns. He studied his complete written heritage and was an editor of the German and Italian editions as well. The Czech edition contains a complete collection of Schönberg’s texts, including the unpublished, dealing with architecture, the Jewish identity, art and other subjects. A colour section presents for the first time in the Czech Republic Schönberg’s relatively large art oeuvre. This section is accompanied with an essay by Otto M. Urban.

Publishing houseí Arbor vitae

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