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Scenes from Zagreb

Goran Trbuljak. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti. 1973

The New Art Practice is a term created for a generation of artists active in Yugoslavia the late 1960s and the 1970s. These artists shifted their practices from the traditional studio to city streets and artist-run spaces, creating multimedia performances and experimental publications. Focusing on artists working in the city of Zagreb, this exhibition documents aspects of the New Art Practice and highlights the role of artists’ publications in recording its often ephemeral gestures and ideas. It also highlights the publishing practices of exhibition spaces in Zagreb that were open to these experimental forms and activities, specifically the Gallery of Contemporary Art, the Student Center Gallery, and the artist-run space Podroom.

New Art Practice artists like Goran Trbuljak, Braco Dimitrijević, Sanja Iveković, Mladen Stilinović, and Vlado Martek worked in a variety of mediums, and they shared a tendency to use of books as a possible venue for their work. These artists questioned and played with the conditions of art making, introducing a philosophical consideration of the place of the artist in this particular political and socioeconomic context. The resulting projects often involved public participation, and authorship of works was further blurred through the activities of collective groups, the use of chance operations and the appropriation of language and imagery from the state and commercial media. The materials demonstrate the movement’s resonance with contemporaneous scenes in Eastern and Central Europe and with broad international trends, while also providing an insight into the very local networks of experimental artists and writers in Zagreb in those years.

This exhibition is organized by David Senior, Bibliographer, MoMA Library.



Gorgona collection submitted to Library of the Museum of Modern Art

The two publications in this vitrine, Gorgona and A, were produced several years before the other works in the exhibition. They contain work by influential Yugoslavian artists and designers as well as a roster of international artists. These publishing projects reveal an active dialogue with international move-ments of the time, cultivated by individuals like Josip Vaništa and Ivan Picelj in Zagreb. They are precursors to the spirit of the publications produced by the next generation of Zagreb artists.

Gorgona. Zagreb: J. Vaništa, 1961–66.

No. 1, 1961. Josip Vaništa.

No. 1, 1961. Josip Vaništa.

No. 2, 1961. Julije Knifer.

No. 2, 1961. Julije Knifer.

No. 1, 1961. Josip Vaništa.

No. 6, 1961. Josip Vaništa.

No. 1, 1961. Josip Vaništa.

No. 7, 1965. Miljenko Horvat.

No. 1, 1961. Josip Vaništa.

No. 9, 1966. Dieter Roth.

Josip Vaništa was the publisher of the "anti-magazine" Gorgona, one of the products of the Gorgona group, active in Zagreb from 1959 to 1966.  The loosely organized collective of artists and writers, which included, among others, Dimitrije Bašičević (Mangelos), Julije Knifer, Ivan Kožarić, and Radoslav Putar composed works, events, and performances.

Severely opaque in intention and minimal in format, each issue of Gorgona features the work of one artist. Though it did not directly influence the artists' publications of the New Art Practice, Gorgona is significant in the international scene of Conceptual artists' publications of the 1960s and provides a historical context for publications produced in Zagreb several years later.

Ivan Picelj. A. Zagreb: I. Picelj, 1962–64.

In A Moment Casual Passers-by

No. 1, 1962. Ivan Picelj.

In A Moment Casual Passers-by

No. 2, 1963. Vasarely.

In A Moment Casual Passers-by

No. 3, 1963. Vjenceslav Richter.

In A Moment Casual Passers-by

No. 5, 1964. Vjenceslav Richter.

In A Moment Casual Passers-by

No. 6, 1964. Mangelos.

In A Moment Casual Passers-by

No. 7, 1964. Getulio Alviani.

Like Gorgona, each issue of A featured the work of one artist. The editor Ivan Picelj, a prolific designer and artist based in Zagreb, was a founding member of the Exat 51 group in the 1950s and an important figure in the New Tendencies movement of the 1960s. The issues of A consist of contributions by artists and designers directly involved in these movements.


In Another Moment

In Another Moment, an exhibition at Gallery SKC in Belgrade in September 1971, replicated At the Moment, an exhibition in Zagreb a few months earlier. This catalogue, for the later exhibition, documents the first. In the essay, Nena Dimitrijević writes, "An international exhibition organized in a hall-gate of an ordinary apartment house in Frankopanska street No. 2a in Zagreb was held on April 1971 between 5 and 8 p.m.," noting, "It is most important to point out the place and the unusually short period of the duration of the show." She indicates that the hall-gate "was found accidentally at the time when a need for a new exhibition space without influence of museum and gallery policy appeared."

From In Another Moment.

In A Moment Casual Passers-by

A reproduction from Braco Dimitrijević's series Casual Passers-by and this conceptual work by Goran Trbujlak were notable local contributions to this show.

Nena Dimitrijević and Braco Dimitrijević. In Another Moment. Belgrade: Gallery SKC, 1971.

Goran Trbuljak. From In Another Moment.

Braco Dimitrijević mounted the first images in his series Casual Passers-by in May 1971 in the main square of Zagreb. They picture individuals Dimitrijević met on the street and photographed. The huge banner-size images were strategically inserted into the spaces often reserved for heads of state or memorialized heroes. He repeated the project throughout Europe in the 1970s, and it gained international attention, appearing in this issue of the New York–based art magazine Avalanche, in 1974.

Causal Passers-by

From Avalanche. no. 5 (New York, 1974).

The book reads as an extended interview in which the author answers questions often asked of an artist about influences, biographical details, and ideas of success and failure. Each question is accompanied by two contradictory answers—making ambiguous the verity of both statements.

Braco Dimitrijević. Interview. Zagreb: Galerija Studentskog centra, 1974.

In A Moment Interview Cover

Braco Dimitrijević. <em>Interview.</em> Zagreb: Galerija Studentskog centra, 1974.

Braco Dimitrijević. Interview. Zagreb: Galerija Studentskog centra, 1974.

Artiste Anonyme

Using simple statements and questions, public spaces in Zagreb, and the participation of the public, Goran Trbuljak experimented with the relationship between artist, the audience, and the conditions in which an artwork is encountered. This publication, produced in conjunction with an exhibition at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, documents many of his ephemeral works and performances.

Goran Trbuljak. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1973.

From Goran Trbuljak. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1973.

From Goran Trbuljak. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1973.

From Goran Trbuljak. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1973.

Goran Tbuljak. 1972, <i>artiste anonyme: Goran Trbuljak,</i> 1974. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1976.

Goran Tbuljak. 1972, artiste anonyme: Goran Trbuljak, 1974. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1976.

Goran Tbuljak. 1972, <i>artiste anonyme: Goran Trbuljak,</i> 1974. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1976.

Goran Tbuljak. 1972, artiste anonyme: Goran Trbuljak, 1974. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1976.

This book documents two iterations of a project in which Trbujlak surveyed contemporary art galleries in Paris with a form that asked: "Would you like this work to be shown at your gallery? 1) Yes 2) No 3) Maybe." The first version of the letter was signed by an "anonymous artist." The second solicitation was signed by Trbujlak. The completed questionnaires were reproduced in this publication for an exhibition at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zagreb.

Goran Tbuljak. 1972, <i>artiste anonyme: Goran Trbuljak,</i> 1974. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1976.

Klaus Groh. Aktuelle Kunst in Osteuropa. Cologne: Dumont, 1972.

Groh compiled this broad survey of artists from Central and Eastern Europe, and it served as an essential reference for introducing these artists to the West. Each artist was given one or two pages in which to present his or her projects. Goran Trbujlak submitted three text pieces, Project 1, Project 2, and Project 3, under the pseudonym Grgur Kulias. Shown here, Project 1 states, "If any of my 3 projects is printed in the book by Klaus Groh, I will be the happiest man in the world," and Project 2, "If any of my 3 projects is printed in the book by Klaus Groh, I will enter history."


Aktuelle Kunst in Osteuropa cover

Double Life and Tragedy of Venus


Double Life cover

In Double Life Iveković contrasts images of women taken from various international lifestyle and fashion magazines with snapshots of herself that each mimic, in some way, the commercial images. The book reflects on how feminine identity is shaped through consumer images and examines the apparatus of popular media through a critical lens.

Sanja Iveković. Dvostruki Život = Double Life: 1959–1975. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1976.

Double Life

Double Life

In Tragedy of Venus, Iveković reconstructs Marilyn Monroe's life using images and text from a tabloid story. On the opposite pages are scenes from the artist's life. The images share the text description from the tabloid article. By inserting herself alongside this Hollywood composite of fame, beauty, and tragic circumstances, Iveković simultaneously impersonates the Monroe story, distances herself from it, and plays with this ambiguity.

Tragedy of Venus

Sanja Iveković. Tragedija Jedne Venere = Tragedy of a Venus. Zagreb: Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1976.


In each spread of this artist's book, Martinis paired a photograph of himself (at right) with a blurred photograph (at left). In the space given, he manually traces part of his profile to deduce whether or not the photographs are a match.


Dalibor Martinis. Osoba na slici: nije/može biti/je = Person in photo: is not/could be/is Dalibor Martinis. Zagreb: Podroom, 1976.

This survey catalogue from the Student's Center Gallery shows a street performance by the Zagreb-based Tok Group active in 1972. Also shown is a small document that was as a manifesto of the group. They were known for interventions in Zagreb and Belgrade—events that involved small "corrections" to urban spaces often directed toward questions of social justice or ecological concerns.

Galerija Studentskog centra Zagreb: 1961-1973. Zagreb: Galerija Studentski centar, 1975.


Tok Group. Event flier. Zagreb, (1972).

Gudac's book presents a series of his photographs that are coupled with colloquialisms, short statements and observations.

Vladimir Gudac. Unatoč činjenici= Despite the fact. Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, 1977.



For most of his career, Dimitrije Bašičević was known as a prominent curator and art historian in Zagreb and a member of the Gorgona group, but he also made visual art. In the 1970s, using the pseudonym Mangelos, Bašičević exhibited works publicly for the first time. He became increasingly well known for his sculptures, experimental visual poetry, and manifestos. This book was produced as part of a gallery show in Zagreb that featured his manifesto work.

Mangelos. Manifesti: noart. Zagreb: Atelier Tošo Dabac, 1978.


Mangelos 2

Knjigarad = Bookwork

Mladen Stilinović commonly used an accordion-fold format for his photographic books and basic staple-bound pamphlets to contain sets of drawings, word constructions, and collages. The photobooks resemble storyboards, reflecting Stilinović's early background in filmmaking. In all of the works, conventional materials are reconstituted in handmade publications to disseminate an idea or an accumulation of images. In many of them, Stilinović took the language and key symbols of his socialist reality as his subject. He isolated these signs in the space of his work, and the result is an absurd poetry of word fragments and images.

On May 1, a state holiday, Zagreb's public spaces and shop windows were filled with socialist slogans. Stilinović documented many of these in this photo-book. At the end, the artist included two photographs of signs he made to mimic the ubiquitous May Day notices: "Ado voli Stipa" (Ado loves Stipa) is a message to his lover in the midst of the state propaganda.

Mladen Stilinović. 1 Maj 75. Zagreb: self-published, 1975.

Cotton Stilinovic

Mladen Stilinović. Korak gaze = Cotton pad step. Zagreb: self-published, 1975.

In this accordion-fold book, Stilinović is seen installing a small obstruction on the sidewalk. The images that follow provide a simple photographic sequence of pedestrians navigating around the artist's intervention.

Foot Bread Relationship

Mladen Stilinović. Odnos nog kruh = Foot–Bread relationship. Zagreb: self-published, 1977.

This photobook documents an action by the artist. The sequence of taped-together photographs follows his foot as it smashes a loaf of bread against a wall.

Loneliness I

Loniless II

The pages of this artist's book feature disassembled elements of a large photograph of a Zagreb city square. Each page contains a cutout of an isolated figure or a group of people. The single figures are accompanied by the handwritten text "Izvaden iz gomile" (Taken from the crowd) and the group image by "Vracen u gomile" (Returned to the crowd).

Mladen Stilinović. Samoće II = Loneliness II . Zagreb, self-published, 1976.

This is an English edition of Nemam vremena, a book originally self-published by Stilinović in Zagreb in 1979. The first page includes the artist's statement, "I wrote this book when I had no time the readers are requested to read it when they have no time."

Mladen Stilinović. I have no time. Tübingen, Germany: Edition Dacić, 1983.


I Have No Time


I have no time

Stilinović's staple-bound book consists of drawings of a single red line. Each page alternates with the handwritten text "Nered" or "Red"= Disorder or Order.

Mladen Stilinović. Nered = Disorder. Zagreb: self-published, 1977.

This catalogue was produced as part of Stilinović's 1979 exhibition at Podroom, an artist-run gallery and meeting space in Zagreb initiated by Sanja Iveković and Dalibor Martinis. The contents of the catalogue include drawings, collages, and recycled paper, bound simply with staples. In this way, the catalogue is both a document of the work in the exhibition and itself a container for artwork. This text reads "I can do it."

Mladen Stilinović. Crveno Roza = Red pink. Zagreb: Podroom, 1979.






This exhibition catalogue assembles sheets by participating artists in this group show. It was organized by curator and art historian Branka Stipančić and includes works by Goran Trbujlak, Sanja Iveković, Vlado Martek, and Mangelos. Stilinović's text on the prior page is, "The work cannot exist." On this page, he crosses out this phrase, and the phrase reads,"The work cannot not exist."

Vrijednosti = Values. Zagreb: Podroom, 1979.



The writing of artist/poet Vlado Martek is often composed of the materials of his trade: he pasted pencils and erasers in and among his words. His pieces from this period are often written by hand, in pencil, as may be seen in the magazine Maj 75. The poetry, or "prepoetry," as he described his work, is accompanied by unconventional uses of the materials of the books it appears in. For Martek, the objects are poems and poems are objects.


Vlado Martek. [Untitled]. Zagreb: self-published, 1981.

The staples in this handmade book construct the text and create the fold in the pages. The back of this opening contains the inverted text, "DA"= yes, from the previous page. The front of the opening has fanned out shavings from a pencil.


Vlado Martek. [Untitled]. Zagreb: self-published, 1981.

When viewed together, the pages of this book complete a simple pencil drawing of a house.


The catalogue reproduces an image from an action in 1980. The artist is shown with the phrase, "Natural thoughts," written on his forehead.

Vlado Martek. Art Has No Alternative. Zagreb: self-published, 1991.


This book is stapled in the center, creating space for a catalogue for two artists. The left side contains Martek's work and the right side contains Stilinović's, including drawings, handwritten texts, and, affixed to two of Martek's pages, a pencil and eraser.

Loniless II

This text reads "prepoet."

Martek Bookwork

Knjigarad = Bookwork: Vlado Martek, Mladen Stilinović. Zagreb: Galerija Studentskog centra (Student Center Gallery), 1980

Izložbe-akcije = Exhibitions-Actions

The Zagreb-based collective called the Group of Six Artists ( Boris Demur, Željko Jerman, Vlado Martek, Mladen Stilinović, Sven Stilinović and Fedor Vučemilović) performed its first event in May 1975. These so-called "exhibitions-actions" ranged from performing and creating installations on city streets and squares to taking trips to the seaside, where they created, performed, and documented work.

After a few years, the group began producing Maj 75, a publication of the individual artist members' work and work by their extended circle of friends and collaborators. The issues were printed in the studio of Vlasta Delimar and Željko Jerman. Eighteen issues were published between 1978 and 1984. Printed and assembled by members, Maj 75 reformulated the idea of the collective exhibit-actions into an artists' magazine.

Maj 75. Zagreb: self-published, 1978-1984. Issues A-D

May75 A

Cover of Issue A

Maj 75 A

Issue A. Vlado Martek


"I hear them talk about the death of art, the death of art is the death of the artist, someone wants to kill me, Help." Mladen Stilinovic. Issue A.


Issue ć : Fedor Vučemilović

Though part of an artist collective, Stilinović, Martek, Jerman, Demur, Stilinović and Vučemilović had individual practices, and the work in Maj 75 reflected this. They were connected by their commitment to informal production methods and a shared rejection of traditional modes of display.

Exhibition venues were fairly limited for artists so the pages of Maj 75 became an alternative space for not only the Group of Six, but also an extended circle of Yugoslavian and other Eastern European artists, to produce and disseminate their work publicly. Artists such as Vlasta Delimar, Tomislav Gotovac, Sanja Iveković, Mangelos, Balint Szombathy, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak are a few examples of the many contrib. utors during the history of publication.

Maj 75. Zagreb: self-published, 1978-1984. Issues D-K

E Cover


Issue E : Željko Jerman. Top : Photograph of burnt photopaper, Bottom: Burnt photopaper.


Photographs from the performance Vjenčanje=Weddings by Vlasta Delimar and Željko Jerman. Zagreb, 1982


Tomislav Gotovac

Maj75 H

Jerman and Martek hold a sign that reads, 'Farewell to the New Art Practice.'

Participant List

Issue L. List of Contributors

Further Reading

Cramer, Sue, and Branka Stipancić. The Horse Who Sings: Radical Art from Croatia. Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1993.

Djurić, Dubravka, and Miško Ŝuvaković. Impossible Histories: Historical Avant-Gardes, Neo-Avant-Gardes, and Post-Avant-Gardes in Yugoslavia, 1918-1991. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2003

East Art Map: Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe. London: Afterall, 2006.

Hoptman, Laura J, and Tomás Pospiszyl. Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art Since the 1950s. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2002.

Janevski, Ana. As Soon As I Open My Eyes I See a Film: Experiments in Yugoslav Art in the '60s and '70s. Warsaw: Museum of Modern Art in Poland, 2011.

Koščević, Želimir. Galerija Studentskog centra Zagreb: 1961-1973. Zagreb: Studentski centar, 1975.

Macel, Christine, and Joanna Mytkowska. Promises of the Past: A Discontinuous History of Art in Former Eastern Europe. Zurich: JRP/Ringier, 2010.

The Misfits: Conceptualist Strategies in Croatian Contemporary Art = Neprilagodeni : Konceptualističke Strategije U Hrvatskoj Suvremonoj Umjetnosti. Zagreb, Hrvatska: Muzej suvremene umjetnosti, 2002.

Stilinović, Mladen, Sabina Sabolović, and Branka Stipančić. Mladen Stilinović: Artist's Books. Istanbul: Platform Garanti, 2007.

Stipančić, Branka. Riječi I Slike=Words & Images. Zagreb: Soros Centar za Suvremenu Umjetnost, 1995.

Stipančić, Branka. O Nepoznatim Radovima =: On Unknown Works : Boris Cvjetanović, Antonio Gotovac-Lauer (tomislav Gotovac), Sanja Iveković, Željko Jerman, Julije Knifer, Vlado Martek, Dalibor Martinis, Mladen Stilinović, Sven Stilinović, Goran Trbuljak, Josip Vaništa. Zagreb: Galerija Nova, 2006.

Susovski, Marijan. The New Art Practice in Yugoslavia, 1966-1978. Zagreb: Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1978.

Vukmir, Janka. Grupa Ŝestorice Autora=Group of Six Artists. Zagreb: SCCA, 1998.


This exhibition was possible due to the scholarly work of Branka Stipančić. Her publications, past curatorial projects and essays were an essential guide as I worked with this material. Mladen Stilinović conveyed the history of Maj 75 in conversation and in an interview done with MoMA colleagues in Zagreb last year. Ana Janevski, Associate Curator in the Media and Perfomance Department, was extremely helpful with her own expertise and familiarity with many of the artists in the exhibition and provided invaluable help with translation of text works. Many thanks to Sara Bodinson in Education and Rebecca Roberts in Publications for their editorial guidance for label text. Thanks also to Chiara Bernasconi, Genevieve Hoffman, and Sara Dayton of Digital Media for creating the website and digital projections. Special thanks to Milan Hughston and the rest of the library staff for their support of this project. Rene Smith was essential in installing the exhibition.


All materials from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art Library. 

The recent acquisition of Maj 75 was made possible by generous donations from Phil and Shelley Aarons, Estrellita Brodsky, Marie-Josee Kravis, and Jo Carole Lauder.