National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
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Contemporary Art Exhibit Now Open at the NCSML

Czechoslovakia in the 1960s: oppressive Communist rule. Artists struggling to make ends meet. Insert college student Lee Freeman who became their lifeline to receptive audiences in the West. Thus began Freeman's life-long passion collecting contemporary Czech art.

More than 40 works from Freeman's world-renowned collection are featured in the exhibit, "Artists Caught Behind the Iron Curtain: The Freeman Collection," at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, which opens on Saturday, Jan 19.

Freeman, art-enthusiast and Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for the State of Montana, sold many paintings in the United States and to private collectors, prestigious galleries and museums around the world. He then sent the profits to the artists and supplied them with paints and other banned materials. Exhibit ends April 28, 2013.

New Hours

New hours also start on Jan. 19 at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. Hours will be Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.

Opening Events to Highlight Two Exhibits

A joint opening event for the exhibits "Artists Caught Behind the Iron Curtain: The Freeman Collection" and "Prague 1968: Photographs by Paul Goldsmith" will be held Saturday, Feb. 16.

Freeman will give a guided tour of his collection at 2 p.m., followed by Goldsmith's guided tour of his photography at 3 p.m.

Goldsmith's dramatic photographs captured the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968 and the end of the Prague Spring. Goldsmith, a 19-year-old college student from the U.S. at the time, fled the Soviet soldiers who were confiscating and destroying cameras. Some of these rare photos were sold to the Associated Press and distributed worldwide.

Guided tours are free with paid admission to the galleries.

Chat with the Collectors: a reception for Lee Freeman and Paul Goldsmith will begin at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 16 with light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. The program will start at 6:30 p.m. followed by a book signing. Advance sales are adults $12, members $10, students $5. For advance sales, RSVP to Sara Jacobmeyer at or by calling (319) 362-8500 by Feb. 12. Event admission at the door will be adults $15 and students $5.

See event page here.

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is located at 1400 Inspiration Place SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.