Although much could be said about the Wrocław-based Recent Art Gallery (1975 – 1980), its existence was passed over in silence for many years after its dissolution. People remember it for its ambitious programme, impossible to be easily classified, which remained in dynamic contact with the Polish and international art scene. This monographic exhibition devoted to its history and the accompanying catalogue are an attempt to reassess the art that was created there after more than 30 years since the gallery finished its cooperation with the Pałacyk Academic Culture Centre. The founders of the gallery: the Antosz&Andzia duo – Katarzyna Chierowska and Stanisław Antosz, Anna and Roman Kutera, Lech Mrożek, Piotr Olszański, seem to have ended up in the right place at the right time.

Although these artists were individualities whose practices differed significantly, together they managed to call into existence one of the most interesting art centres in Poland, one that presented the newest accomplishments in experimental photography and film as well as conceptual and contextual art. The exhibition is dedicated to its history and consists of two parts displayed on two floors of MWW. The first one is a retrospective of works by Romuald Kutera, an outstanding artist from Wrocław, while the other features documentation and works directly connected with the Recent Art Gallery.

The title The Avant-garde Did Not Applaud is taken from Kutera’s memory of Joseph Kosuth’s vivid reaction towards his work Publication. Kosuth came across it in Toronto in 1976 during a seminar on contextual art thanks to Anna Kutera. Kutera was surprised by Kosuth’s lively response, which was at odds with his image of avant-garde artists involved in analytic practice. The vast archives owned by the members of the Recent Art Gallery make it possible to recreate events connected with the gallery, their international context, and present the artists’ broad panorama of interests, which has not been previously thoroughly researched.