Barbora Bartunkova

Barbora Bartunkova specializes in modern and contemporary art, photography, and film from the nineteenth century to the present, with a particular focus on interwar and Cold War visual cultures. Her research interests include the intersection of aesthetics and politics, representations of women and gender, and the relationship between art and ecology.

Her dissertation, titled “Sites of Resistance: Antifascism and the Czechoslovak Avant-Garde,” investigates the capacity of art to confront fascist ideology and violence between 1932 and 1945. Her project examines avant-garde publications, exhibitions, theater, film, poetry, and the visual arts to demonstrate how Czechoslovak artists developed strategies of collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and intermediality to counter fascism and mobilize publics across a range of social and cultural spaces. The dissertation situates the Czechoslovak avant-garde’s aesthetic modes of resistance in transnational perspectives, highlighting their unique contributions within broader histories of artistic opposition to political oppression and war in a global context.

Bartunkova is currently the 2022–23 Chester Dale Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. In 2018–19, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Museum Research Consortium Fellow in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Recently, she has contributed to major international exhibitions, including Toyen: The Dreaming Rebel (National Gallery Prague; Hamburger Kunsthalle; Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, 2021–22) and Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented (MoMA, 2020–21).

She has previously held curatorial and museum positions at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Lobkowicz Collections in Prague, and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, and participated in the 2020 CCL/Mellon Seminar in Curatorial Practice at the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York.

Bartunkova holds an M.A. with Distinction in the History of Art from University College London (UCL), where she also received her B.A. in French with Film Studies. Her M.A. Dissertation, “Karel Kachyňa’s The Ear and Cultures of Surveillance in Communist Czechoslovakia,” was awarded the Oxford Art Journal Prize.


“Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes: The End of August at the Hotel Ozone and the Czechoslovak New Wave.” In Cinema and the Environment in Eastern Europe: From Communism to Capitalism, edited by Masha Shpolberg and Lukas Brasiskis. New York: Berghahn Books, forthcoming in October 2023.

“The Poetics of Ethereal Forms in Jindřich Štyrský’s Aquarium.” In The Kunsthalle Praha Collection: 50 Highlights, edited by Barbora Ropková, 68–71. Prague: Kunsthalle Praha, 2023.

“Toyen and the Specters Haunting Interwar Europe.” In Toyen: The Dreaming Rebel, edited by Anna Pravdová, Annabelle Görgen-Lammers, and Annie Le Brun, 155–58. Prague: National Gallery in Prague, 2021.

“Jindřich Štyrský: White Star Line, 1923.” In Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented, 1918–1939: The Merrill C. Berman Collection, edited by Jodi Hauptman and Adrian Sudhalter, 162–65. New York, NY: The Museum of Modern Art, 2020.

“Surrealism Against the War: The Shooting Gallery and Hide, War! by the Czech Artist Toyen.” post: notes on art in a global context (October 2019). New York, NY: The Museum of Modern Art.

“Facing Death, Confronting Human Nature: The Ascent (Larisa Shepitko, 1977).” Special Dossier: 100 Years of Soviet Cinema. Senses of Cinema, no. 85 (December 2017).

“Confronting the Screen. Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest at the New Museum.” NECSUS: European Journal for Media Studies 6, no. 1 (May 2017): 245–260.