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‘The Pope Smokes Dope´ exhibition meets with controversy

An exhibition entitled The Pope Smokes Dope, which opened on May 17 in Pálffy's Palace by the Bratislava City Gallery (GMB), has caused controversy.

Running to August 26, the exhibition presents rock and beat music and its influence on graphic design between 1962 and 1972. Posters from San Francisco, rock posters of Czech and foreign origin, record album covers, rock music magazines, books and brochures dealing with music, hippie culture, drugs, the first space flights as well as civilisation problems, pop-art graphics and musical content reflecting the feelings of young people in a city are also among the exhibits.

The objective is to approach people who were growing up during this period and those touched by the given topic.

“The name of the exhibition is a slightly modified title of a song and album by David Peel,” said curator and organiser Zdeněk Primus. “It's a metaphor for feeling free."

Also commenting on the name was Blažej Slabý, Committee of Ministers for Drug Habits General Secretariat director, who read an official statement from the Slovak Bishops Conference, expressing protest and concern. GMB director Ivan Jančár shares Primus' opinion on the exhibition's name.

It took the exhibition’s organiser two years to collect the material and he is constantly expanding his collection. The exhibition will also include films and concerts.

The exhibition - the largest of its kind in Europe - has been presented in several Czech towns and the catalogue related to it was named catalogue of the year in the Czech Republic in 2005.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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