There is a small museum in Budapest, a gem on Nefelejcs Street. It’s not even a museum, some kind of memorial house, or a former residence, of one of the world’s greatest glass artists, Mixa Roth.
It belongs to Miksa Róth, who was a star in her days. He won gold medals at the World Expo, having worked in Mexico City, The Hague, the Norwegian whaling village, Copenhagen, Milan, Turin, Sicily, and almost everywhere in historic Hungary, from Targu Morris to Subotica. Its mugs adorn the Budapest Parliament, the Academy of Music, the Ministry of Economy, Finance and the Interior, the Court of Paris, the Hungarian National Bank, the Gresham Palace and several residential buildings in Budapest, its mosaics at the Kossuth and Diak Mausoleum, the former Servites the Turkish Bank House, or the magnificent Blue Church in Ödön Lechner In Bratislava. He painted his stories and religious and secular characters on glass and mosaics, often in the Nefelejcs Street workshop.
Tibor Finney was a director of the Ruth Mixa Memorial House until Spring 2020 for twenty years.
He founded it, and built it from the remaining, vacant, dilapidated rental apartments, where after the death of the Roth family lived the tenants referred to by the municipality.
Little by little, Finney created the museum, started building, organizing programs and exhibitions at home and abroad, and meanwhile he fell in love with the work so much that he began to search for the works of Mixa Roth. He wanted to round up the country’s best researchers to prepare a presentations volume when he realized that no one in Hungary had been seriously looking for Mixa Roth before. So he set out, writing his studies one by one, while he acquired works of art, bought for the museum, organized exhibitions abroad, and published new studies and articles on the glassmaker in the imperial and royal courts. Then in 2015 he also wrote a study entitled Miksa Róth’s Glass Paintings from Historicism to Art Nouveau. He has collaborated with three universities, and has given lectures on the world-famous teacher.
Ruth Mixa Memorial House, he says, has become the most beloved little museum in Budapest, so it’s also listed in European travel guides.
In addition to the Hungarians, the museum was visited by a very large percentage of foreigners, and according to Finney, its income was five times that of a small museum of a similar size. Hand over the works of Mixa Roth to Victoria and Albert in London, New York and Los Angeles. He organized and led collections, was awarded the Podmaniczky Prize for his work protecting cultural heritage, and presented Róth’s works to thousands of visitors every year on Museum Night. During his twenty-year reign, he maintained a good relationship with each of Elizabeth’s five mayors, and all five supported the museum, which was considered the best-known institution in the area.
In 2019, Peter Niedermöller, mayor of Erzsébetváros, in the southeast took the stage.
As one of his first steps, he merged the region’s five cultural institutions (including three of the museum type) (Csányi 5, Hernád House, Király Street K11, Róth Miksa Memorial House and the Power Plant itself) and appointed a director. Tibor Fényi was demoted for the first time, giving him the title of director of collectibles at the lowest level of the museum hierarchy, which only required a high school diploma. After twenty years as a director, he was in a humiliating position, unable to even instruct the cleaning lady.
However, his demotion did not end here, and for three months he was immediately fired, he said, rumored that he retired on his own.
Last fall, it was announced that an application for the position of museum director, Finney, although he had previously found it offensive, applied for the position due to his love and respect for the museum’s work and his humility to Mixa Roth’s research, so that the work was free. For two years, token for one forint pledge. But he did not receive a response from the municipality.
We asked Peter Niedermüller about reason and questions in VII. Provincial government.
The municipality argues that Tibor Finney has reached retirement age, so he ended his job with that in mind. They explained, “The fact that the procedures were completely legal clearly shows that Tibor Finney did not go to the Labor Court against the decision.” They also added that Tibor Finney was offered to remain with the institution as a consultant, but that he flatly refused.
Tibor Finney refutes the local government’s statement: “There is no correct word that I was offered to stay in the institution as a consultant, but I would have rejected it out of hand.” And according to him, it is also strange that he could have stayed in the institution as a professional advisor, but not as a collection manager, for which he applied for through a tender.
Finney finds it strange that, according to the municipality’s justification, he did not have the “minimum professional required” to manage the holdings (auxiliary worker at the museum), but with the fact that he still works as a consultant there.
It is a fact that in Hungary it is really possible to terminate the employment of any person of retirement age, in this case 65 years, so the local government did not act illegally, the only question is whether the person who was perhaps the best in Hungary had to be sent to The works of Mixa Roth and put most of his works in the museum. He is a scholar and study of the work of Mixa Finney Roth, who alone has published several times more on the topic than the author of all the other (mostly excellent) studies published to date. By the way, they couldn’t raise a political objection to Light either, because he never denied that he was on the opposition side like Niedermuller, who was trying to dislodge him.
We also asked the municipality why it is necessary to merge the five separate institutions, thus focusing in one hand on five administrative positions, each of which requires different expertise. According to the answer, the number of people working for the Memorial House does not justify an independent management position, but the group requires that the director be an expert under the law. We asked him about this law. According to their answer 376/2017. (XII. 11.) A degree in museology provides for an operating license for museum institutions, and Tibor Finney does not hold such a degree.
We also asked the local government if Tibor Finney, even if he does not have a degree in museology or art history (and he is a historian), twenty years of professional work and museum management does not replace that. That is why they said that this is the reason why the expert’s work was shown to the previous director, but as we wrote above, Finney refutes this. Tibor Finney adds that Margate Ronda, co-chair of the five institutions, and managing director of the Erzsébetváros Combined Cultural Center Nonprofit Ltd. He has a high school teacher diploma, yet he manages everything economically, technically and scientifically so he has a degree in museology, not for higher.
According to Finney, he finds it extremely absurd that the opposing side has done the same with him that Fides criticizes him constantly.
“For ten years, while there was driving Fidesz in the area, many people wanted to fire him, but in the end it never happened. Then came“ my friends ”(funny that’s the word, because I’ve never been sympathetic to DK) and maybe that’s why I became First to be expelled. Without real cause or any kind of conflict, just “because we can do it.” Meanwhile, Niedermuller is doing just as Fidesz, who has consistently criticized him, in an unprecedented way, placing power over all local cultural institutions in one hand , Over-centralization, thus following the same structure in Elizabeth City that DK and Momentum both found unacceptable, even in the case of Attila Vidnyánszky.
Finney continues to research and write the study, but he really has to do it as a private person, while it will be much easier inside the museum. Not to mention that this would be the museum’s job, because that’s partly why it was created.
(Cover Photo: Tibor Finney. Photo: Patnícia Bodnár / Index)