György Fekete, the former head of the Hungarian Arts Academy (MMA), died on Wednesday, at the age of 87, the academy said. Fekete, an interior designer and artist, entered politics in Hungary’s first post-transition government of József Antall (1990-1993) and set up the National Cultural Fund as the cultural ministry’s deputy state secretary. He established the Hungarian Arts Academy, regarded as “Hungary’s most significant cultural institution”, under Viktor Orbán’s government in 2011. Fekete served as the head of MMA between 2011 and 2017 and as its honorary president since then. He received Hungary’s highest state award, the Kossuth Prize, in 2012.
“György Fekete, the former President of the Hungarian Academy of Arts, has left us. May God rest his soul in peace!” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on his Facebook page. Presenting to Fekete the Grand Cross Order of Merit of Hungary in October 2017, Orbán praised him for his work dedicated to art and cultural policy with which he “has worked to uphold the spirit of Hungarian culture”.