ARTMargins Online

”Title of speech in US Congress given by a Republican George Dondero in March 1952.”

Dialogue between Yevgeniy Fiks and Thomas Sokolowski about Fiks’ recent show at the Zimmerli Art Museum

Yevgeniy Fiks calls himself a “post-Soviet” artist, thus designating his personal history of belonging to the generation that was born in the Soviet Union and came to the West after its collapse. His work can be characterized as an archival exploration of history, understood as the unearthing of facts, events, and narratives that have been forgotten or obscured by dominant ideological discourses. His first “mini-retrospective” entitled Mr. Deviant, Comrade Degenerate: Selected Works by Yevgeniy Fiks, which was on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University until the end of July, focuses on three different types of nonconformism – … Read more

A woman in black stands behind a table across from people in white who are wearing leaf crowns

Seaberry Juice in Extractivist Ruins: The Cosmopolitical Art of Diana Lelonek

Decades of open-pit mining has left the landscape of the Konin region in western Poland deserted, with the soil dry and hostile to plants. The coal producers, who are legally obliged to recultivate the post-mine landscape face a difficult task, but fortunately for them there are few plants whose needs meet the harsh reality of this barren land. For the seaberry plant (Hippophae), this sandy post-coal environment is just fine to grow, and the plant develops abundantly over the transformed land that was once exploited by the mining corporations. This essay explores the Hippophae of Diana Lelonek’s artistic … Read more

Sisters Alike. Female Identities in the Post-Utopian (Book Review)

Lene Markusen, Sisters Alike. Female Identities in the Post-Utopian (Leipzig: Spector Books, 2019), 184PP.

It may seem a curious and difficult project to try to translate the unique poetics of moving images into book form. Danish filmmaker Lene Markusen has taken up the onerous task in her recently published book Sisters Alike. Female Identities in the Post-Utopian. What emerges feels like a wholly individual composition, marked by an unparalleled interpictorial approach that weaves her sketches and photographic impressions of Russia—in particular, its female protagonists—with archival materials and stills from two of her films, GRAD (2004) and Sankt—Female Read more

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Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell

Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell, National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, March 22 – August 18, 2019

Artist Laura Aguilar died of kidney failure in April 2018, shortly after her career retrospective, Show and Tell, closed at the Vincent Price Museum just outside Los Angeles. She was 59 years old. As writers and fellow artists mourned the loss, biographical references proliferated. Aguilar was obese, an auditory dyslexic, clinically depressed, Latina, mostly poor, the daughter of mixed Mexican-European-indigenous parents, a lesbian. With her photographic work, she was a champion for marginalized communities and bodies rendered invisible by mainstream art and visual … Read more

Art in Hungary, 1956-1980: Doublespeak and Beyond (Book Review)

Art in Hungary, 1956-1980: Doublespeak and Beyond. Eds. Edit Sasvári, Sándor Hornyik, and Hedvig Turai, London: Thames & Hudson, 2018, 384pp.

This collectively authored volume on Hungarian art under the state socialist regime of János Kádár offers readers a fresh, richly informative, and multifaceted picture of this critical period in Hungary’s post-war artistic culture. More than just an edited collection of individual contributions, it integrates texts by experts on different aspects of Kádár-period (1956-1988) art—specific temporal periods, policy phases, media, artistic modes, institutional spaces, and identities—within an orchestrated design. Following the introduction, seventeen chapters are grouped under four topical … Read more

Call For Papers: University College London/7-8 November, 2019

Conference Title: “1989’s Loose Ends”
Place: University College London
Date: 7/8 November 2019

Conference Description:
On its 30th anniversary, this interdisciplinary conference aims to challenge the understanding of 1989 as a fundamentally Eurocentric, Cold War event with established historicity and geography. Presentations and discussions will address the following questions: how can we reconcile the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution with the onset of the Yugoslav crisis, Tiananmen Square, the beginning of the end of Apartheid, the collapse (and resurgence in some cases) of Latin American dictatorships, and the emergence of commercial internet, to name some examples?
Read more

Call for Papers: Artpool Budapest/Active Archives and Art Networks/Conference and Symposium /February 20-21, 2020

Conference Title: “Artpool 40 – Active Archives and Art Networks”

Place: Artpool Art Research Center, Central European Research Institute of Art History/ Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Date: February 20-21, 2020

Conference Description:

The international conference and symposium celebrates the 40th anniversary of the foundation of Artpool and its concurrent relocation to the Central European Research Institute of Art History at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. It aims to map the cultural-political-historical contexts of Artpool’s activity by bringing together scholars and practitioners interested in transnational research on artist archives, progressive curatorial and museological practices, and the historiography of Cold … Read more

“The Soros Center was a Perfect Machine”: An Exchange between Aaron Moulton and Geert Lovink

The following exchange, over email, between Dutch media theorist and Internet critic Geert Lovink and Aaron Moulton occurred on the occasion of the exhibition The Influencing Machine at Galeria Nicodim in Bucharest, which closed on April 20, 2019. The show, curated by Aaron Moulton, was an anthropological investigation into the macroview of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art (SCCA), an unprecedented network of art centers that existed across twenty Eastern European capitals throughout the 1990s. A survey of historical and contemporary artwork that explored ideas of influence, revolution, colonialism, and cultural exorcism, the Bucharest exhibition included a large archive covering … Read more

Wild Recuperations: Material from Below and D’EST, Chapter 6: ReTopia at District Berlin

WILDES WIEDERHOLEN. MATERIAL VON UNTEN ARCHIVE OF GDR OPPOSITION, HAUS 22 STASIZENTRALE AND DISTRICT BERLIN, NOVEMBER 4 – DECEMBER 16, 2018.

 D’EST SCREENING, CHAPTER 6: RETOPIA, HAUS 22 STASIZENTRALE, BERLIN , DECEMBER 15, 2018

Attempts to establish contemporary archives must always contend with dominant history and ideology. Wild Recuperations. Material from Below, a six-week-long exhibition that took place at District Berlin and the Archive of the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) Opposition in late 2018 and continues today as an ongoing artistic research project, positions itself firmly against the ossification of objectified knowledge by introducing an artistic and affective approach to … Read more

On Curating “Postwar” at Haus der Kunst (ARTMargins Print 8.2)

Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965, curated by the late Okwui Enwezor alongside Katy Siegel and Ulrich Wilmes, was held at Haus der Kunst, Munich, only a little over two years ago (October 2016-March 2017). The exhibition and its accompanying catalog have already achieved canonical status among scholars interested in the increasingly interconnected networks of modern art internationally after World War II. Ambitious in scope, generous in outlook, and remarkable in its capacity for critical and self-reflexive dialog, Postwar exemplified many of the qualities that made Enwezor the most significant curatorial voice of the last quarter century.… Read more

Black and white image of two people in front of a wall. The person on the left has a ladder.

The Intermedial Scattering of the Aura

Poetry & Performance: The Eastern European Perspective, Shedhalle, Zurich, August 16–October 28, 2018

The center of the spacious exhibition hall of Zurich’s Shedhalle was empty. Tomáš Glanc and Sabine Hänsgen, curators of the exhibition Poetry & Performance: The Eastern European Perspective,(Curated by Tomáš Glanc and Sabine Hänsgen, in corporation with Dubravka Djurić, Emese Kürti, Claus Löser, Pavel Novotný, Branka Stipančić, Darko Šimičić, Mara Traumane) purposefully arranged the exhibition’s artworks in a circular progression enclosing this empty center, and with the following sections: Writing-Reading-Performance; Audio Gestures; Interventions in Public Space; Body Poetry; Cinematographic Poetry; and Language Games. The device … Read more

When Letters Show Their Muscles: A Conversation with Sabine Hänsgen and Tomáš Glanc about the Traveling Exhibition Poetry & Performance, the Eastern European Perspective

Subversive humor often emerges from emergency situations. Those who cannot say what they are thinking invent secret languages, play with suggestion, parody what is permitted and mutilate it into mere sounds, or put up slogans in remote areas. In states where verbal expression is subject to strict control – i.e. censorship – poets and thinkers infiltrate the official discourse by imaginatively torpedoing it. In those countries formerly behind the Iron Curtain, poetry became an experimental field for criticism, as well as a retreat from ideology and language politics.

The traveling exhibition Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective presents a … Read more

ARTMargins Print Volume 8, Issue 2

This guest-edited issue of ARTMargins evaluates the relationship between art, artists, and international institutions in the postwar period. Concentrating on the emergence of new forms of internationalism in response to decolonization and the diplomatic impasses of the Cold War in the decades following World War II, the issue confronts the problem of the nation-state within the emerging scholarly field known as “global modernism.” We propose that the term global modernism, while a productive shorthand for scholarship that expands modernism’s geographies, may also be anachronistic and misleading. The word global itself began to gain currency only after the 1960s, … Read more

Years of Disarray 1908-1928 at Olomouc Museum of Art

Years of Disarray 1908-1928. Avant-gardes in Central Europe, Olomouc Museum of Art, Olomouc (CZ), September 21, 2018–January 27, 2019

Among the proliferation of First World War related exhibitions of recent years, several have been devoted to the historical avant-garde, a label attached to numerous artistic movements that formed before and during the war. (This review was written as a part of the research project of the Petőfi Literary Museum–Kassák Museum under a grant from the National Office of Research, Development and Innovation, Project-No. NKFIH, K-120779, “The Avant-Garde Periodicals of Lajos Kassák from an Interdisciplinary Perspective (1915–1928).”) The travelling … Read more

Border Thinking (Book Review)

Marina Gržinić, ed., Border Thinking: Disassembling Histories of Racialized Violence, Publication Series of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Vol. 21 (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2018), 308 pp.

Border Thinking originated in 2015 as part of Post-Conceptual Art Practices, a studio art practice led by Marina Gržinić, Professor and Head of the Conceptual Art study programat the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, as an attempt to tell the story of the refugee protest camp in Vienna, which formed in 2012 and lasted for several years. At that time, the Austrian government suppressed the protests, creating an urgency to not only write … Read more

Painting of a ship in the background with a beach and figures in the foreground.

Edi Hila: To Paint in the Eye of a Storm

Edi Hila: Painter of Transformation, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw,  March 2-May 6, 2018

Since its foundation in 2005, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw has been engaged in an intellectually challenging attempt to reevaluate the artistic practice of several artists from post-war Eastern Europe whose works have so far mostly escaped under the radar of major Western art institutions. Shows by such artists as Andrzej Wróblewski, Ion Grigorescu, Alina Szapocznikow, Július Koller, Mária Bartuszová, among others, strived to move beyond the usual Cold War-era binaries of East and West, communism and capitalism, in order to show a more … Read more

20/20

“20/20” is a list of some of the most accessed articles, reviews, and interviews ARTMargins Online has published over these 20 years. Apart from giving readers and researchers a sense of what was most in demand, we also aimed at a cross section of the many writers, curators, and artists from a variety of countries and regions we have been fortunate to publish over the years. Among the brightest and most influential of these—Svetlana Boym and Piotr Piotrowski—are sadly no longer with us, and we repost their texts as a tribute to their legacy and lasting impact. These 20 texts … Read more

Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere

Katalin Cseh-Varga and Adam Czirak, Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere: Event-Based Art in Late Socialist Europe (New York: Routledge, 2018), 264 pp.

The compilation of sixteen case studies of performance art in Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere: Event-Based Art in Late Socialist Europe presents a panorama of performative strategies in the context of East, Central, and Southeast Europe. This “site-specific” approach reveals the diverse conditions under which performance art was produced in the region. The editors, Katalin Cseh-Varga and Adam Czirak, avoid suggesting a comparative terminology for East and West; instead of defining their collective volume … Read more

ARTMargins Print Volume 8, Issue 1

With the many symposia and exhibitions commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of 1968 now behind us, this first issue of 2019 asks how to historicize the art of the moment after. The articles in the current issue displace events that often serve as historical markers, asking instead how to interpret the artistic production of gradual and contradictory processes of economic modernization and political institutionalization. In so doing, they question how to reconstruct artistic tendencies and institutional norms without confirming the inevitability of the present, searching for utopian images, or trying to redeem social experiments that capital has long since assumed as … Read more

Two cases with prints inside.

Utopia Revisited: Malevich, Chagall, and Lissitzky at the Jewish Museum

A silent video of Vladimir Lenin speaking enthusiastically to Russian crowds greets the visitors of the Jewish Museum’s second floor. We hear no words, but Lenin appears victorious; the footage, we assume, must have been filmed after April 1917, when the exiled leader had just been clandestinely brought back from Switzerland onboard a German train. In the following months, Lenin would successfully lead a revolution that overthrew the tsarist regime and ventured to turn Russia into a communist state. And while it only took a few years for this sense of communist idealism to be swiftly replaced by an authoritarian … Read more

Two items on pedestals in front of TV screens

Aria Mineralia

Larisa Crunțeanu, Aria Mineralia Zachęta Project Room, Warsaw, October 20 – December 2, 2018.

For her exhibition Aria Mineralia at Zachęta Project Room, Larisa Crunțeanu, a Romanian-born, Warsaw-based artist and curator, has created a sound-based installation along with accompanying ceramics, neon, costumes, and video works that all address notions of camouflaging as an activity of playful subversion.(Aria Mineralia at Zachęta Project Room, Warsaw, is part of the cultural project F vs F, produced by Copia Originala Association and co-funded by the National Cultural Administration Fund, Romania. Partner of the exhibition: Anca Poterasu Gallery.) The title Aria Mineralia refers … Read more

Photograph of a house with drawing of grass and a pasture with animals around it.

Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980

Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980, Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 15, 2018 –January, 13 2019

New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) recently provided a stage for a vital – and very much on-trend – examination of the brutalist, socialist architecture of the former Yugoslavia, exhibited under the title Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980. Structured around a set of thematic and biographical sequences, this momentous survey of socialist architecture brought together more than 400 drawings, models, photographs and video installations from a wide range of private and institutional archives across the former … Read more

Images framed on a wall. First is of an astronaut.

Between Heaven and Earth: Himl un Erd (Yiddish Cosmos)

Yevgeniy Fiks, Heaven and Earth: Yiddish Cosmos, Stanton Street Shul, New York, November 18–December 16, 2018.

The Soviet Space Age visual project conjures familiar images of charismatic and triumphant cosmonauts, rockets, courageous animals, and dazzling, mysterious planets, all under the banner of the Red Star. During the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and its eternal rival, the United States, mounted sophisticated political projects using the visual arts to promote their own version of a utopian, innovative future and even laid claims to conquering and colonizing outerspace. Today, these efforts have been by and large historicized and the propaganda machine … Read more

Postcards displayed on a pedestal.

Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.

Hunter College Art Galleries, June 21–August 19, 2018

In 1970, the influential Chicano artist Carlos Almaraz created a series of minimalist collages. Superimposing select magazine cutouts—including pornographic images of women, male physique models, and animals—over a piece of grid paper, Almaraz disrupted the structure of the ordered field while using the grid to visually connect disparate images across the picture plane. Exhibited as part of Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. at the Hunter College Art Galleries in New York, Almaraz’s gridded collages convey some of the show’s most vital concepts: they defy a narrative centered on a singular … Read more

Black viewfinder with photograph behind.

Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future

Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future, ifa-Galerie, Berlin, January 26 – April 2, 2018

In March 2018, with scorching temperatures of the Indian summer peaking, tens of thousands of farmers descended on Mumbai. Despite walking for six days, they waited to enter the city at midnight on their way to the state legislature building, so as not to disrupt traffic. It was an unusual scene: red flags with hammer and sickle, red caps and bloodied bare feet pressed a panorama of revolutionary icons into the empty nocturnal roads of one of the most densely populated urban sprawls in the world. … Read more

Photograph of a person being covered in a suitcase with only legs showing and another woman behind, pushing.

Artists from the Former Eastern Europe in Berlin: Tanja Ostojić

The following conversation with Tanja Ostojić—a Berlin-based performance and interdisciplinary artist, researcher, educator, and cultural activist—is part of a series devoted to (women) artists from the former Eastern Europe who live and work in the city. For other installments and an introduction, follow the links at the end of this interview.

Sven Spieker: Under what circumstances did you come to Berlin?

Tanja Ostojić: I moved to Germany in Spring 2002 from Belgrade, somehow by chance. At the time I was pursuing my project Looking for a Husband with EU Passport. I had married someone in Düsseldorf in West Germany. … Read more

Artists from the Former Eastern Europe in Berlin: Ana Bilankov

This conversation is part of a series of interviews with women artists from the former Eastern Europe who live and work in Berlin. The city has attracted artists from Russia and Eastern Europe for a long time: especially during the cold war and into the 1990s, its peculiar political and economic situation gave it a uniquely impermanent, transitory ambience that attracted migrating artists. Over the last two decades, neo-liberalism has more or less successfully transformed life here as elsewhere, aestheticizing and monetizing what was once a serious proposal for a different way to live and work. What is it like Read more

ARTMargins Artist Editions

“Artist Editions” makes original artwork available for purchase at competitive prices to support ARTMargins. For details about the works on sale and prices please see the individual artists’ pages. For more information and to order, please write to us at artmargins@gmail.com.

Emilia Terracciano, Art and Emergency: Modernism in Twentieth-Century India

Emilia Terracciano, Art and Emergency: Modernism in Twentieth-Century India (London: I.B. Tauris, 2018), 281 pp.

Emilia Terracciano begins her book, Art and Emergency, by invoking Walter Benjamin’s “angel of history,” that emblematic, though still extremely enigmatic, motif that lays bare the fiction of history as progress. Where we perceive the past as “a chain of events,” wrote Benjamin famously, the angel, which he derived from a watercolor by Paul Klee, “sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet.”(Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” in Hannah Arendt Read more

Two tvs on pedestals against a black wall

Serbian Video Art in Focus: ARTTERROR—Fragments of Duality

ARTTERROR—Fragments of Duality, Belgrade Cultural Centre, April 5–May 3, 2018

The exhibition ARTTERROR – Fragments of Duality, on view at the gallery space Podroom of the Belgrade Cultural Centre, presented work by the Belgrade-based art association ARTTERROR created during the last few decades. However, as curator Vladimir Bjeličić and the artists themselves stated, the aim was not to show a retrospective of ARTTERROR’s work. Instead, Bjeličić noted that the exhibition should be “regarded as a specific installation or in situ reaction based on the critical self-reflection of this artist duo.”(See the leaflet accompanying the exhibition: Vladimir Bjeličić, ARTTERROR – Read more