Monthly Archive: May 1999

‘Socialist Realist Painting’: Matthew Cullerne Bown

Matthew Cullerne Bown, Socialist Realist Painting. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998. xvii + 506 pp. (75.00 Hardcover)

The art of soviet socialist realism like that of Fascist Germany, has been inextricably linked to to ideological (totalitarian), rather than aesthetic, considerations by scholars and critics. Both Russian and Western art historians have codified this connection to such an extent that almost any discussion of Soviet artists or their works invariably turns to the political and social implications of cultural events rather than a consideration of the art itself. In Socialist Realist Painting, Matthew Cullerne Bown attempts … Read more

Karl Gernot Kuehn: ‘Caught. The Art of Photography in the German Democratic Republic’

Karl Gernot Kuehn: Caught. The Art of Photography in the German Democratic Republic, University of California Press, 1997.

The title of this extensive documentation of 45 years of GDR-photography by Karl Gernot Kuehn (Caught) already refers to the two principal intentions of this book: to present a detailed analysis of how political pressure and constraint shaped photography (and photographers) in the former GDR, how they “caught” the artists in the act, but also to document what it was that these artists themselves “caught” with their camera, once again with special emphasis on the relationship between photography and … Read more

Russian Architecture: Between Anorexia and Bulimia

The Russian visual sensibilities (if there is such a thing) are formed by two contrasting influences. On the one hand, there is a natural attraction to decorative surfaces, to richness of colors and shapes. Historians tell us that in the 10th century Prince Vladimir decided to convert to Christianity mainly because of the visual experience his emissaries had had in Constantinople: “The Greeks led us to the building where they worship their God,” they wrote to the Prince, “and we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or such … Read more

‘Image Engine’: Róza El-Hassan’s Latest

Róza El-Hassan. Image Engine. Budapest Ludwig Museum Budapest Museum of Contemporary Art

Róza El-Hassan is one of the great hopes among the younger generation of Hungarian artists. Since 1990 she has continuously participated in international exhibitions. In 1991, at the invitation of Kaspar König, she received a scholarship at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. In 1993, her stone and wall objects were exhibited at the Venice Aperto Exhibition, and, in 1997, she was one of the official artists of the Hungarian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

This time, the Ludwig Museum at the Budapest Ludwig Museum Budapest-Museum of Contemporary … Read more