Monthly Archive: December 2001

Ilya Kabakov and the Concentrated Spectacle of Soviet Power

Painting, that is, the idea of painting, dominated Ilya Kabakov’s formative years as an artist in the Soviet Union. These were the late 1950s and early 1960s, the years of de-Stalinization and Nikita Khrushchev’s faltering reform of the Soviet state.

Remembering those years, Kabakov recalls, “One must say that the fetishization of the word ‘painting’ at the time was very great. It was endlessly discussed, what is genuine painting? What is not genuine? What is its relationship to nature, to the truth of life?”(Ilya Kabakov, 60-e — 70-e…zapiski o neofitsial’noi zhizni v Moskve (Vienna: Wiener Slawistischer Almanach, Sonderband 47, Read more

The Rape of Bucharest

If artists use art to make political statements, is it legitimate to understand the blatantly political actions of politicians as performances and art?

If in some sense it is, does that allow us to see the performances of artists as models for the performances of ordinary citizens in their everyday lives, and can we then see both of these performances as the completion of or response to the performances initiated by a political ruler?

I hope to provide a preliminary and partial answer to these questions through my exegesis and interpretation of the Bucuresti 2000 architectural competition, a competition held … Read more

The Muzzle: Gender and Sexual Politics in Contemporary Czech Art


While feminism has been part of Western art and art history since the end of the 1960s, it continues to be suppressed in this field in most Eastern European countries. However, the number of remarkable women artists who deal gender, sexuality, or the role of women in society has increased enormously during the last ten years in this region.

Many of them exhibit extensively and receive a lot of attention in press. Yet the perceptions, interpretations, and promotion of their work are usually either framed in a gender-neutral category of “Art” (which, however, is historically and culturally gendered male) … Read more

Pockets Full of Memory: A Conversation with George Legrady

George Legrady teaches Interactive Media at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has previously held full time appointments at the Merz Akademie, Stuttgart, San Francisco State University, University of Southern California, and the University of Western Ontario. Recent interactive installation exhibitions have taken place at the Centre Pompidou, Paris [Pockets full of Memories], 2001; the new Richard Meier designed Siemens World Headquarters in Munich, 1999/2000; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Sept-Nov 98; the Kunst und AustellungHalle der Bundes Republik in Bonn, [Tracing], 97-98; the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, 97-98; the Read more

Letter from Bucharest: Sculpture and Architecture

In the middle of Bucharest, a well-known art gallery, Simeza, displays the most important Romanian contemporary artists’ works in either single or group exhibitions. Simeza is an old gallery with its own traditions. It has two rooms, not very large, but with high ceilings. Any artist who exhibits his or her works there imagines his or her display in a close relationship with the architecture of this gallery. However, almost all exhibitions are displayed conventionally. In response to this rigidity, Ionel Stoicescu, a young sculptor, recently conceived another kind of art display.

Stoicescu actually modified the configuration of the … Read more