Monthly Archive: June 2003

The Hungarian Patient: Comments on the “Contemporary Hungarian Art of the 90s”

Two years ago, when the editor of a Hungarian academic journal in art history asked me to write about “the contemporary Hungarian art of the 90s,” I agreed to do so without the slightest hesitation, and proposed a paper on the changes of the institutional framework of the period. Later, when I was setting off to research, I realized that none of the components of the apparently innocent phrase “the contemporary Hungarian art of the 90s” was clear enough to be taken for granted.

How could we define the period of the 90s and the generally established category of contemporary

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Unofficial Illustration: A Conversation With Ivan Razumov

Ivan Razumov is an artist working in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Exhibitions at the Academy of Russian Arts, Moscow, the Museum of the New Academy of Fine Arts, St.Petersburg, and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Razumov is well-known for his illustrations of Pushkin, Mayakovsky, Basho, and Sei-Shenagon.

Yevgeniy Fiks: I remember seeing your “Pioneers” for the first time during my visit to Moscow in 97. How did this series come about?

Ivan Razumov: This series has been put together out of drawings that I made as illustrations for popular and independent magazines and literature at different points in time over the course … Read more

“Radical” Art in Russia, the 1990s and Beyond

This essay examines someaspects of the visual and the spectacle within what is known as Russian radical art of the 90’s. Its aim is to look at what happened in various visual art forms (video, TV, film and actionism) in times of fundamental change within mass-culture and their technologies-that is, during the process of being ‘swapped-over’ by ‘western’ products, lifestyles, all of which unavoidably, and maybe most remarkably, accompanied post-Soviet societal transformation at least in Russia’s main cities.

It thus attempts to locate coincidences between a history of the 90’s and the ongoing discussions about their intensity and the specific

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East of Art: Transformations in Eastern Europe. Introduction

East of Art: Transformations in Eastern Europe, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, March 11, 2003

On March 11, 2003, between the daily UN Summits and in anticipation of the war with Saddam Hussein, New York City housed an international symposium East of Art: Transformations in Eastern Europe, arranged and hosted by the Museum of Modern Art.

The event was conducted in conjunction with and as an inauguration of the recent, seminal MOMA publication Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art since the 1950s, edited by Laura Hoptman and Tomáš Pospiszyl, with a … Read more

Thank Heaven for Little Girls: The Case of Sculptor Pavel Opocensky

The act of male artists inviting young girls into their studios with the intent of doing “studies” of their nude bodies is far from a shocking idea in contemporary Western society. However, in the past, renowned artists such as Edgar Degas and Egon Schiele among others suffered the consequences of gossip and rumors that can accompany a man’s intimate association with girls.

Pavel Opocensky, a locally renowned sculptor and jewelry designer within the Czech Republic, has also undergone public and state persecution, but previously for the inadvertent killing of a young skinhead in defense of an elderly man under attack.… Read more

Zone Workshop

Linking Europe:  The Zone Festival (IV, V) in Bucharest

Zone 4 (2002)

The Eastern Europe Zone Festival, or simply Zone, began in 1993, in Timisoara. It had already acquired first a local and then a regional tradition, gradually becoming an internationally renowned artistic event. Zone was one of the first events of this kind organized after the fall of the Berlin wall.

The aim of this festival is to re-establish cultural and artistic relations between the East and Central European countries, as well as between the East and the West. Those ties had been lost because of the isolation … Read more

Polish Conceptual Art

Pawel Polit, Piotr Wozniakiewicz (eds), Refleksja konceptualna w sztuce polskiej. Doswiadczenia dyskursu: 1965-1975/ Conceptual Reflection in Polish Art: Experiences of Discourse: 1965-1975. Essays by Alicja Kepinska, Andrzej Kostolowski, Pawel Polit; interviews with Andrzej Turowski and Jerzy Ludwinski. Centrum Sztuki Wspólczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski, Warszawa 2000/ Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw 2000. 280 pp., 162 black and white ills, bibliography; biographical entries; index of names. Text in Polish and English.

This bilingual publication, which in the words of its editor Pawel Polit, aims to “provide a synthetic overview of Polish conceptual art” twenty-five years after the period of its … Read more

Balkan as Metaphor

Balkan as Metaphor. Cambridge/Mass: MIT Press, 2003, 382pp. $29.95

Balkan as Metaphor introduces new theoretical and conceptual tools for theorizing and understanding the Balkans. The essays continue the intellectual tradition of deconstructing and problematizing the region, by foregrounding when and how the West became complicit in the discourse on the Balkans.

While the common leitmotiv of these essays is that the Balkan is an intellectual construct, loaded with multivalent ideological meanings, the main aim of this volume is twofold: To disappoint and impress the Western gaze. This is accomplished through dense, theoretical discussions that often, implicitly or explicitly use … Read more

Split Dreams Iverni Group Exhibition in Romania

The exhibition opened at the Romanian Literature Museum Gallery in Bucharest, March 19-24, 2003. The address of the museum is 12, Dacia Boulevard, Bucharest.

A day before the war in Iraq started, an interesting American-Romanian exhibition opened at the Romanian Literature Museum in Bucharest. The artists Tony Brown, Dorsey Dunn, Tom Fowler, Chris Natrop, Giordano Pozzi, Tyrome Tripolli (from the U.S.A), and Carsten Stehr (from Germany) are members of the Iverni group, formed in San Francisco, California.

The group has traveled throughout Europe, and has been invited to display in many countries along with local artists. In Romania, the artists … Read more

“Who Needs Museums Anymore:” A Response to Marina Grzinic

See also Marina Grzinic’s original 2002 article: “Does Contemporary Art Need Museums Anymore” 

1. The original impetus for this reflection came from a series of visits and encounters with new and old museums in Wien. One could find at the more discrete institutions insightful and scrupulously presented work, and at the grandiose sites, exhibitions that were infuriating in their clumsy submission to the needs of financial survival.

This is not meant as a blanket characterization, but describes a trend that Bettina Funcke states is “part of a current emphasis on the spectacularization of the museum in general: Start with a … Read more