Monthly Archive: July 2020

Slow Life: Radical Practices of the Everyday

Slow Life: Radical Practices of the Everyday / Lassú Élet: Radikális Hétköznapok, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, April 9 – August 23, 2020

In the late 1930s, over a period of six years, Marcel Duchamp created twenty slightly varying miniaturized and portable galleries of sixty-nine of his pre-1935 works, enclosed in a suitcase and arranged to stand up like the displays of a travelling salesman. His Boîte-en-valise (1935-41) evoked the preparation of a man ready to be on the move at short notice; it anticipated, figuratively, the artist’s flight from occupied France to New York in 1942. Confronting the current pandemic crisis, … Read more

book cover

Globalizing East European Art Histories: Past and Present

Globalizing East European Art Histories: Past and Present. Edited by Beáta Hock and Anu Allas (New York and London: Routledge, 2018), 220 pp.

It is an interesting time to be reviewing a book that calls for “globalizing” art history, when everywhere there are calls for art history to decolonize. Is there a thread between the desire to globalize the study of East European art and the demands for a broader decolonization of the discipline of art history and its institutions?(For a variety of approaches to decolonizing art history, see the questionnaire, edited by Catherine Grant and Dorothy Price, Read more

Art and Race in Contemporary Eastern and Central Europe: Call for Contributions

ARTMargins Online is currently seeking submissions for a special issue on the intersection of art and race in contemporary Eastern and Central Europe. The issue will bring together artists, critics, and scholars whose work significantly engages with power structures and aesthetic paradigms that shape and are shaped by discourses on race, with an emphasis on postwar and contemporary practices. As right-wing populism and xenophobic policies rise across Europe and the globe, it is becoming all the more urgent to understand how artists working in the 20th and 21st centuries have approached race and its representation, racialized patterns of … Read more

ARTMargins Online’s New Editor-in-Chief

We are very pleased to announce that AMO has a new editor-in-chief, Raino Isto. Raino is interim Arts-in-Education Director at Umpqua Valley Arts Association in Oregon. In the fall of 2020, he will be a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Cultural Anthropology and Art Studies (IAKSA) in Tirana. He received his PhD in 2019 from the University of Maryland, College Park, where his dissertation focused on the political valences of monumental sculpture in socialist and post socialist Southeastern Europe. Raino’s research has been published in Third Text, the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Science Fiction Studies, and … Read more

artwork photo

One on One: Pleurad Xhafa, 200 Million Euro (2020)

The “One on One” series presents timely encounters between ARTMargins Online editors and contemporary artists, usually focused on one recent work. Recently, artist Pleurad Xhafa was among the protesters occupying the National Theater in Tirana in May of this year. Along with the other occupiers, Xhafa was arrested by police, and although he was subsequently released, he is currently facing charges including resisting arrest and illegal gathering.

Raino Isto: 200 Million Euro was originally installed on the stage of the National Theater of Tirana earlier this year, but it was destroyed—physically—together with that building in the early hours of … Read more

An Introduction to Nicos Hadjinicolaou’s “Art Centers and Peripheral Art” (1982)

Change in the history of art has many causes, but one often overlooked by art historical institutions is the complex, unequal set of relationships that subsist between art centers and peripheries. These take many forms, from powerful penetration of peripheral art by the subjects, styles and modes of the relevant center, through accommodation to this penetration to various degrees and kinds of resistance to it. Mapping these relationships should be a major task for art historians, especially those committed to tracing the reception of works of art and the dissemination of ideas about art. This lecture, delivered by Nicos Hadjinicolaou … Read more

Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art (1982– 2015)

Vasela Nozharova, Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art (1982– 2015) (Plovdiv: Janet 45 Publishing and the Open Arts Foundation, 2018), 301 pp.

Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art (1982–2015), written by the Bulgarian curator and art critic Vesela Nozharova, is a monograph that is likely to become the first comprehensive history of Bulgarian art of the last decades. The book offers an interpretation of the artistic processes, social actors, and institutions in the visual arts, and examines their historical developments and contributions to the Bulgarian contemporary art scene. This pioneering endeavor presents definitions and hierarchies of what constitutes contemporary Bulgarian art … Read more

Marta Minujín’s Destructive Intervention

On June 6, 1963, after living in Paris for several months, Argentine artist Marta Minujín performed her first happening, The Destruction, at the Impasse Ronsin, the now legendary abode of many modern and neo-avant-garde artists. This article examines how The Destruction responded to the mediatization of Nouveau Réalisme’s performances, especially Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tirs, by entering a Duchampian discourse through its destabilization of authorship, originality, and authenticity—concepts central to Modernism and the anchoring of art’s market value. In addition, The Destruction used Brechtian strategies and routinized actions to undercut the ritualism, immediacy, and collaboration fundamental to the emancipatory promise

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Icons of Hell 7 Dictators, 700 Portraits, 7 Pages

Without an encounter with the unknown, creativity is impossible. In this encounter, there is no possibility for understanding anything, neither in terms of culture nor psychology. This is no dead end. Quite on the contrary: by finding your way out of the dead end, you can attain total freedom. Encounters with the unknown are extremely rare. The unknown is something you need to search out, overcoming the stereotypes of your thinking, the attitudes of your life and the dummies of your emotions. Our (creative) paths need to strike up against the unknown, no matter how thoroughly we build them and

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Agitated Together Again: The Laboratoire Agit’art at Dak’art’s 13th Biennale

One of the most remarkable exhibitions in the 13th Dak’art Biennale, “The Bell of the Ants,” was not part of the official program, but rather an independent show mounted by the long-time Dakar-based collective “Laboratoire Agit’Art.” This essay offers a historically-grounded analysis of the relationship between the exhibition and the biennial at large, exploring tensions between the global and local aspirations and modern and contemporary formulations it embodies.

ARTMargins, Volume 9, Issue 2, Page 98-111, June 2020.

Art Centers and Peripheral Art [A Lecture at the University of Hamburg, October 15, 1982]

Change in the history of art has many causes, but one often overlooked by art historical institutions is the complex, unequal set of relationships that subsist between art centers and peripheries. These take many forms, from powerful penetration of peripheral art by the subjects, styles and modes of the relevant center, through accommodation to this penetration to various degrees and kinds of resistance to it. Mapping these relationships should be a major task for art historians, especially those committed to tracing the reception of works of art and the dissemination of ideas about art. This lecture, delivered by Nicos Hadjinicolaou

Read more

On Impossibility: Finding Vietnam in a Jordanian-Soviet Film Archive

In 2014, an abandoned collection of over 900 16mm and 35mm film canisters was uncovered in a storage locker in Amman, Jordan. Initial findings show that the films were likely exported from Russia to Jordan between the late 1960s and early 1990s as part of a Soviet cultural exchange program, and among them are are a number of propaganda films made to highlight relations between Vietnam, Russia, and concurrent political struggles in the Arab Middle East. Work on the archive continues despite recent restrictions on researcher access levied by state custodians. This essay positions the entire archive as an aggregate … Read more

Curating as (Expanded) Art History in Southeast Asia: Recent Independent Projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Luang Prabang, and Phnom Penh

A small yet influential strain of independent contemporary curatorial practice has emerged in Southeast Asia, which is performing (expanded) art historical functions. This mode of independent curating now constitutes an important base for exciting new research—making use of diverse archives as well as other methodologies—to study the often little-known histories of the region’s modern arts, including its architecture, cinema, and photography. That such research is taking place in the context of independent contemporary curatorial practice is significant because it locates modern art history largely outside of large and state-funded institutions, including museums and universities, thus enabling the development and proliferation … Read more

“A Kind of Perverse Novel”: Performance Art and the Secret Services

Kata Krasznahorkai and Sylvia Sasse (eds.), Artists & Agents. Performance Art and the Secret Services (Leipzig: Spector Books, 2019), 686 pp.

What do performance artists and secret agents have in common? The editors of Artists and Agents. Performance Art and Secret Services, Kata Krasznahorkai and Sylvia Sasse, investigate the question what happens when both sides meet, taking a closer look at different aspects of the collisions that can occur during this encounter. The volume, which can be used for browsing or as a reference work, offers 600 pages worth of different perspectives on the issue, including the workings of … Read more

One on One: The Didactic Wall (2019) by Mladen Miljanović

The “One on One” series presents timely encounters between ARTMargins Online editors and contemporary artists, usually focused on one recent work.

Sven Spieker: Your Didactic Wall (2019) focuses on the issue of migrants, refugees, and displaced persons. The location of the project in Bihać, Bosnia and Hercegovina, is crucial because Bihać is very close to Slovenia. When Croatia closed its borders, thousands of migrants who were hoping to reach Slovenia and, from there, Northern Europe, got stuck. Why did you decide to create an installation in the form of a stone wall?

Mladen Miljanović: There are two … Read more