Category: 20th


“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

Performing Oneself into History: Two Versions of Trio for Piano (Tallinn, 1969/1990)

During the late 1980s and early 1990s everything changed in the Estonian art world, as it did in the art worlds of other Baltic states and the entire Soviet Union. Not only was art itself – its techniques, media, strategies, contents, and purposes – rethought and the functional and financial system of the art scene reorganized, but also the self-perception of artists, their understanding of their activities and their relation to world culture, both contemporary and historical.

Many artists, critics, and art historians have described the situation during this period as a time of total confusion. Much of what they … Read more

When Canons Roar: Artists Reflect on the Conflict in Ukraine

For the 2015 edition of the Supermarket Art Fair in Stockholm (the annual international artist-run art fair), artists from Ukraine and its neighbouring countries were invited to discuss the role of art in times of war and chaos, as well as the possibilities for collaborating across borders. The art fair brought together artist-driven initiatives from around the world, including the collectives Parazit (St. Petersburg) and Open Place (Kyiv), whose members participated in the discussion below, together with Maria Kulikovskaya, an artist who is currently starting up an interdisciplinary feminist art residency in Kyiv. Building on this conversation in Stockholm, I … Read more

Socialist Realist Graphic Art in Albania (Book Review)

Maks Velo, Grafika e Realizmit Socialist në Shqipëri / Socialist Realist Graphic Art in Albania, Tirana: Emal, 2014, 305 pp.

One of the great questions confronted by any history of art in the twentieth century, and particularly of the art of Eastern Europe, is that of the artistic significance of Socialist Realism and the issues surrounding its legacy. This is especially true in Albania, one of the countries where Socialist Realism persisted as the dominant style for more than forty years—especially during the period (1944-1985) whenthe country was led by socialist dictator Enver Hoxha. In Albania, the question of Socialist … Read more

To be Partisan, Unsettled, and Alert: Conversation with Geeta Kapur

Preface written by Geeta Kapoor (New Delhi)

This interview, conducted as part of a book project on Marx in Malayalam, is strongly contextual. The southern state of Kerala has the distinction of being the site for the first elected Communist ministry in the world. This was in 1957. The subsequent dismissal of the Communists remains a stain on the otherwise progressive politics of then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Generations of political activists in Kerala have tested the full spectrum of radical politics including elected governments and extreme left-wing positions that call for direct (revolutionary) action. Kerala intellectuals and artists are … Read more

Interview with Geta Brătescu (Adriana Oprea)

For most of her career Geta Bratescu worked under communism in Romania. Bratescu studied at the Faculty of Letters and the Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where her master teacher was Camil Ressu. Her body of work comprises drawing, collage, engraving, tapestry, objects, photography, experimental film, video and performance. She is also the author of several books — documents of daily studio notes, reflections about art and travel experiences. Already an established artist in 1989 when the communist regime ended in Romania, Bratescu continued to work and participate in important local exhibitions such as The Gender of Mozart (Artexpo, … Read more

From Biopolitics to Necropolitics: Marina Gržinić in conversation with Maja and Reuben Fowkes

Marina Grzinic is a philosopher, artist and theoretician, and a research director at the Institute of Philosophy at the Scientific and Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She is also a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Institute of Fine Arts, Conceptual Art, in Austria. Grzinic was in Budapest recently to give a lecture A Passion for History in the Depoliticized and Castrated European Union Regime, as part of the Ludwig Museum’s lecture series, Theoretical and Critical Problems of the Margins Today. Maja and Reuben Fowkes met with her to discuss … Read more

Provincializing the West: Interview with Piotr Piotrowski

Piotr Piotrowski teaches at Adam Mickiewitz University, Pozna?. As a professor of art history, he has served as a mentor for a new generation of art historians seeking fresh, critical approaches to the historical and contemporary art of the region. He was the director of the National Museum in Warsaw (2009-2010). He is the author of In the Shadow of Yalta: Art and the Avant-garde in Eastern Europe, 1945-1989 (Reaktion, 2009), and Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (Reaktion, 2012). He received the Igor Zabel international award in 2010. This interview was conducted by Edit András on the occasion of … Read more

Troubles with History: Skopje 2014

“Even the automobiles have an air of antiquity here”. — Guillaume Apollinaire

“Only here”, Chirico once said, “is it possible to paint. The streets have such gradation of gray.”  — Walter Benjamin

Building Bonanza
Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia at the moment undergoes one of Europe’s biggest urban and art upheavals – the project is dubbed Skopje 2014. Labeled as a “building bonanza”,(Smith, Helena. “Macedonian statue: Alexander the Great or a Warrior on a Horse?”, Guardian, 14 August 2011, by the British Guardian, Skopje 2014 project was planned by the Government for several … Read more

Ostalgia at the New Museum (Review Article)

Ostalgia, The New Museum, New York, July 14-October 2, 2011

Nostalgia has many guises – homesickness, yearning, desire, melancholia. Susan Stewart defines nostalgia as a “social disease,” a “sadness without an object,” a narrative that is fundamentally ideological. “Hostile to history and its invisible origins . . . ,” she argues, “nostalgia wears a distinctly utopian face, a face that turns toward a future-past, a past which has only ideological reality.”(Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (Baltimore and London: John Hopkins University Press, 1984), 23.) Walter Benjamin wrote about Leftist … Read more

Interview with Artpool Cofounder Júlia Klaniczay

In 1979, Júlia Klaniczay co founded Artpool together with the artist György Galántai. From 1976 onward she was a participant of many art projects concieved by Galántai within the framework of Artpool. Klaniczay is in charge of Artpool’s archives and publications. From 1977 to 1992 she was also the editor-in-chief at Akadémiai Kiadó, the publishing house of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Klaniczay has authored several articles and seved as a researcher for the alternative art scenes of the 1970s and 1980s. Since 1992 she has been the director of the public nonprofit institution Artpool Art Research Center in Budapest.… Read more

Miško Suvaković, “The Neo-Avant-Garde in Yugoslavia 1951-1973” (Podcast)

Miško Šuvakovi? is a theorist and ex-conceptual artist. He works and lives in Belgrade. Šuvakovi? was a co-founder and member of conceptual artistic Group 143 (1975 – 1980), and a co-founder and member of the informal theoretic and artistic “Community for Space Investigation” (1982–1989). He has participated in TkH – tehory platform from October 2000. From 1988 he has been a member of the Slovenian Aesthetic Society. Šuvakovi? teaches aesthetics and theory of art at the Faculty of Music and theory of art and culture at the University of Art (both Belgrade). Šuvakovi? is the co-editor of the magazines Katalog Read more

Chto delat’? The Theory and Practice of Critical Intervention: Sven Spieker in Conversation with Dmitry Vilensky (St. Petersburg) (Podcast)


Interview with St. Petersburg-based Dmitry Vilensky (Santa Barbara, March 2, 2010/Sven Spieker). Vilensky is a founding member of the collective Chto delat’. The collective was founded in early 2003 by a group of artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from Petersburg, Moscow, and Nizhny Novgorod. The idea was to merge political theory, art, and activism, and to politicize Russian intellectual culture. Chto delat’ publishes an English-Russian newspaper on issues central to activist culture. Chto delat‘ sees itself as a self-organizing platform for cultural workers who want to politicize the production of knowledge and develop critical autonomy outside of … Read more

Creating Context: Zdenka Badovinac on Eastern Europe’s Missing Histories (Interview)

Zdenka Badovinac has been the director of the Ljubljana Museum of Modern Art (Moderna galerija) since 1993. She has curated numerous exhibitions presenting both Slovenian and international artists. Badovinac initiated the first collection of Eastern European art, Moderna galerija’s 2000+ Arteast Collection. She has been systematically dealing with the processes of redefining history and with the questions of different avant-garde traditions of contemporary art, first with the exhibition Body and the East – From the 1960s to the Present, staged in 1998 at Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, and traveling to Exit Art, New York in 2001. She continued in … Read more

The Public and the Private Body in Contemporary Romanian Art

Never has the obsession with the body been more alive than in the contemporary period, with its tendency to turn narcissistically inwards. In psychoanalysis, the term “narcissism” describes the behavior of people who treat their own bodies as a “sexual object.”Rosolato, G., “Recension du corps, in Pontalis ”, J.-B., “Lieux du corps”, Nouvelle revue de psychanalyse, no. 3 printemps 1971, Gallimard, Paris.   According to observations from the same field of research, “the narcissistic behavior of identification” acknowledges both “awareness of the body” and “awareness of the self” as distinct symbolic forms, which are nevertheless in permanent correlation.

Unfettered … Read more

East of Art: Transformations in Eastern Europe: “On (Un-) Changing Canons and Extreme Avantgardes”

Europe is now building a kind of wall which functions as a united police force to cordon off Europe. There are, for example, some plans for a literal wall between the United States and Mexico, some kind of electronic wall.

So, there was this dream period where freedom was universal globalism. Now, walls are again popping up, which is why maybe such exhibitions can have such meaning.

So, I would like now, nonetheless, to say some small things in the praise of this poor, real socialism. The first one, I just have to refer here just a little bit to

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Leaving Las Vegas

Since 1996, Dmitri Shalin, who teaches sociology at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, has organized bi-annual festivals devoted to (post-) Soviet culture in the City of Lights, with a varying cast of participants and audiences drawn from all over the country. Last year’s festival (November 19-22, 2000) was entitled Cold War, Hot Culture. Vladimir Paperny and Svetlana Boym present their impressions of the event and throw in a collection of doodles by some of its illustrious participants.

“Poisonous Blankets”

It all started in 1996, when my friend Yuri Neyman and I were sitting on his porch in … Read more

Video, Archive, Storage: Moscow Performance Art in the Age of Digital Repetition

Andrey Monastyrski lives and works in Moscow where he studied philology. Since 1971/72 he has created serial structures and minimalist sound compositions. In the mid-1970s, he began to be interested in poetic objects and performance actions. Monastyrski is one of the founding members of the group Collective Actions.

Collective Actions (Kollektivnye deistviya) was founded in 1976 by Andrey Monastyrski, Nikolai Panitkov, Georgi Kiesel’valter, and Nikita Alexeyev. Elena Elagina, Igor Makarevic, and Sergei Romasko joined the group at a later stage. Collective Actions (whose composition has changed frequently over time) quickly became one of the nubs of Moscow conceptualism. The … Read more

“A Universal System for Depicting Everything”: A Dialogue Between Ilya Kabakov and Boris Groys

I. K.: Without any foreword my album “A Universal System for Depicting Everything” plunges into an exploration of some sort of fantastic system, namely, a system for a view from the fourth dimension. It is an elaboration, in several sketches, of how our reality, the different qualities of our reality, can be seen from this dimension. For the viewer, of course, what is being discussed is not at all comprehensible, nor is it clear who is the one proposing such a system, or who has seen it. The very flow of speech-emotional, not entirely logical, gasping-indicates that a rather strange … Read more

“It’s Yesterday’s Train That’s Late” : Underground Rock and the Changing Face of Art Theory in Hungary

Trabant-icon of Hungarian underground rock
Jeno Menyhart, one of the most articulate personalities of the Hungarian underground rock scene, once remarked somewhat cryptically that “it is yesterday’s train that’s late”. He said it in a resigned voice, shortly before his emigration to the United States in 1994, as we were sitting in the new, American-style “Chicago” café, located on the largest boulevard in central Budapest, right across from the New York coffee house. Jeno and I had been talking about how the circumstances of daily life had changed in post-socialist Hungary, and how consumerism had come to shape our urban … Read more

Conceptual Reflection in Polish Art – Experiences of Discourse: 1965-1975

Conceptual Reflection in Polish Art – Experiences of Discourse: 1965-1975, Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw. May 31 – September 5, 1999

Conceptual Reflection in Polish Art. Experiences of Discourse, 1965-1975, exhibiting at Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw from May 31 until 5 September, 1999, is the most comprehensive review of the achievements of Polish conceptual art until now. It features works created between the end of the 1960s and the first half of 1970s. The exhibition attempts to sum up an artistic tendency which still exerts a considerable influence on the development of art … Read more