Category: Exhibition Reviews

Cyberfest 2014

CYBERFEST 2014, KUNSTQUARTIER BETHANIEN, BERLIN, DECEMBER 12-15, 2014; PLATOON KUNSTHALLE, BERLIN

One evening last December, an exhibition hall of the Art Center at Kunstquartier Bethanien, a handsome 19th-century building on Berlin’s Mariannenplatz, was bustling. It was a usual opening night – with food, wine, crowds of people young and old getting together and talking about art. What could have caught a local by surprise was that most of the visitors spoke Russian. Cyberfest, a yearly festival of new media, which originated in St. Petersburg in 2007, was making its second appearance in Berlin, following its debut in the German capital … Read more

Mladen Miljanović: At the Edge, acb Gallery, Budapest

Mladen Miljanovi?: At the Edge, acb Gallery, Budapest, June 6 – July 17, 2014

At the beginning of his career, Bosnian artist Mladen Miljanovi? prepared ironically toned, but rather serious, plans of attack (Artattack series, 2007) for occupying the great museums of the world. Actually, he painted military symbols on the maps of contemporary art museums and galleries representing how he could occupy their spaces. Of his targets, ironically, Budapest was the last “captured” city, as the artist showcased works in the exhibition spaces of New York, London and Venice before showing in the contemporary art institutions of neighboring … Read more

Irina Botea: It is now a matter of learning hope, at threewalls, Chicago

Irina Botea: It is now a matter of learning hope, threewalls, Chicago, April 26-May 31, 2014

Throughout her practice that spans video, film, performance and installation, Irina Botea appropriates the instruments of mediation that shape the politics of memory to reconfigure the way history frames our contemporary consciousness. Employing strategies of role-playing, reenactment, and recitation, she recasts historical events, often from her native Romania, to remediate political traumas of the past while offering alternate views of reality than those produced by mainstream media.

For her recent exhibition at threewalls, It is now a matter of learning hope, the artist presented … Read more

Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module and Paweł Althamer: The Neighbors at The New Museum, New York

Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module, THE NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK, JANUARY 22, 2014 – APRIL 13, 2014

PAWE? ALTHAMER: THE NEIGHBORS, THE NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 12, 2014 – APRIL 13, 2014

Two exhibitions of Central and Eastern European art were recently on view at the New Museum in New York. The first, Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module, was part of the Museum as Hub series, a New Museum initiative supporting exhibitions, residencies, and public programsfocused on promoting international contemporary art. It was guest curated for the New Museum by a multinational team … Read more

The 54th October Salon in Belgrade

ZEPTER EXPO, BELGRADE, 11 OCTOBER-17 NOVEMBER, 2013

The 54th installment of the October Salon in Belgrade focused on feminist and queer interventions in the dominant narratives of knowledge production within patriarchal post-socialist and neoliberal realities. It boldly introduced a variety of artistic expressions within the “Living Archive” framework proposed by the Red Min(e)d curatorial team (Danijela Dugandži? Živanovi?, Katja Kobolt, Dunja Kukovec and Jelena Petrovi?). The concept of “Living Archive” derives from theoretical elaborations of a new, feminist archive in lieu of the standard, conventional systems of archivization and of the traditional archive as a site for normative meaning production. … Read more

Cinema by Other Means at MoCA, Belgrade

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, BELGRADE, JUNE 22 – SEPTEMBER 29, 2013

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade recently presented the exhibition Cinema by Other Means at the ?olakovi? Gallery, their off-site exhibition space. The gallery is named after Rodoljub ?olakovi?, a high-ranking party functionary in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and a man of letters. ?olakovi? wrote the book House of Lament in 1941 under the pen name Rudi R. Bosamac. This book was banned by the royalist authorities in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for its socially critical views and exposé on the situation of political prisoners. ?olakovi? … Read more

Monika Zawadzki at Kordegarda Gallery

Monika Zawadzki Tent and the Fireplace at Kordegarda Gallery, Warsaw, October 11– November 4, 2012

When viewers entered the gallery where the exhibition of Monika Zawadzki was installed they were confronted by a tent and fireplace, both of them easily associated with the living areas of the first societies. In this way Zawadzki, whose work was also presented in the exhibition The Biggest Delight is To Avoid Contact with Society, in Warsaw (2006), creates a situation that refers to the rituals of community creation.

Zawadzki recalls the archaic and the archetypical, bringing us closer to the questions about building the … Read more

The Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922-32

Graham Foundation, Chicago, October 11, 2012-February 16, 2013

The Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922-32 presents a small selection of British photographer Richard Pare’s massive archive of nearly 15,000 photographs of modernist Soviet architecture in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The exhibition, on view at the Graham Foundation’s prairie-style Madlener House, was part of an original exhibition produced by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Framing the project as a documentary enterprise, The Lost Vanguard posits that the sites captured by Pare were largely unknown, not only in the West but also within the Soviet Union, during the … Read more

The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art ARSENALE 2012

MYSTETSKYI ARSENAL, KYIV, MAY 24-JULY 31, 2012

The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art ARSENALE 2012 [http://arsenale2012.com], which took place concurrently with the Euro 2012 football championship hosted by Ukraine and Poland, had a dual aim to present high-quality artworks from all over the world in Kyiv and to display Ukrainian contemporary artists to the world on par with their international counterparts. Commissioned by Nataliia Zabolotna, the Biennale featured: Main Project “The Best of Times, The Worst of Times. Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art” (curator David Elliott); Special Project “Double Game” (curator Oleksandr Soloviov with coordination by Fabio … Read more

Vision and Communism at The Smart Museum (Exhibition Review)

The Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, September 29, 2011-January 22, 2012

Upon entering the exhibition Vision and Communism, the viewer is purposefully presented with little information about the Soviet artist and designer Viktor Koretsky (1909- 1998). The almost ninety examples of Koretsky’s work on display make up the largest show featuring this artist in America to date, and include lithographic print posters, mixed-media maquettes, and black-and-white photographs. The exhibition is framed by both its enigmatic title and in the exhibition space itself so that Koretsky’s visually arresting work makes maximum visual impact.

While the pieces are not accompanied … Read more

Eyes Looking For a Head to Inhabit in Łódź (Exhibition Review)

Eyes Looking For a Head to Inhabit, curated by Aleksandra Jach, Joanna Soko?owska, Katarzyna S?oboda and Magdalena Zió?kowska, Museum of Art ?ód?, 30 September, 2011-11 December, 2011.

The exhibition at the Museum of Art in ?ód? celebrates the 80th anniversary of the International Collection of Modern Art, which was created by members of the Polish constructivist avantgarde: Katarzyna Kobro and W?adys?aw Strzemi?ski, with the effective help of Jan Brz?kowski and Henryk Sta?ewski, who together constituted the “a.r.” (revolutionary artists) group. This historical collection, encompassing a variety of contemporary artists’ works ranging from van Doesburg, through Leger, to Arp and Ernst, … Read more

Journey to the East (Exhibition Review)

Journey to the East, Galeria Arsenal in Bia?ystok, August 5-September 30, 2011

The Journey to the East opened on August 5 (until September 30) at the Galeria Arsenal in Bia?ystok, Poland. Curated by Monika Szewczyk, along with a team of local curators from the countries featured in the exhibition – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Poland – the comprehensive show featured artworks filling two gallery spaces, objects in the public space of Bia?ystok, performances and a day-long conference. The project is being realized within the Cultural Program of the Polish EU Presidency in 2011, and will travel later … Read more

Yael Bartana Screening at Gene Siskel Film Center (SAIC)

Conversations at the Edge, Gene Siskel Film Center (SAIC), Chicago, March 4 – April 14, 2011.

Yael Bartana, known for her politically charged films and videos that explore Israeli culture and Jewish identity, will represent Poland at the 54th Biennale of Art in Venice, the first artist of non-Polish nationality to do so. Her project, and Europe will be stunned, co-curated by Sebastian Cichocki and Galit Eilat, “calls” for the return of Jews to Poland and the rebuilding of a multicultural society, as explored in her previous films Mary Koszmary/Nightmares (2007) and Mur I Wieza/Wall and Tower (2009). The … Read more

“ЯКЩО / ЕСЛИ / IF”, PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art (Exhib. Review)

“???? / ???? / IF”, PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art, May 21 – July 10, 2010

The presentation of Ukrainian contemporary art in the exhibition ???? / ???? / IF at the PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art in Russia–the first such comprehensive display outside of Ukraine’s borders–appeared to be a political act. The initiative of the Moscow-based curator, Ekaterina Degot, raised immediate suspicions. How will a Russian curator, essentiallyan outsider, approach the task of showcasing Ukrainian art in her native country? How will the exhibition address the long and complicated shared history of the two neighboring countries? What are the … Read more

Manifesta 8 (Exhib. Review)

Manifesta 8, Murcia and Cartagena, Spain; 15 venues plus various channels of mass media, October 9, 2010–January 9, 2011
Curatorial collectives: Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF), Chamber of Public Secrets (CPS), and tranzit.org

The memorable night party scene in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita was inspired by a real life event at the birthday party of a millionaire’s fiancé in a Trastevere restaurant. Anita Ekberg, one of the invited celebrities, kicked off her shoes and with her spaghetti straps hanging loose, performed an impassioned barefoot cha-cha. The year was 1958, so the gesture came across as audacious even for … Read more

Andrzej Wróblewski at the Van Abbemuseum (Exhib. Review)

Andrzej Wróblewski, To the Margin and Back, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, April 10 – August 15, 2010.

It is difficult to discuss Polish art after 1945 without taking into account the specific political context of the time. This is especially true about Andrzej Wróblewski’s work in Poland which is discussed, primarily, from a historical perspective of the war and its brutalities, or within the specific conditions of the post-war period in Poland. The exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the first international museum solo show, was an attempt at representing a new approach to Wróblewski’s work.

In her … Read more

Yevgeniy Fiks, Ayn Rand in Illustrations (Exhib. Review)

Yevgeniy Fiks, Ayn Rand in Illustrations, Winkleman Gallery, New York, June 18 – July 30, 2010

Yevgeniy Fiks’ project Ayn Rand in Illustrations combines two divergent ideological paradigms – Western Objectivism, as it is expressed in Atlas Shrugged (1957), a lengthy novel by American author and philosopher Ayn Rand, and Socialist Realism, an aesthetic dogma formulated in Soviet Russia under Stalin. Both converge on a new hybrid counter-image of modern history. Illustrations consist of a large number of book pages (even with the page numbers), each divided in two sections: a text with a fragment from Rand’s book, and an … Read more

Encounters in Relational Geography at Open Space, Vienna (Exhib Review)

Encounters in Relational Geography – Dust, Ashes, Residua, Open Space, Vienna, 2 June – 2 July 2010

The Viennese project art centre Open Space (http://openspace-zkp.org) created a profile for itself within a few years by showing the kind of art that is best described as “in between.” On the one hand, this was a conscious, strategic choice designed to make the most of the gulf that separates the mainstream from the alternative art scene, the center (Austria, Western Europe, North America) from the periphery (Eastern Europe). On the other hand, it could be seen as a strategy for … Read more

BB4 – The International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Bucharest (Exhib. Review)

The Fourth Edition of the International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Bucharest, “Handlung – On Producing Possibilities,” various locations, May 21 – July 25, 2010.

Contrary to what might be expected from the concept of “biennale,” BB4  is a small-scale international group exhibition that differs significantly from the contemporary “blockbusters” in other cities. It unites thirty-seven artists by posing a conceptual question that addresses typical issues in Bucharest; namely architectural entropy, diversity, and lack of urban coherence, or the memory of communism, which is still very much alive in the collective conscience. The goal of the organizers is to create … Read more

Almagul Menlibayeva at Priska Juschka Fine Arts (Exhib. Review)

Almagul Menlibayeva, Daughters of Turan, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York

Daughters of Turan is an exhibition of recent video and photographic work by Almagul Menlibayeva that introduces the viewer to the history and culture of the artist’s native Kazakhstan. Menlibayeva has cited video and performance artist Nezaket Ekici from Turkey as her one of the artists who have influenced her. Like Ekici Menlibayeva shows old rituals in contemporary interpretations. Instead of subverting tradition, Menlibayeva aims to demonstrate that the traditional and the modern (such as popular culture) can mutually enrich each other.

For Menlibaeava this is already her … Read more

Yevgeniy Fiks at Winkleman Gallery (Exhib. Review)

Yevgeniy Fiks, Ayn Rand in Illustrations, Winkleman Gallery, New York, June 18 – July 30, 2010

Over a long history, image and text have related in complicated ways. But one idea remains constant: that when placed in juxtaposition to each other, we expect important connections to be revealed.

In his exhibition at the Winkleman Gallery, Ayn Rand in Illustrations, Yevgeniy Fiks adds another layer of complexity to this relationship; as an émigré from a former anti-capitalist state (the Soviet Union), he has decided to confront the work of one of the most vehement capitalist populists. The fact that Rand was … Read more

The Seductiveness of the Interval at the Renaissance Society (Exhib. Review)

Stefan Constantinescu, Andrea Faciu, Ciprian Muresan, and studioBASAR. The Seductiveness of the Interval, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Co-organized with the Romanian Cultural Institute
Alina Serban, curator, May 2-June 27, 2010.

The interval, more than just an empty, liminal space, allows for a gooey, messy mélange of works that are at once sensuous, affective, and intimate, while pointing to the harsh realities of a world plagued by hope at the same time as despair. The artists featured in this exhibition are also stuck in an interval: they are old enough to have come of age during Communist … Read more

Gender Check at the Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna (Exhib. Review)

Gender Check. Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe, Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna, November 13, 2009 – February 14, 2010; Zach?ta, Warsaw, March 19, 2010 – June 13, 2010

Although the End of History thesis proposed by Francis Fukuyama was repeatedly and convincingly disavowed, the year 1989 nevertheless marked an end of an era in a multitude of ways. One of the issues that appeared from the changed political and intellectual situation in Europe was the need to juxtapose Western and Eastern narratives of art history. Although benefiting from the perspective of hindsight, contemporary art historical discourses don’t … Read more

Gaspard of the Night at the Center for Contemporary Art Futura, Prague (Exhib. Review)

Gaspard of the Night, The Center for Contemporary Art Futura, Prague. March 2, 2010-May 9, 2010.

What characterizes art in the 21st century? What is the role of meaning in art and what function does fantasy play in the current post-conceptual approach towards art? According to Václav Magid, curator of the Gaspard of the Night exhibition currently showing at the Center for Contemporary Art Futura in Prague, the past two decades have emphasized rationality, resulting in an overly descriptive tendency in contemporary art.  To resist this phenomenon, Magid applies two seemingly contradicting concepts/principles: the gothic and the grotesque. The grotesque … Read more

50% Grey: Contemporary Czech Photography Reconsidered at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (Exhib. Review)

50% Grey: Contemporary Czech Photography Reconsidered, Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, Chicago, January 29, 2010—March 28, 2010.

In 1999, ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Piotr Piotrowski described the former East as “the grey zone of Europe.” “There is no doubt that the historico-geographical coordinates of Central Europe are in a state of flux,” he writes, “that we are experiencing both historical and geographical transformation, that we are between two different times, between two different spatial shapes.”(Piotr Piotrowski, “The Grey Zone of Europe,” After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe (Stockholm: Moderna Read more

Visual Tactics at the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, September 2009-January 2010 (Exhib. Review)

Blickmaschinen oder wie Bilder entstehen. Zeitgenössische Künstler schauen auf die Sammlung Werner Nekes, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, September 2009-January 2010.

The curators of the Blickmaschinen exhibition attempt to answer the question of how the image of the world appears, how it manifests itself, and how it is received and interpreted. The issue of the ontological status of representation was virtually absent in the discourse of art history until the late 20th century. With the emergence of post- structuralism, however, a lively process of re-negotiating the status of representation began. James Elkins lists a few of the starting points … Read more

Blue Noses at Guelman, Moscow (Exhib. Review)

Blue Noses (Viacheslav Mizin and Alexander Shaburov), Proletarian Conceptualism, Guelman Gallery, Moscow, December 22, 2009 – January 21, 2010.

Russian art provocateurs Blue Noses continue to trick the audience by a mixture of satire, humor, and provocation in the new series of photographic prints, Proletarian Conceptualism, at the Gelman gallery, Moscow.

The duo’s photograph of two kissing policemen (An Epoch of Clemency, 2004)


banned by Russia’s culture minister from traveling to a scheduled show in Paris in 2007–pushed all the right buttons, revealing the hypocrisy of military morals and state censorship. In the new show, Blue Noses … Read more

The 4th International Baku Art Festival (Exhib. Review)

The 4th International Biennale of Contemporary Art “Alüminium,” Shirvanshah Palace, Baku, Azerbaijan, December 11-17, 2009.

The 4th International Baku Art festival opened among the vaults and minarets of the event’s main venue, the Shirvanshah Palace, one of a handful examples of fifteenth-century Islamic architecture.

Housed at multiple venues around the city, including the hulking former Museum of Lenin (now State Carpet Museum),the festival showcased works by 65 contemporary artists from Central Asia, Russia, Europe, and the United States.

Around the city of Baku, a battle has unfolded between desires to update past glory, or to enter the globalized world and … Read more

The 2009 Jindřich Chalupecký Award (Review)

Every year, the Czech art scene impatiently awaits five nominations for the final round of the Jind?ich Chalupecký award, open to young artists under the age of thirty-five. Although the prize is awarded for long term contributions to the Czech art scene, the final verdict depends more or less on new works that are exhibited in a show organized at the award event itself. This year, the exhibition was held at Dox, a center for contemporary art in Prague. The exhibition included works by Tomáš Džado? a Prague-based artist of Slovak origin, the art duo Ji?í Franta and David Böhm, … Read more