Category: Print Content

The Heresy of Didactic Art

Note: This double issue of ARTMargins consists of two sections. First comes a special issue, edited by Sven Spieker and Tom Holert (“The Heresy of Didactic Art”), followed by a section where we offer four new research articles on topics aligned with other editorial priorities (pp. 126-225).

ARTMargins Online, Volume 11, Issue 1-2, pp. 3-9.

doi:10.1162/artm_e_00312

https://direct.mit.edu/artm/article/11/1-2/3/111799/The-Heresy-of-Didactic-Art

In The Vortex of Institutional Lives

Following from a series of conversations that have been taking place sporadically between us11 in the past years, the current contribution serves as another opportunity to address ways of living multiple institutional lives. In our respective contexts, these pertain to different types of institutions, ranging from art school/academy, to university, to art or cultural organization/collective. Here we explore ways of traversing the boundaries and frictions between radical classroom practices and the institutional processes and frameworks that we speak and act within and against in the context of European higher arts education; all these environments are deeply entrenched in coloniality. We … Read more

Scenes of Access, Politics of Difference

Since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, museum reformers have struggled to comply with the federal codes for accessibility. This essay accounts for the ambitions and limitations of these debates around access in the museum that were caught in the double bind between public expectation and private market forces, ultimately giving rise to a particular type of bottom-up reform organized around parametric gradients and attitudinal shifts. It does so by juxtaposing manuals for museum educators from the 1990s with artworks by New York City–based artists such as Carolyn Lazard, Jordan Lord, and Park McArthur who all … Read more

Between the Personal and the Political: On Marianne Wex’s Let’s Take Back Our Space

From 1972 to 1977 the West German artist Marianne Wex (1937-2020) undertook an extensive photographic research project that eventually was published as a book: Let’s Take Back Our Space: “Female” and “Male” Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures (1979). Both visual analysis and homeopathic demonstration of the patriarchal state’s performative effect on somatic physical expression, the book is as much a work of renegade feminist sociology as it is a work of photo-conceptualism. This essay performs an archaeology of Let’s Take Back Our Space, reading it in the context of contemporaneous aestheticopolitical discourses, including feminist autodidacticism

ARTMargins Read more

Learning on the Run: From Psycho-Modernism to Fugitive Sociality

 

Two exhibition and research projects, Creativity Exercises and Back to the Sandbox, are united by the history of reform pedagogy, Friederich Fröbel, and the legacy of the Bauhaus. The books related to the projects explore didactic and participatory art, questioning how to teach art, how to reform or radicalize education, and what participatory art practices share with pedagogy. The centerpiece of the first project is the work of Miklós Erdély and Dora Maurer, specifically the classes they organized at the Ganz-MAVAG factory in Budapest from 1975–1977. Although framed as part of an international turn toward creativity research during
Read more

Miklós Erdély, Ernst Bloch, Kurt Gödel, and Hidden Green

The introductory text interprets Eszter Bartholy’s article about Miklós Erdély’s exhibition Hidden Green. Bartholy’s article is based on an interview with Erdély, and contain direct and indirect quotes from one of the most significant Hungarian neo-avant-garde artist. The introductory text describes how Erdély’s own interpretation of his exhibition Hidden Green is present in Bartholy’s article. Bartholy’s analysis of Hidden Green sheds light on the way that Erdély combines ars poetica and art theory, while directly reflecting on utopia and on the social function and significance of art. While the text about Hidden Green seems like the interpretation of an exhibition, … Read more

Hidden Green by Miklós Erdély

Erdély spread hay over approximately four-fifths of the 12 × 5 m floor of the Budaörs Cultural Center. He left the remaining one-fifth near the entrance uncovered. The door, illuminated by a spotlight, was painted black along with the adjacent area in order to prevent reflections of the spotlight. The space was dominated by a homogeneous green light.

ARTMargins Online, Volume 11, Issue 1-2, pp. 102-105.

The Notebook

This short text is structured in two parts. The first one defines a significant part of my artistic practice as finding a way to represent thought, to transmit the action of thinking, this being done by means of short notes, diagrams, drawings, and sketches in a notebook. The second part defends an idea of art as accessible and necessary for everyone, pedagogical not in the sense that it “should” transmit knowledge but in the sense that it constructs a society where learning is pleasure.

ARTMargins Online, Volume 11, Issue 1-2, pp. 106-123.

From The Editors

The articles in the second section of our double issue focus on art practices from Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Palestine. Each in their own way, these authors discuss art and film practices that complicate the process by which we establish genealogies, trace histories, and narrate historical developments, intervening in linear trajectories and pointing to possible alternatives.

ARTMargins Online, Volume 11, Issue 1-2, pp. 124-125.

doi:10.1162/artm_e_00307

https://direct.mit.edu/artm/article/11/1-2/124/111808/From-The-Editors

Madness as a Form of Knowledge: Pavel Ivanovich Karpov’s Creativity of the Mentally Ill

Within the span of only four years, two books on the same subject and with almost identical titles were published on two sides of Europe: Hans Prinzhorn’s Artistry of the Mentally Ill (Berlin, 1922) and Pavel Ivanovich Karpov’s Creativity of the Mentally Ill (Moscow, 1926). Whereas the first book was recognized as one of the key steps in the “discovery” of the psychotic art and its eventual mainstreaming, the second one quickly fell into obscurity. Its author perished in Stalinist purges of the 1930s, together with a number of his colleagues from the Russian Academy of Artistic Science (RAKhN, 1921-1931),

Read more

Dreams/Cinema/Palestine: Unoccupied Spaces in The Dream and My Love Awaits Me by the Sea

This article explores the connections between dreams, cinema, and Palestine. Drawing upon the work of Ghassan Hage, the author argues that dreams and cinema should not be valued only for their connection to resistance and that these phenomena can sometimes reveal unoccupied spaces, even in occupied Palestine. The author then turns to two documentary films: Mohammad Malas’ The Dream (1987) and Mais Darwazah’s My Love Awaits Me by the Sea (2013). Whereas the former film documents the dreams that haunt Palestinians at night, the latter investigates those dreams that follow them throughout the day. Through these dreams, both films stage … Read more

Reassessing Moscow Conceptualism: The View from the Nest

This essay argues for a radical reassessment of Moscow Conceptualism to incorporate the underappreciated Nest, the group of artists Gennady Donskoy, Mikhail Roshal, and Victor Skersis active in Moscow from 1974 to 1979. The Nest’s emphasis on models of shared artistic investigation, audience autonomy, and unconstructed aesthetic response helped reshape Moscow Conceptualism in the late 1970s and early 1980s, making their experience essential to understanding both the era and the works of particular artists they influenced, including Yuri Albert, Vadim Zakharov, Nadezhda Stolpovskaya, and others. The Nest’s focus on alternative media and new genres, particularly on unstructured performative works, helped … Read more

Photography Against Reproduction: Željko Jerman’s My Year, 1977

As a young artist active in socialist Zagreb in the 1970s, Željko Jerman subjected photographic prints and negatives to destructive techniques such as scratching, scribbling, and intentionally poor development. Jerman’s work was heralded by curator Radoslav Putar as an attempt to “cross the boundaries and overcome the limitations of classical photography,” but also met with dismissal from less open-minded critics due to its rejection of traditional aesthetics. This article shows how through his destructive tactics, Jerman enacted a formal “death” of the photograph, while also taking death as a central philosophical and representational theme at the level of the image. … Read more

Erratum: Introduction to Jalal Al-e Ahmade “To Mohassess, for the Wall”

Mohammadreza Mirzaei’s “Introduction to Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s “To Mohassess, For the Wall’ “ (ARTM 10:2), p. 120 (https://doi.org/10.1162/artm_a_00296) contains an error. The line “For example, neither the work of Behjat Sadr nor Mohsen Vaziri Moghadam’s Sand Paintings …” should read, “For example, the work of Behjat Sadr as well as Mohsen Vaziri Moghadam’s Sand Paintings… .” We regret the mistake.

ARTMargins Online, Volume 11, Issue 1-2, pp. 226.

From the Editors

Ten years ago, the printed version of ARTMargins joined its sister publication, ARTMargins Online. The idea of the three founding editors— Sven Spieker, Angela Harutyunyan, and Octavian Esanu—was to create an innovative art historical journal with a broad remit that would offer some measure of correction to the euphoria surrounding globalized art at the time, and that would include contributions from the perspectives of artists, scholars, and critics. Would this hybrid publication model, which was somewhat unusual for an academic journal, be acceptable to its future publisher and readers? More importantly, would it find a place among already-existing publications that Read more

The Ghosts of Past Events in the Hall of Mirrors

The heads of states met at the end of World War I to sign the Versailles treaty in 1919 in the Palace’s hall of mirrors. This was at the time when Europe was infected with the Spanish flu pandemic that lasted until 1922. The project is a visual narration of the conjunction of these two historical events that have uncanny reverberations in the present: the Versailles treaty has charted the path towards present-day geopolitical crises, and the Spanish flu can be seen as a prelude to the COVID pandemic and its response.

ARTMargins Online, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp. … Read more

Taxonomy of Breathing

Taxonomy of Breathing is a socially conscious, multidisciplinary art project that investigates our current societal moment through the lens of
breath—its vulnerability to restriction, and its power of transformation. The fragility of the body—with breath as its essential element—is
a manifestation of our environment, our historical moment, and our political and social context. It is at once foundational and aspirational, embodied, and symbolic.

ARTMargins Online, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp. 202-206.

doi:10.1162/artm_a_00306

Art and Scholarship in Moments of Historical Danger

Consider the nature and function of art and art historical scholarship in the present: Is there still a line—even fine or porous—securing the fragile autonomy of the arts and humanities from commodification in late capitalism? Can art still serve as a negative and critical mirror for reality under the seemingly complete commodification and technological mediation of social life? Is there any real need for art and art historical scholarship even to exist today? Can the arts and humanities serve an emancipatory social agenda, and, if so, how? What role might the humanist ideals once shared by liberals and communists play … Read more

What is Radical?

What does it mean to think and act radically, and how does this relate to forms of radicalism connected to earlier moments, for example, in the 20th century? What can be the role of radical art and scholarship under the conditions of late capitalism? More generally, how can art and artists serve the ongoing struggle for social justice and the agendas of emancipatory social change? Finally, what kinds of art criticism and art historical scholarship are necessary to address the great challenges of our uncertain future?

ARTMargins Online, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp. 8-96.

doi:10.1162/artm_a_00301

Art and Class Struggle

What do we need to know about “art” or “class struggle” before considering their relation to one another? Could you describe a specific work or text that might serve as an illustration of class struggle or as an exploration of the problem of representing it? Let us say that visual art, broadly speaking, does express the worldview of the dominant class. What kind of art then expresses the worldview of, say, hedge fund managers? Does the dialectic of the visible and invisible still hold for conceptual and post-conceptual art? What alternative critical apparatus would you propose, since neither Lenin nor … Read more

Art under Neoliberalism

Apart from the longstanding and much-debated problem of art’s commodification, how does neoliberalism transform and determine the conditions of artistic practice? Further, if neoliberalism is a substantially distinct stage in the history of capitalism, and not merely its intensification, what are the implications of this new condition for the practice and criticism of contemporary art? What does it mean to practice and theorize art, to be an artist or critic, under neoliberalism? Drawing on the central topic of this issue, is aesthetic, artistic, or political radicality in art still possible under the neoliberal condition? Can, or should, artistic practice constitute … Read more

From the Editors

The devastating effects of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic have poignantly laid bare, once again, the limits of our capacity to act together and cooperate, even in the face of imminent threats to human survival on this planet. Unsurprisingly, deeply ingrained market mechanisms have ensured, both institutionally and ideologically, that international competition rather than solidarity determined the rhythm and mode of the fight against the global pandemic. Beyond and besides the very necessary measures to prevent contagion, the current crisis further accelerated the proliferation of borders, walls, and checkpoints (physical and otherwise) that have been more effective at segregating humans than Read more

“I Lived without Seeing These Art Works”: (Albanian) Socialist Realism and/against Contemporary Art

This article looks closely at the inclusion of Albanian Socialist Realism in one of renowned Swiss curator Harald Szeemann’s last exhibitions, Blood & Honey: The Future’s in the Balkans (Essl Museum, Vienna, 2003). In this exhibition, Szeemann installed a group of around 40 busts created during the socialist era in Albania, which he had seen installed at the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana. This installation of sculptures was part of an exhibition entitled Homo Socialisticus, curated by Gëzim Qëndro, and Szeemann deployed it as a generalized foil for “subversive” postsocialist contemporary art included in Blood & Honey. The Homo … Read more

Navigating Internationalism from Buenos Aires: The Centro de Arte y Comunicación

This article maps the complex socio-political terrain negotiated by the Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAYC) during the early 1970s from Buenos Aires. It shows how the CAYC attempted to continue the internationalising aims which the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella had pursued in the 1960s, while also providing a space for the exhibition and development of Conceptualism that engaged with political conditions in Argentina and in other countries including Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Columbia, developing the framework of “systems art” in order to do so. The compromises necessitated by CAYC’s balancing act opened the organisation, and in particular its director … Read more

If You Want to Say Something—Speak in the Language of the Language: Ewa Partum’s Model of Conceptual Art

The artistic practice of the Polish-born Ewa Partum can be divided chronologically into Polish (1965–1982), West Berlin (1982–89) and transnational / global (from 1989) periods. This essay focuses on the specificity of the conceptual art developed by Partum and her self-historicization as a conceptual artist. At the same time, it regards the local and global historicization of conceptual art as fragmentary and contradicting processes. The study examines local genealogy of Partum’s conceptual strategies as part of a localized reflection on the geopolitics of knowledge; it considers a specific position of cultural production that is characteristic of Central and Eastern European … Read more

_rt movements

_rt Movement(s) is an artist research project intended as a text object that materially represents the complex, relational articulation of art and history with particular emphases on the contingent relationships made by movements of different kinds: geographical migration of artists, displacement of art objects, performances, institutions/festivals, and theories/theorists. _rt Movement(s) challenges the linear developmental approach of normative art history, and its nationalist, racialized, and ethnocentric assumptions. Instead, the project argues through diverse sources, including texts, images, graphs and other visualizations for the essentially translocal and transhistorical character of works of art.… Read more

Amy Sara Carroll’s ReMex: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era

Amy Sara Carroll’s ReMex: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era interprets Mexico City-based, feminist, and border, or Chicano, art in and around the 1990s. Its premise is that aesthetics and politics “form a loop” in order to express what the author calls “Greater Mexico.” With this term, Carroll proposes that “Mexico” is no longer a territory but rather an imaginary that transcends its geographic borders. In her view, the denationalization brought about by the liberalization of markets led to a multicultural utopia best expressed in border art and art concerned with race and gender issues. In her account, … Read more

Introduction to Jalal AL-E Ahmad’s “To Mohassess, For the Wall”

“To Mohassess, For the Wall” is an article written in 1964 by Jalal Al-e Ahmad, one of the most influential and charismatic Iranian intellectuals of the time. Three years before writing this article, Al-e Ahmad had published Weststruckness, discussing the Iranians’ cultural alienation caused by the dependence on the west. In “To Mohassess, For the Wall”, Al-e Ahmad shifts his analysis to Iranian painting, arguing that Iranian painters during the 1960s merely repeat Western cultural processes and strategies instead of constructing Iranian ones. The context for Al-e Ahmad’s argument is the Pahlavi regime’s radical program of rapid modernization, which in … Read more

To Mohassess, For the Wall

“To Mohassess, For the Wall” is an article written in 1964 by Jalal Al-e Ahmad, one of the most influential and charismatic Iranian intellectuals of the time. Three years before writing this article, Al-e Ahmad had published Weststruckness, discussing the Iranians’ cultural alienation caused by the dependence on the west. In “To Mohassess, For the Wall”, Al-e Ahmad shifts his analysis to Iranian painting, arguing that Iranian painters during the 1960s merely repeat Western cultural processes and strategies instead of constructing Iranian ones. The context for Al-e Ahmad’s argument is the Pahlavi regime’s radical program of rapid modernization, which in … Read more