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Oil on board abstract painting

Re-Worlding Postwar

The exhibition, Postwar: Art between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945–1965 (2016-17), presented nearly 350 works by 218 artists from sixty-five countries, providing an ambitious and expansive account of mid-century modernism. Curated by Okwui Enwezor, Katy Siegel, and Ulrich Wilmes at Haus der Kunst in Munich, Postwar proposed a vision of artistic production in the post-World War II period that foregrounded experiences of war, decolonization, transnational movement, and changing technology. This review situates the show within a history of global exhibitions, articulating the stakes of the project for curatorial practice and pedagogy. It also evaluates its organization and display in … Read more

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Introduction to José Oiticica Filho’s “Setting the Record Straighter”

This text introduces article “Setting the Record Straighter” (1951) by Brazilian photographer and artist José Oiticica Filho (1906–1964). The core of Oiticica Filho’s article is a discussion of the significance of photo-club exhibitions, based on the example of an ongoing rivalry between the members of São Paulo-based photo club Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB) and Rio de Janeiro-based club Sociedade Fluminense de Fotografia. Oiticica Filho, as a member of the São Paulo-based club who resided in Rio, emerged as a mediator between the two groups—an impartial scientist who sought a solution in data, not in the clashes between egos. The … Read more

Setting The Record Straighter: Part II

This text introduces article “Setting the Record Straighter” (1951) by Brazilian photographer and artist José Oiticica Filho (1906–1964). The core of Oiticica Filho’s article is a discussion of the significance of photo-club exhibitions, based on the example of an ongoing rivalry between the members of São Paulo-based photo club Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB) and Rio de Janeiro-based club Sociedade Fluminense de Fotografia. Oiticica Filho, as a member of the São Paulo-based club who resided in Rio, emerged as a mediator between the two groups—an impartial scientist who sought a solution in data, not in the clashes between egos. The

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Art, Institutions, and Internationalism, 1945–73

This guest-edited issue of ARTMargins evaluates the relationship between art, artists, and international institutions in the postwar period. Concentrating on the emergence of new forms of internationalism in response to decolonization and the diplomatic impasses of the Cold War in the decades following World War II, the issue confronts the problem of the nation-state within the emerging scholarly field known as “global modernism.” We propose that the term global modernism, while a productive shorthand for scholarship that expands modernism’s geographies, may also be anachronistic and misleading. The word global itself began to gain currency only after the 1960s, and particularly … Read more

“Legacies of Internationalism”: Conference Report and Roundtable

With the expansion of free trade and financial deregulation since the 1970s–globalization–the work global has increasingly replaced international to describe phenomena taking place on a planetary scale: global warming, global war on terror, global modernism. The work international, on the other had, has a longer history tied in particular to the concept of the nation-state. The conference Art, Institutions, and Internationalism, organized in March 2017 at the Graduate Center (CUNY) and the Museum of Modern Art, highlighted how the logic of institutional coalition building between nations in the postwar period — internationalism — rather than smooth cosmopolitan … Read more

Painting

Envisioning the Third World: Modern Art and Diplomacy in Maoist China

In the mid-1950s, China conducted robust cultural exchange with the Third World in tandem with a parallel political program to influence non-aligned nations in contestation to the Soviet Union and Western powers. This article examines this underrecognized facet of Maoist-era art through the international engagements of two Xi’an artists, Shi Lu (1919–1982) and Zhao Wangyun (1907–1977), who traveled to India and Egypt as cultural attaché of the Chinese state. By tracing the travels of the two artists in light of their artistic and theoretical formulations, this article argues that contact with decolonizing spheres of the Third World inspired Chinese artists

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Arnold Bode, photomural by the entrance of Museum Fridericianum, documenta 1, 1955. © documenta archiv, Kassel. Image courtesy of documenta archiv. Photograph by Günther Becker.

Modernism and World Art, 1950–72

Focusing on a series of exhibitions of modern art from the 1950s to the early 1970s, this article traces the frictions between two related, yet separate endeavors during the first postwar decades: on the one hand, the historicizing of modernism as a specifically European story; and on the other, the constitution of an all-encompassing concept of “World Art” that would integrate all periods and cultures into a single narrative. The strategies devised by exhibition organizers, analyzed here, sought to maintain the distance between World Art and modernism, and thus deferred the possibility of a more geographically expansive view of twentieth-century … Read more

On Curating Postwar

On March 8, 2017, curator and art historian Katy Siegel delivered a lecture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, about the exhibition Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945–1965 she curated with Okwui Enwezor and Ulrich Wilmes at Haus der Kunst, Munich from October 2016 to March 2017. Postwar, and its accompanying publications, explored how artists responded to the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, a radically transforming world in the aftermath of World War II, and—amidst Cold War divides—decolonization movements, the struggle for civil rights, and the invention of new communication technologies. Ambitious in scope, generous in … Read more

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Southward and Otherwise

This project comes out of a conversation between Mohaiemen and rPajović on the relative absence of Non-Aligned Movement co-founder, and former President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, from the three-channel film Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017, dir: Mohaiemen) Through a series of conversations between Vijay Prashad, Samia Zennadi, Atef Berredjem, Amirul Islam, and Zonayed Saki, the shadow play of Pajović’s text re-integrates the Yugoslav bloc into Two Meetings and a Funeral. While Pajović’s text concludes with a hopeful view of the potential of the Non-Aligned Movement, Mohaiemen’s images and superimposed quote from Tito express an ironic doubling back. Indira … Read more

Editors Introduction to Volume 8, Issue 1

With the many symposia and exhibitions commemorating the fi ftieth anniversary of 1968 now behind us, this fi rst issue of 2019 asks how to historicize the art of the moment after. The articles in the current issue displace events that often serve as historical markers, asking instead how to interpret the artistic production of gradual and contradictory processes of economic modernization and political institutionalization. In so doing, they question how to reconstruct artistic tendencies and institutional norms without confi rming the inevitability of the present, searching for utopian images, or trying to redeem social experiments that capital has long … Read more

Vlado Jakolić, Photograph from Izložba žena i muškaraca [Exhibition of Women and Men], June 26, 1969, Galerija Studentskog centra, Zagreb. Image courtesy of Arhiv za likovnke umjetnosti HAZU, Zagreb, Inv. no.: SC-46/F1.

“Made in Yugoslavia”: Struggles with Self-Management in the New Art Practice, 1965–71

In September 1978, Zagreb’s Gallery of Contemporary Art staged the first survey exhibition of conceptual and performance art in Yugoslavia: The New Art Practice, 1966–78. Forty years on, the phenomenon continues to attract a substantial amount of scholarly and curatorial attention, largely because of its globally-renowned affiliates, such as Marina Abramović, Sanja Iveković and Mladen Stilinović, among others. But academic work has been hesitant to address the deeper political, economic and institutional factors that underpinned the New Art’s emergence and secured its prolific development. This article proposes that the New Art both came out of, and responded to, a complex … Read more

Janis Paul ̧uks. Relay-Race, early 1950s. Oil on canvas, 97 x 187 cm. Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga. Image courtesy of the Latvian National Museum of Art.

Instructive, Dramatic, and Corrective Collectivity: Socialist Realism in the Mirror of Collegial Debates. A Case Study of Documents of the Artists’ Union of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, 1944–55

Based on the study of protocols of the Latvian Artists’ Union and the Organizational Committee of the Artists’ Union of the USSR, the article surveys three stages of the introduction of Socialist Realism in Latvia and different forms and functions of the enforced collegial collectivity facilitating this process. The article examines the transformation of artistic life in Latvia during the period of Stalinism, which not only meant stylistic transition towards Socialist Realism but also involved the imposition of a range of practices of collective supervision of artistic production and censorship, including collective debates, collective advice, collective learning and collective critique. … Read more

Titre de Travail, FRAC Grand Large–Hautsde-France, Dunkerque, 2018 (exhibition views, photos: Aurélien Mole).* *Image file titled FRAC

Labor Power Plant

In those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, labour power is tradable as a commodity and, as such, not a natural good or human capacity, but rather a socially mediated and constituted relation. The project “Labour Power Plant” operates on the fictitious assumption that the everyday, all-pervasive, seemingly natural and therefore invisible micro-politics present in society do in fact not exist. In other words, that society is by itself unable to provide for the human capital on which it depends. Instead, the production of abstract workers is outsourced into a dedicated “labour power plant” – an institution … Read more

Yugoslavia as World History: The Political Economy of Self-Managed Art

Branislav Jakovljević’s study on performance and self-management in Yugoslavia and Armin Medosch’s research on New Tendencies and post-Fordism share a number of analytical frameworks that the review argues partake in a broader shift towards political economy as a key framework for art historical inquiry. This shift elicits what could once again be called a world-historical perspective: both of these books anchor their narratives in post-war Yugoslavia but only in order to show that the telling of the story of Yugoslav art requires the telling of the story of the world, a story that is not simply an instance of global … Read more

Introduction to “Common Space and Individual Space: Comments on a Group Task from the First Half of 1993,” Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw

The introductory text presents “Common Space and Individual Space: Comments on a Group Task from the First Half of 1993,” a document translated into English from Polish and published here. The original document was first published in Czereja, a magazine created by the students of Kowalnia, a studio for diploma art students run by Grzegorz Kowalski in the Department of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. “Common Space” compiles the students’ accounts of a performative group activity entitled Pierożek drewniany, zimnym mięsem nadziewany (translated as Wooden Dumpling, Filled with Cold Meat) from the 1992–93 academic year. The … Read more

Common Space and Individual Space: Comments on a Group Task from the First Half of 1993

The introductory text presents “Common Space and Individual Space: Comments on a Group Task from the First Half of 1993,” a document translated into English from Polish and published here. The original document was first published in Czereja, a magazine created by the students of Kowalnia, a studio for diploma art students run by Grzegorz Kowalski in the Department of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. “Common Space” compiles the students’ accounts of a performative group activity entitled Pierożek drewniany, zimnym mięsem nadziewany (translated as Wooden Dumpling, Filled with Cold Meat) from the 1992–93 academic year. The … Read more

The Documentary Films of José Gómez Sicre and the Pan American Union Visual Arts Department

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Visual Arts Department of the Pan American Union, headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C., produced nearly fifty 16mm documentary short films on topics ranging from contemporary art to heritage sites and OAS member countries. This article focuses on a cluster of three titles about Peru directed by curator and critic José Gómez Sicre between approximately 1964 and 1968. Produced with funding from an international affiliate of Esso Standard Oil, the films were shot on location and demonstrate careful attention to the contexts of art production within an emerging cultural … Read more