Category: Print Content

From the Editors

ARTMargins, Volume 9, Issue 1, Page 3-6, February 2020.

The articles in this issue belong to, or fall in between, paradigms constituted alongside or in response to the new world order of universal global capitalism. While some articles fall within the purview of “global art history” or “global art criticism”—a relatively recent epistemological formation seeking ways to engage with the infi nite manifold of global cultural production—others (in particular, the book review by Adriana Michéle Campos Johnson and the artist project by Daniele Genadry) gravitate toward “global environmentalism,” another form of world consciousness that addresses nature, or what has become … Read more

Forging a Public Sphere: José Leonilson in the Folha de São Paulo

Between 1991 and 1993, the artist José Leonilson contributed a weekly illustration to Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s highest circulation daily newspaper. This article argues that these drawings inserted a minoritarian voice into the public sphere in a way that contested its normative operations by emphasizing the micropolitical and the intimate, often through allegory. Some of the illustrations address AIDS, to which Leonilson succumbed two weeks after the last was published, and this article situates his work in relation to the intertwining discourses around sexuality, public health and media in Brazil at the time. What emerges is a conception of … Read more

Art as Resistance in Postwar Lebanon

This article attempts to read a number of contemporary Lebanese artists by using the Foucauldian-Deleuzian concept of regimes of visibility. The article shows how a specific aesthetical problematic pertaining to Post-War Lebanon unfolds in the electronic and digital regimes of visibility. Last, the article contrast the Lebanese artists with other artists operating in Europe and the U.S and propose other artistic strategies when dealing with the same regimes of visibility.

After Moscow Conceptualism: Reflections on the Center and Periphery and Cultural Belatedness

Conceptual art is not only subject to a striking unevenness and a range of diverse forms across national territories during its emergence, but each national-cultural context in which it emerges is also exposed to the general belatedness of conceptual art’s relationship to its own avant-garde past. Each national-cultural formation was working with, and through, very different cultural and historical materials on the basis of very different kinds of awareness of the avant-garde past and the recent conceptual present. This article addresses this unevenness and belatedness by looking at the case of Moscow conceptualism in the 1970s and 1980s. In a … Read more

Art and Our Surrounds: Emergent and Residual Languages

This essay undertakes a review of recent books by T.J. Demos (Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (2016) and Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today (2017)) and Jens Andermann (Tierras en trance: Arte y naturaleza después del paisaje (Lands Entranced: Art and Nature after Landscape, 2018)). Demos and Andermann participate in the paradigm shift taking place under the name of eco-criticism, forging connections between the debates around environmental crisis and the fields in which they have written and published previously – art criticism and visual culture and Latin American literary and cultural studies, respectively. Both … Read more

The Material Conditions of Representation

Seethrough Mountain interrupts this journal through a physical shift in paper, texture and scale, and thereby proposes a pause or possible site of hesitation where the reader can consider the qualitative and material aspect of what they hold in their hands. The two works, a drawing and a constructed photograph, each creating the illusion of transparency, orient the reader’s attention to the material support of the images, and institute a shock, so that the reader might see through the representations to their material conditions. Seethrough Mountain draws attention to the nature of varying forms of information, and proposes that both … Read more

Introduction to “A Conversation between Chinese Artists and Mexican Painter David Alfaro Siqueiros”

In October 1956, the Mexican muralist David Siqueiros traveled Beijing and engaged in two dialogues with artists from the Chinese Artists’ Association. His visit came at an inflection point in China’s foreign and cultural policy. As Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated, China used cultural diplomacy to cultivate relationships with unaligned countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. China’s cultural policy mirrored this shift by relaxing its adherence to Soviet-style Socialist Realism and promoting new stylistic practices, including a revival of ink painting techniques. This policy shift re-animated a debate among Chinese artists over the best mode of representation for socialist art, with … Read more

A Conversation between Chinese Artists and Mexican Painter David Alfaro Siqueiros

In October 1956, the Mexican muralist David Siqueiros traveled Beijing and engaged in two dialogues with artists from the Chinese Artists’ Association. His visit came at an inflection point in China’s foreign and cultural policy. As Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated, China used cultural diplomacy to cultivate relationships with unaligned countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. China’s cultural policy mirrored this shift by relaxing its adherence to Soviet-style Socialist Realism and promoting new stylistic practices, including a revival of ink painting techniques. This policy shift re-animated a debate among Chinese artists over the best mode of representation for socialist art, with … Read more

Thresholds of the Visible. Activist Video, Militancy, and Prefigurative Politics

The formation of a Peoples’ Assembly and occupation of the city of Oaxaca (Mexico) in 2006 has been widely considered a rebirth of the Commune and was also one of the first widely video-recorded uprisings of the 21st century. As media practice, activist videos approximate an identity of creative art/work and socio-political change but also warrant consideration of their formal aspects. How do stylistic choices help or hinder reflecting on the not-quite-here-yet of prefigurative politics? In contrast with video art, graffiti, and performance protest, activist videos overwhelmingly adhere to evidentiary forms. Carefully edited, they invite viewers to view crowdsourced … Read more

From the Editors

The texts and artist project in the present issue refl ect on the relationship between aesthetics and social constructivism, or the appearance and elaboration of new forms of social and political organization. Taken together, they represent something of a departure from the kinds of historical—often institutional and archival—reconstructions that we often publish, by considering the names and visual forms of still inexistent modes of political subjectivity. At the risk of making an overly broad generalization, we might say that rather than interrogating the relationship between formal conventions and institutional norms within the context of really existing socialism or third-world internationalism,
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Regioning Differences: Translation and Critical Cartography

The remapping of  cartographies of knowledge, the reorientation of genealogies of comparison, the zoning of what might be through of as “the great unthought” (associated by N. Katherine Hayles with “the cognitive nonconciousness”), all have been fully underway for quite some time in critical and curatorial practice. Literary theory has also been much taken up by the cartographic turn.

Whitewash as Affective Platform: Art and Politics of Surface in the Work of Yto Barrada and Hassan Darsi

Whitewash when read through affect is a site of fleeting documentation, a temporary archive of becoming, an ephemeral glimpse into what might become, different. By reading slowly and carefully the work of contemporary artists Yto Barrada and Hassan Darsi, this article hopes to show how their attention to whitewash in urban Morocco is about registering and producing a moment of as-yet-unrealized possibility and potential ontological transformation. From the creation of potemkin worlds for passing dignitaries to the presentation of a worker’s body slowly whitewashing a decaying building in a neoliberal authoritarian city, Barrada and Darsi document whitewash as the space
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Contingency Plans: Art Collectives, Shared Pseudonyms, and Theories of Collectivity

This review considers Jacopo Galimberti’s Individuals Against Individualism: Art Collectives in Western Europe (1956–1969), 2017, and Marco Deseriis’s Improper Names: Collective Pseudonyms from the Luddites to Anonymous, 2017 and the theories of collectivity that inform them (multitude, inoperative community, and transindividuality). While Galimberti looks at how collaborative practices model new strategies for collective action, and Deseriis examines forms that allow multiple actions and ideologies to flow through them, they authors share a desire to move beyond representation to model, enact, and realize real change in the world. Taken together, these two books afford us the opportunity to evaluate the critique … Read more

Encounters—Ongoing

The series of drawings, Encounters – ongoing stems from chance meetings on leisurely road trips around the mountains of Lebanon. The drawings act as markers of my conversations with landowners, farmers, and people directly working in the fields. The formal particularities of drawing, and specifically the use of ink washes, allows for an approach that is both intuitive and intentional. This approach reproduces the spontaneity of these accidental or brief exchanges with people who have a vested interest in Lebanese land. Each conversation is represented by a simple tree branch, or a fragment of a (flowering) plant, belonging to the … Read more

Introduction to Arman Grigoryan’s “What is Hamasteghtsakan Art” (1993) and “What is Hamasteghtsakan Art” (1996)

The document presents two separate articles with the same title –“What is Hamasteghtsakan Art” – by artist Arman Grigoryan and art critic Nazareth Karoyan, published in Armenia in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Translated from Armenian and introduced by Angela Harutyunyan both articles have been formative for the development of contemporary art in Armenia. While presenting diverging views on the meaning of hamasteghtsakan (translated as collectively created), the concept was circulated as a definition for a broad range of post-medium artistic practices in late Soviet and post-Soviet Armenia. These practices formed an oppositional discourse to both Socialist Realism and Armenian National … Read more

What is Hamasteghtsakan Art

The document presents two separate articles with the same title –“What is Hamasteghtsakan Art” – by artist Arman Grigoryan and art critic Nazareth Karoyan, published in Armenia in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Translated from Armenian and introduced by Angela Harutyunyan both articles have been formative for the development of contemporary art in Armenia. While presenting diverging views on the meaning of hamasteghtsakan (translated as collectively created), the concept was circulated as a definition for a broad range of post-medium artistic practices in late Soviet and post-Soviet Armenia. These practices formed an oppositional discourse to both Socialist Realism and Armenian National

Read more
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

Magazine Cover

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

Video screenshot

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