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Memory Zero

The repression of memory as a result of trauma from war and social divisions is often an experience that obscures or intensifies personal histories. This is especially true between generations. The Memory Zero project is an attempt to bridge this gap through drawn impressions from intergenerational family stories collaged with image and text searches to locate their approximate times and places. Together this creates, hopefully, a fuller historical and affective context. For this, I drew from family stories and histories in England and Poland before and after World War l. In this way the personal and historical approximations merge into … Read more

Barbad Golshiri’s Acts of Alterity

In his transdisciplinary practice, artist, writer, and translator Barbad Golshiri interprets from his viewpoint located in Iran the iconic pieces of the European art history, including paintings by Jan van Eyck, Jacques-Louis David, and Kazimir Malevich. Inserting his own artistically inscribed body into the material milieus of these artists, Golshiri activates the present via transfer of the past onto the future, in an attempt to differentiate the script of history. Deleuzian approach of repetition as a means of differencing instigates this interrogation of Golshiri’s Malevich cycle, comprising Quod (2010), which references Malevich’s Black Square (1915); Cura; the Rise and Read more

Art of the Counter-Archive: Rosângela Rennó’s Books and the Secret Files of the Dictatorship

This article examines Brazilian artist Rosângela Rennó’s books 2005–510117385–5 and A01 [COD.19.1.1.43] – A27 [S | COD.23], which engage with photographs stolen from public collections in Rio de Janeiro. Both books triggered a conversation about institutional precarity and its effects on national memory and cultural heritage—one that took place a few years before the 2018 fire at Rio de Janeiro’s Museu Nacional, which destroyed much of its invaluable archive of twenty million items and was understood as a national tragedy. It discusses Rennó’s books in light of 1960s and 1970s Latin American Conceptualisms, arguing that they propose new ways … Read more

Yugoslavia with Strings Attached: Boris Kralj’s My Belgrade (2011) and Dubravka Ugrešić and Davor Konjikušić’s There’s Nothing Here (2020)

This article examines the contemporary photographic representations of Yugoslav modernist architecture and its ruins that serve as a counterpoint to the 2019 MoMA exhibition, Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980, a project that brought socialist architectural modernism to international visibility. In particular, I focus on Boris Kralj’s photo-diary My Belgrade (2011) and Dubravka Ugrešić and Davor Konjikušić’s photo-essay There’s Nothing Here! (2020) to explore the ruins of Yugoslav socialist modernity not only as an object of aesthetic fascination, but also as an emotionally and politically charged site of collective nostalgia and politicized mourning in the postsocialist now. … Read more

Chronological Dyslexia: Remembering/Representing/Performing Aids

Exploring two major books on the visual and performance histories of the ongoing and historical AIDS crisis in the US and beyond—Brian Getnick’s edited volume Final Transmission and Avram Finkelstein’s firsthand account, After Silence—this review asks how we have come to contemplate and understand the intensities, losses, and absences of the AIDS catastrophe. Drawing on theories on death, dying, and the cultural expressions around them, the review puts pressure on the particular offerings of these two very different books, ultimately pulling out passionate moments of vulnerability and self-reflexivity in each book as the most effective and powerful ruminations on … Read more

The Abstract and the Concrete in Modern Art

This introductory study analyzes two key texts from the short-lived Argentine collective, the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención (Association of Concrete Art-Invention, or AACI). Published in 1946 in the same issue of the group’s official organ, they collectively theorize the “co-planar,” the AACI’s key contribution to the history of abstract and concrete painting. While Maldonado’s text offers a historical reconstruction of the genealogy of the co-planar as the culmination of modernist investigations of the plane and the problem of composition, Hlito’s text outlines the understanding of Marxist materialism and dialectics that underpinned this particular take on the task of modernism.

ARTMargins, … Read more

Grounding the Global: Pathways to Elucidating Tensions in Chinese Contemporary Art

This article reviews two recent books on Chinese contemporary art, Sasha Welland’s Experimental Beijing (2018) and Jenny Lin’s Above Sea (2019), concerned with the sociopolitical contexts of the 1990s–2000s’ globalizing Beijing and Shanghai respectively. By examining the two authors’ respective methodologies—Welland’s ethnographical field research and Lin’s urban cultural research—, this article interprets how these two books shed light on the role of tensions in the intersectional global-local spaces of Chinese contemporary art. It argues that this field of art history necessitates the employment of non-art historical methodologies, as shown by the two books, in order to locate and make visible … Read more

Roundtable on John Clark’s The Asian Modern

The book, The Asian Modern, by John Clark (with an Introduction by the Manila-based critic and curator, Patrick Flores) seeks to construct a “cross-Asian” account through a detailed historical and empirical focus on 30 artists spanning Southeast, East, and South Asia, as well as Australia. At the core of the book is the premise that the given place, “Asia,” is the locus for a critique of the normative account of modernism tethered to another locale, identified by Clark as “Euramerica.” These focused geographic arenas provide the basis for novel itineraries, dynamic dispersals, and alternative sightlines that reject the conventional … Read more

Introduction to Tomás Maldonado’s “The Abstract and the Concrete in Modern Art” and Alfredo Hlito’s “Notes toward a Materialist Aesthetics”

This introductory study analyzes two key texts from the short-lived Argentine collective, the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención (Association of Concrete Art-Invention, or AACI). Published in 1946 in the same issue of the group’s official organ, they collectively theorize the “co-planar,” the AACI’s key contribution to the history of abstract and concrete painting. While Maldonado’s text offers a historical reconstruction of the genealogy of the co-planar as the culmination of modernist investigations of the plane and the problem of composition, Hlito’s text outlines the understanding of Marxist materialism and dialectics that underpinned this particular take on the task of modernism.

ARTMargins, … Read more

Notes Toward a Materialist Aesthetics

This introductory study analyzes two key texts from the short-lived Argentine collective, the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención (Association of Concrete Art-Invention, or AACI). Published in 1946 in the same issue of the group’s official organ, they collectively theorize the “co-planar,” the AACI’s key contribution to the history of abstract and concrete painting. While Maldonado’s text offers a historical reconstruction of the genealogy of the co-planar as the culmination of modernist investigations of the plane and the problem of composition, Hlito’s text outlines the understanding of Marxist materialism and dialectics that underpinned this particular take on the task of modernism.

ARTMargins, … Read more

More Phemes

A reading of Hurufism, a Sufi movement based on the science and mysticism of letters, the authors consider a range of affective, performative becomings in this unlikely Persian and Anatolian movement. Hurufism sees multiples of 14 and 28 (from the Perso-Arabic alphabet) in the corresponding hairs of the human face. Accordingly, Slavs and Tatars consider the implications for gender variation and fluidity in these otherwise overburdened graphemes.

ARTMargins, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp. 89-104.

doi:10.1162/artm_a_00328

https://direct.mit.edu/artm/article/11/3/89/114609/More-Phemes

Out of the Outback, into the Art World: Dotting in Australian Aboriginal Art and the Navigation of Globalization

In recent decades, the popularity of Australian Aboriginal dot painting overseas has exploded, with works by some of Australia’s leading artists selling for millions of dollars at auction, as well as featuring in major international exhibitions like the Venice Biennale and documenta. While this carries with it the risk of Aboriginal art and culture becoming diluted or commodified, this essay explores the origins and use of the ‘dotting’ typical of much Australian Aboriginal art of the Western and Central Deserts of Australia, as well as Aboriginal dot painting’s circulation internationally, to consider how Aboriginal art’s entry into the global art … Read more

Homegrown Heroes: Peasant Masculinity and Nation-Building in Modern Egyptian Art

On January 18, 1938 the Fuad I Agricultural Museum in Cairo opened its palatial doors to the local public and featured four untitled portraits (1934–1937) of peasant men sporting distinctive costumes and handicrafts. The artist behind these prominent paintings was an Egyptian named Aly Kamel al-Deeb (1909–1997), whose early career combined commissions at official museums and participation in anti-establishment artist groups in Egypt. What could explain al-Deeb’s transition from creating art in opposition to national museums, to painting for such institutions? This essay analyzes al-Deeb’s four paintings, which I call Homegrown Heroes, and argues that they began shifting the … Read more

Degraded Objects, Harrowed Bodies: Roman Stańczak and Shock Therapy in Poland, 1990–96

Roman Stańczak’s artistic practice can be seen as a symptomatic expression of the multi-layered processes of degradation as experienced in some Polish regions with the advent of capitalism and the country’s entry into the global market at the turn of the 1990s. The neoliberal reforms in Poland brought about dramatic social consequences, leading to an exponential increase in income inequality, unemployment rate and the share of population living below the minimum subsistence level. On the rise throughout the 1990s and reaching its peak in the 2000s, the degradation suffered by some social groups and communities was both material and psychological, … Read more

Sadism to Solidarity: Notes on Art, Philosophy, and the Algerian War

This essay considers a range of artistic and intellectual responses to the Algerian War of Independence that foregrounded the problem of extreme violence. It homes in on the suggestive nexus between anti-colonial solidarities in the metropole and the obsessive concern of artistic, literary, and philosophical avant-gardes with the thought of the Marquis de Sade. It explores how the returns to and of Sade that punctuated the French intellectual scene over the twentieth century could serve as a prism through which to politicize, represent and challenge the manifestations of extreme state and para-state violence in a colonial setting.

ARTMargins, Volume … Read more

Introduction: Art’s Histories Without Art History

The introductory text situates the therapeutic practices of Gina Ferreira and Lula Wanderley in relation to the work of Brazilian modernist artist Lygia Clark. Ferreira is a social psychologist who uses the arts—for instance, photography and film—for the socialization and treatment of psychiatric patients. Wanderley is an artist who brings creativity into the realm of psychiatric care. Both have significantly expanded the sites and amplified the applications of Clark’s Estruturação do self (Structuration of the self) therapy sessions by working in public psychiatric hospitals and clinics in Rio de Janeiro and with marginalized populations. In “Lend Me Your Eyes,” Gina … Read more

From the Editors

The struggle for freedom does not give back to the national culture its former value and shapes; this struggle which aims at a fundamentally different set of relations among men cannot leave intact either the form or the content of the people’s culture. After the conflict there is not only the disappearance of colonialism but also the disappearance of the colonized man.1

ARTMargins, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp. 3-7.

doi:10.1162/artm_e_00322

https://direct.mit.edu/artm/article/11/3/3/114602/From-the-Editors

The Silence That Words Hold

The introductory text situates the therapeutic practices of Gina Ferreira and Lula Wanderley in relation to the work of Brazilian modernist artist Lygia Clark. Ferreira is a social psychologist who uses the arts—for instance, photography and film—for the socialization and treatment of psychiatric patients. Wanderley is an artist who brings creativity into the realm of psychiatric care. Both have significantly expanded the sites and amplified the applications of Clark’s Estruturação do self (Structuration of the self) therapy sessions by working in public psychiatric hospitals and clinics in Rio de Janeiro and with marginalized populations. In “Lend Me Your Eyes,” Gina … Read more

Lend Me Your Eyes

The introductory text situates the therapeutic practices of Gina Ferreira and Lula Wanderley in relation to the work of Brazilian modernist artist Lygia Clark. Ferreira is a social psychologist who uses the arts—for instance, photography and film—for the socialization and treatment of psychiatric patients. Wanderley is an artist who brings creativity into the realm of psychiatric care. Both have significantly expanded the sites and amplified the applications of Clark’s Estruturação do self (Structuration of the self) therapy sessions by working in public psychiatric hospitals and clinics in Rio de Janeiro and with marginalized populations. In “Lend Me Your Eyes,” Gina … Read more

The Persistence of Primitivism and the Debt Collectors

 

Abstract

As the discipline of Art History increasingly aims to decolonize the gaze, questions have become paramount around cross-cultural influence and indebtedness, the traffic and translation of forms and ideas in the colonial modern era, and the mechanisms of postcolonial retrospection.Harney addresses these questions and the resonances of aesthetic primitivism in scholarship on African and diasporic modernisms and global contemporary artistic practices through a critical review of their weight within three recent volumes: Suzanne Preston Blier’s Picasso’s Demoiselles: The Untold Origins of a Modern Masterpiece (Duke UP, 2019), Joshua I. Cohen’s The Black Renaissance: African Sculpture and Modernism Across Read more

Retraction of Holmes, Ros. 2018. “Meanwhile in China … Miao Ying and the Rise of Chinternet Ugly.” Artmargins 7 (1): 31–57

“Meanwhile in China … Miao Ying and the Rise of Chinternet Ugly,” published in ARTMargins Volume 7, Issue 1, (https://doi.org/10.1162/ARTM_a_00199) has been retracted by agreement between the author, the ARTMargins editors, and the MIT Press. A reader conveyed concerns regarding the originality of parts of the author’s article in May 2022. The journal independently investigated the charges and verified them. Following Dr. Holmes’s admission of plagiarism in all the instances identified by the ARTMargins investigation, the journal informed the journals and authors whose work was left un-cited, as well as the Ethics Committee at the author’s university. Below Read more

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, 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

ARTMarginsRead 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
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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, 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, 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, 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