Category: Volume 3 Issue 2

What Scale Affords Us: Sizing the World Up through Scale

In the 1990s, contemporary art’s “global turn” was vividly demonstrated by artists whose works directly reflected upon their experiences of moving across vast geographical distances. Coinciding with a multidisciplinary crisis over globalization as expressed through different approaches to the question of scale, the ambivalence towards the global turn’s expansionism was vividly taken up by the large number of Asian artists whose rise to international prominence was enabled by this “turn.” Artists like Suh Do-Ho, Naoya Hatakeyama, and Danh Vo engaged with scale not simply as metonymical reflections of the world, but as a means of responding to those systems, standards, … Read more

Displaced Boundaries: Geometric Abstraction from Pictures to Objects

This review concerns Osbel Suarez, Cold America: Geometric Abstraction in Latin America (1934–1973), an exhibition presented by the Fundación Juan March in Madrid, Feb 11–May 15, 2011 and Alejandro Crispiani’s book Objetos para transformar el mundo: Trayectorias del arte concreto-invención, Argentina y Chile, 1940–1970 [Objects to Transform the World: Trajectories of Concrete-Invention Art, Argentina and Chile, 1940–1970] (Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, 2011). The review briefly assesses the state of the literature on Latin American Geometric Abstractio and analyzes these two publications from 2011, which stand precisely for traditional approaches and new developments in the field.

Appropriating the Improper: The Problem of Influence in Latin American Art

This paper centers on the problem of influence in Latin American art analyzing some of the changes its conceptualization underwent during the 1970s and 1980s. Taking the case of Chilean conceptual practices during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship known as “escena de avanzada,” particularly the art actions of the collective CADA, and the isolationist discourses woven around it, this article attempts to reconnect what has been regarded as original political art forms to larger networks of relations where the question of what is proper to Latin American art was disputed.

The Nightingale’s Butcher Manifesto

Perhaps the earliest manifesto in Iranian art, “The Nightingale’s Butcher Manifesto” fights for an Iranian avant-garde—an avant-garde based on new modes of abstraction so as to break the chains of both Iran’s artistic traditions and the social concerns of figuration.

Rat Diaries

Rat Diaries is a series of drawings that attempts to map the intensity of everyday life in Egypt intertwined with intuitive visual and verbal comments on art practice. The drawings are multi-layered juxtapositions of various forms and contrasting types of lines that move from controlled shapes to seemingly uncontrolled scribbling, from figures to abstract shapes. What this layering achieves is a proposition of form that is ultimately unattainable. With all their pretension to ground the subject within the given coordinates of experiential reality, El-Noshokaty’s maps refuse to communicate daily life as objectively mapable. The grid that is supposed to provide … Read more

Green Critique in a Red Environment: East European Art and Ecology Under Socialism

For the wave of ecological consciousness that spread on the counter-cultural currents of the 1968 uprisings across the globe, the Iron Curtain proved to be as porous as it was in the case of contemporary art’s turn towards conceptualism. This article examines East European artists’ approaches to the natural environment and their engagement with green thought against the political, social and environmental background of real existing socialism, in which the party not only attempted to cover up the actual state of environment pollution but also to keep control over access to ecological discourse. Through the dematerialised practices of Slovenian OHO … Read more

Volume and Environment II

This second manifesto marks a shift from abstraction to conceptualism in Iranian art worlds. It lays the foundation for contemporary art as it has developed in the country, albeit set in tension with, and written amid, the massive social upheaval in Iran just before the 1979 Revolution.

Introduction to “The Nightingale’s Butcher Manifesto” and “Volume and Environment II”

The introductory text introduces two pre-revolution Iranian manifestos of modern art, namely the “Nightingale’s Butcher Manifesto” (1951) and “Volume & Environment 2” (1976). It describes the socio-political context in which the texts emerged and compares them as different responses to similar issues separated by a time span of 25 years. It argues that these rare examples of Iranian art manifestos can be regarded as milestones of an entry into and an exit from modernism in Iranian art.