Category: Volume 8, Issue 2

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

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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