CfP: Revolutionary Romances: Into the Cold (Albertinum Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden)

Call for Papers – International Conference, Thursday 13 October 2022. In person at the Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, plus streaming online

Deadline for submissions: 15 May 2022.

PhD students and early career academics are invited to submit abstracts to speak at this one-day workshop, which seeks to disrupt the East-to-West “defection” narrative of the postwar transatlantic art scene. Through examples of artists from Western contexts who chose to enter Communist and recent post-Communist countries in Europe and elsewhere, as well as the institutional frameworks specifically aimed at facilitating such exchange, the event will explore an alternative direction of travel through a revisionist lens, while firmly resisting the “Ostalgia” trend.

We are particularly interested in hearing from researchers who can share under-researched stories that challenge the flattening, homogenised view of art in Central-East Europe. Of primary interest are how narratives of internationalist anti-fascism and anti-racism in the Communist and post-Communist space offered refuge, display opportunities, and representation for artists subject to political, racial, or gendered discrimination in their home countries; how the insights of visiting or immigrating artists into the shared value system of socialism and state-sponsored artistic practices informed and inspired their own cultural production, and how, through them as teachers and mentors, younger generations of artists were influenced in methods of (socialist) artmaking; how so-called dissident artists who opposed the Cold War division of the world circumvented physical boundaries by creating innovative channels of cultural exchange, through the use of practices such as Mail Art; and how contemporary artists, particularly in post-Communist countries, are today reevaluating the legacies of socialist artmaking.

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

– Western European and American artists seeking display and collection opportunities in Communist Europe and other Communist countries in response to blacklisting and other forms of repression at home;
– Interest among Western artists in Socialist Realism as a form of political protest against fascism and discrimination, and socialist alternatives to institutionalised practices in the West;
– Artistic production by immigrating artists within the Eastern Bloc to resist repressive regimes in their home countries;
– East-West artistic collaborations and correspondence that reveal a more porous Iron Curtain and the shared humanity of artists that has often been lost in the politicised narratives of this era;
– Challenges to simplified definitions of artistic dissidence on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain;
– The de-homogenisation of socialism and challenges to the entrenched iconographies of East and West, particularly querying the bipartite notions of the Cold War;
– Post-socialist reevaluations of socialist artmaking, especially in terms of cross-generational dialogue as contemporary practitioners in post-Communist countries reclaim their cultural specificities away from the Western gaze;
– Challenges to the division between official and unofficial art, including overlooked subversive practices;
– Examples of practices that reclaim the nuances of the political and cultural microclimate of specific locations and temporalities in Central-East Europe.

We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations to: by 15 May. Selected speakers will be notified by mid-June.

Guidelines for proposal submission:
– Title and abstract of up to 250 words
– Biography of no more than 150 words, including full name, affiliation, and email address

The conference will be held in English.

Funds are available to cover travel and accommodation costs up to a certain amount.

– Dr Julia Tatiana Bailey, independent scholar and former Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, National Gallery Prague
– Dr Kathleen Reinhardt, Curator of Contemporary Art, Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

This workshop is generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art. It builds on the Art in Translation / University of Edinburgh anthology project Hot Art, Cold War,(1) and is presented in conversation with the research and exhibition project Revolutionary Romances: Transcultural Art Histories in the GDR at the Albertinum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. This workshop is the first in a series of three that explore alternative Central-East European art histories, with workshops to follow in 2023 at the Institute of Art History and the Piotr Piotrowski Center for Research on East-Central European Art at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, and at MARe/Museum of Recent Art in Bucharest, Romania.


CFP: Revolutionary Romances: Into the Cold (Dresden/ online, 13 Oct 22). In:, Apr 11, 2022 (accessed May 10, 2022), <>.

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