ARTMargins Online

Éva Forgács, Hungarian Art: Confrontation and Revival in the Modern Movement

Éva Forgács, Hungarian Art: Confrontation and Revival in the Modern Movement (Los Angeles, CA: Doppelhouse Press, 2016), 303 pp.

Hungarian art historian and modernist scholar Éva Forgács has been teaching at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, since 1994. A former curator at the Hungarian Museum of Decorative Arts and visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, she has also been active as a curator and art critic. She has published several books in her native Hungarian and in English, including The Bauhaus Idea and Bauhaus Politics (Central European University Press 1995; Jelenkor 2010), and … Read more

Shaping Democratic Notions of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe (Book Review)

Izabel Galliera, Socially Engaged Art After Socialism: Art and Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe (London, New York: I.B. Tauris, 2017), 304 pp.

Socially engaged art practices emerging in former communist Europe represent a very under-researched field of study, and Galliera’s Socially Engaged Art After Socialism is the first scholarly treatment of socially engaged art (SEA) projects in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).(On the other hand, socially engaged art and collaboration in art in the West has been the research interest of a number of art historians, art critics, and curators since the 1990s. Among them are: Suzanne Read more

Sequences: Art of Yugoslavia and Serbia from the Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art

Sequences: Art of Yugoslavia and Serbia from the Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, October 2017 – June 2018

Following a decade-long renovation, the doors of the Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art were finally thrown open again in October last year, attracting an eager audience to the debut exhibition, Sequences: Art of Yugoslavia and Serbia from the Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Showcasing some 300 works from the Museum’s collection, Sequences explores the trends and developments that shaped art across the former Yugoslavia throughout the 20th century. Through the exhibition, as Dejan … Read more

Mexico 68 written center, with the shapes of those letters and numbers radiating outward in alternating black and white lines.

Mexico 1968—Beginning of the Age of Discrepancies: An Interview with Cuauhtémoc Medina

This interview was conducted as part of the author’s research for a doctoral dissertation entitled “Challenging the Legacies of the Olympics: Cultural Afterlives of Mexico 1968 and the USSR 1980.” One of its reference sources was the exhibition The Age of Discrepancies: Art and Visual Culture in Mexico 1968-1997, co-curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina, Olivier Debroise, Pilar García de Germenos, and Álvaro Vázquez Mantecón, and presented at the Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte (MUCA) in Mexico City in 2008. Age of Discrepancies was one of the first shows to present a panorama of all the art movements and tendencies that Read more

Poaster of woman holding flags. Russian writing around.

Revolution Redo

Revoliutsiia! Demonstratsiia! Soviet Art Put to the Test, Art Institute of Chicago, October 29, 2017–January 14, 2018
Revolution Every Day, at the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, September 14, 2017–January 28, 2018

At a time when our own political moment has given rise to dangerous neoliberalism and right-wing nationalism across Europe and the United States, Revolutionary Russia of a century ago with its promise of social equality and transformation continues to seduce our imagination (at least in the former West), despite the ultimate failure of the Soviet project. This seduction fueled two recent shows in Chicago that marked the centennial … Read more

Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy, 1917-2017

International Print Center, New York, October 12 – December 16, 2017

The centennial of the Russian Revolution has prompted a year long array of inter-disciplinary happenings re-examining the historical and political legacy of the 1917 watershed event. In New York alone, The Museum of Modern Art mounted a substantial collection-based exhibition titled A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde that amassed a plethora of paintings, print media, and films made between 1912 and 1935, Columbia University launched a series of Revolution-related conferences covering subjects ranging from political science to the history of Russian Jews, while The New York … Read more

Miao Ying’s LAN Love Poem and iPhone Garbage: Online supplement to Ros Holmes’ “Meanwhile in China… Miao Ying and the Rise of Chinternet Ugly” (ARTMargins Print 7.1, pp. 31-57)

Contextualizing the digital collages by Miao Ying ?? in relation to China’s online culture and media spheres, my ARTMargins Print article situates the contemporary art world’s engagement with Internet art in relation to anti-aesthetics and the rise of what has been termed “Internet ugly.” Demonstrating a distinctly self-conscious celebration of what has often disparagingly been labeled The Chinternet, my article argues that Miao Ying’s LAN Love Poem and iPhone Garbage can be seen to emerge out of the broader contradictions of Internet art practices that parody the relationships between the “Chinternet” and the World Wide Web; global capitalism and … Read more

Special Issue: Artistic Reenactments in East European Performance Art, 1960–present

The reenactment of artistic performances and actions has garnered much curatorial attention in recent years. Life, Once More: Forms of Reenactment in Contemporary Art, at Rotterdam’s Witte de With in 2005 was an exhibition that explored the reenactment of historical events, while Marina Abramović’s series of performances, Seven Easy Pieces, which took place that same year at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, involved Abramović reenacting artistic performances both by herself and other well-known and established performance artists, such as Joseph Beuys, VALIE EXPORT, Gina Pane, and Vito Acconci. Other, perhaps less well-known explorations of performance reenactment include: Czech … Read more

Performing Oneself into History: Two Versions of Trio for Piano (Tallinn, 1969/1990)

During the late 1980s and early 1990s everything changed in the Estonian art world, as it did in the art worlds of other Baltic states and the entire Soviet Union. Not only was art itself – its techniques, media, strategies, contents, and purposes – rethought and the functional and financial system of the art scene reorganized, but also the self-perception of artists, their understanding of their activities and their relation to world culture, both contemporary and historical.

Many artists, critics, and art historians have described the situation during this period as a time of total confusion. Much of what they … Read more

Performativity of the Private: The ambiguity of reenactment in Karol Radziszewski’s Kisieland

In his 1995 text Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, Jacques Derrida notes that “[e]ffective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation.”(Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, translated by Eric Prenowitz (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998), p. 11.) The narratives of a communist country inevitably challenge this statement since its archive, whether understood literally or in a figurative sense as the Foucauldian “system of discursivity,” is heavily censored and inaccessible to most. In the context of now-democratic Poland, how … Read more

Reenactment, Repetition, Return. Ion Grigorescu’s Two Dialogues with Ceausescu

In 1978 the Romanian artist Ion Grigorescu shot an 8mm film of a performance entitled Dialogue with Ceausescu, which he conducted alone in the privacy of his studio. The period following Nicolae Ceausescu’s accession to power after he succeeded Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej in 1965 seemed to correspond with a softening of the communist regime. Censorship of the arts abated somewhat, with exposure to the art of Western Europe and the United States authorized, in particular by means of exhibitions.(See Magda Carneci, Art et pouvoir en Roumanie 1945-1989 (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2007) pp. 121, 129, and 133.) However it wasn’t … Read more

Gerard Kwiatkowski: Embodying Historical Complexities in Postwar Polish “Recovered Territories”

The following text initiates “Artist Files,” a new series devoted to forgotten, understudied, or otherwise marginalized artists from the former Eastern Europe. The artists whose work we want to introduce have eluded recognition not only abroad–a fate that’s common enough for artists from the region–but also in their own countries, and for a broad variety of reasons. This essay devoted to Gerard Kwiatkowski focuses on the work of this important Polish-German artist, whose role as a curator and founder of EL Gallery often overshadowed his artistic practice.

Polish artist Gerard Jürgen Blum-Kwiatkowski is mostly known as the founder of the … Read more

Artists from the Former Eastern Europe in Berlin: Ewa Partum

The following conversation with Ewa Partum—one of the essential first-generation conceptual artists from Poland—is the first in a series devoted to artists from the former Eastern Europe who live and work in the city. For the last two decades, post-Wall Berlin has been touted as one of global art’s most celebrated–because least expensive–production centers. Yet the city’s history as a destination for artists from Russia and East-Central Europe goes back much longer: from the 1920s, when the number of Russian writers and artists who lived and worked here arguably exceeded the number of German ones; to the Cold War, when Read more

Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings (Book Review)

Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings. Juris Boiko and Hardijs Lediņš Nebijušu Sajūtu Restaurēšanas Darbnīca. Juris Boiko and Hardijs Lediņš. Ieva Astahovska, Mara Žeikare, eds. Riga (Latvia: Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2016), 480 pp.

For quite some time, all that was available to the researcher of contemporary art related to the Latvian experimental music group Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings/Nebijušu Sajūtu Restaurēšanas Darbnīca (NSRD), were a few lines here and there, scattered across catalogues, essays and random texts. Mysterious references to Binocular Dances and Walks to Bolderāja captivated those who wanted to know more. For these … Read more

Was Australian art ever provincial? A RESPONSE TO TERRY SMITH’S “THE PROVINCIALISM PROBLEM: THEN AND NOW” (ARTmargins 6, no. 1, February 2017, pp. 6-32)

The historical discourse is never ‘born’. It keeps starting anew. And art history also keeps starting anew. This always seems to happen when its purpose is deemed dead–while experiencing a rebirth at the same time.
–Georges Didi-Huberman(Georges Didi-Huberman, L’image survivante: Histoire de l’artet temps des fantômes selon Aby Warburg, originally published in French in 2002. It was translated into English in 2016 as The Surviving Image; Phantoms of Time and Time of Phantoms: Aby Warburg’s History of Art. Our quote is from the German Das Nachleben der Bilder: Kunstgeschicte und Phantomzeit nach Aby Warburg (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2010), Read more

Art and/as Radical Labor: We Wanted a Revolution at the Brooklyn Museum

We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85 at the Brooklyn Museum, April 21 – September 17, 2017.

For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of Read more

In the Throes of Art and Law: Review of Dreams&Dramas. Law as Literature

Dreams&Dramas. Law as Literature at neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK), Berlin, March 10 – May 7, 2017

The exhibition Dreams&Dramas. Law as Literature at neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) in Berlin is the most recent in a spate of exhibitions and symposia to address law through art in the last five years. In 2013, the Persona Ficta exhibition at Bard Center for Curatorial Studies presented “formal spaces of law as vehicles for poetic political action,”(Persona Ficta, Bard CCS, 2013 http://www.bard.edu/ccs/persona-ficta/ (Retrieved July 30, 2017).) and Imagine the Law at FKSE Stúdió Galéria in Budapest (2013) … Read more

The End of Nature: Interview with Angelika Markul

Angelika Markul (b. 1977, Poland) lives and works between Malakoff and Warsaw. After graduating from the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris in 2003, she has researched the natural world and the cycles of life, through her video installations and sculptures. The artist has stated that she is influenced by artists as diverse as Miros?aw Ba?ka, Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Pierre Huyghe, Tadeusz Kantor, Jannis Kounellis, Alina Szapocznikow, and Tatiana Trouvé. Her 2016 solo exhibition What is Lost is at the Beginning at Zamek Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw (Angelika Markul, What is Lost is at Read more

The Paradox of Artistic Labor: An Interview with Katja Praznik

The Slovenian sociologist and performing arts theorist Katja Praznik recently published the study The Paradox of Unpaid Artistic Labor: the Autonomy of Art, the Avant-Garde, and Cultural Policy in the Transition to Post-Socialism (Ljubljana: Založba Sophia, 2016). Before coming to the United States, she was long active in the independent Slovenian cultural scene. Today she teaches cultural policy and sociology of art at SUNY Buffalo, and deals with questions of the “autonomy” of arts and the social conditions of cultural production. The following interview was conducted on the occasion of Katja Praznik’s lecture at Zagreb’s Multimedia Institute.

Jasna Jasna Read more

The Agency of Lack: Mikhail Tolmachev on His Installation at the Moscow Gulag Museum

Mikhail Tolmachev was born in Moscow and lives in Leipzig. His work touches on questions of institutional memory and display, documentary history, and media archeology. Recent shows have included Sources Go Dark (Futura Center for Contemporary Art, Prague 2015); Beyond Visual Range (Armed Forces Museum, Moscow 2014); IK-00 The Spaces of Confinement, Casa dei Tre Oci, Venice, 2014; SLON (V-A-C Foundation, Palazzo Zattere, Venice, 2017).

Sven Spieker: In 2016 you presented an exhibition at the State Museum of Gulag History in Moscow that deals with materials from the museum’s archive, related to the Stalinist labor camp on the island of … Read more

Sitting together. Parallel Chronologies of Coincidences in Eastern Europe

transit.sk, Bratislava, Slovakia – December 13, 2016 to February 25, 2017

A black and white photograph portrays a group of people in a natural environment like a meadow; they are eating and conversing while sitting in a circle. We can deduce from their garments and the hair in movement that the weather is fresh and windy. After a few seconds, we distinguish a small, dark-colored animal that is being pet by one of the participants. The animal is a lamb, a particular Ethiopian species borrowed from the zoo for this occasion; it is also the main character of this informal … Read more

A Conversation with Olga Chernysheva

This interview was conducted with Moscow-based artist Olga Chernysheva on the occasion of her solo exhibition Vague Accent at The Drawing Center in New York (October 7 – December 18, 2016). It featured a series of new drawings made after a month-long residency at the Drawing Center in 2015. Combining images and texts, her drawings “show things that are already visible… things not asking to be looked at,” gleaned from everyday life in the urban landscape of New York, a city Chernysheva lived in as a foreigner. This interview discusses the drawings in the exhibition as well as their connections Read more

“What Matters is Revolution at the Historical Moment of Radical Contemporaneity”: Interview with Marina Gržinić

Since 1982, Marina Grzinic has collaborated with art historian Aina Šmid on over 40 video art projects, including independent video documentaries, television productions, and media installations. A new show of the duo’s work, Radical Contemporaneity (curated by Aneta Stojni?), surveys Grzinic and Šmid’s video collaborations between 1982 and 2017. The exhibition is on view at the Kunstraum Lakeside in Klagenfurt, Austria, May 11 through July 14, 2017. Marina Grzinic spoke with Raino Isto via email.

Raino Isto: First, let’s talk about the exhibition, Radical Contemporaneity. Could you say a little bit about its theme, and how the show came … Read more

The Idea of the Global Museum

The global museum has been debated over a decade within the framework of critical museology and in the context of contemporary global art. The recent conference The Idea of the Global Museum (December 2-3, 2016), organized by the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum of Modern Art in Berlin as a part of its project Global Resonances and coordinated by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, offered a retrospective look at a variety of museum practices that critically embrace the notion of the global.

The discourse on the global museum has been part of a broader postcolonial investigation into the possibility of a global … Read more

Art in Europe 1945-1968: Facing the Future

Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, October 22, 2016—January 29, 2017

On January 29, 2017, the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe celebrated the successful conclusion of Art in Europe 1945-1968: Facing the Future, a major exhibition dedicated to European art after the Second World War. Showcasing some 500 artworks by more than 200 artists, the exhibition was the collaborative effort of the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels (BOZAR), the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM), and the Moscow State Museum Exhibition Center (ROSIZO), and Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. After stints in Brussels and Karlsruhe, the … Read more

Allegories of Painting: Review of Meleko Mokgosi’s Democratic Intuition: Lerato

Democratic Intuition: Lerato at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City, September 8 – October 22, 2016

Democratic Intuition: Lerato is part of an ongoing series of exhibits by the Botswana-born, NYC-based painter Meleko Mokgosi.(Another installment of the project, Comrades II, ran concurrently at the Shainman Gallery’s second site. I make brief reference tothis other exhibit, but focus my analysis on Lerato.) The first iteration, Exordium, was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston in 2015, and was followed by Comrades at the Stevenson Art Gallery, Cape Town, in 2016. In his new show at … Read more

Moholy-Nagy: Future Present

MOHOLY-NAGY: FUTURE PRESENT, THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, OCTOBER 2, 2016-JANUARY 3, 2017

“Art has two faces, the biological and the social, one toward the individual and the other toward the group. By expressing fundamental validities and common problems, art can produce a feeling of coherence. This is its social function which leads to a cultural synthesis as well as to a continuation of human civilization.”
-László Moholy-Nagy (László Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion (Chicago: Paul Theobald, 1947), p. 28.)

Moholy-Nagy: Future Present, the long overdue traveling retrospective of Hungarian-born artist and educator László Moholy-Nagy, is a timely testament … Read more

Why Sports and Art Go Well Together: A Conversation with Przemysław Strożek (Warsaw)

Katalin Cseh-Varga and Kristóf Nagy started working on the interrelation of sport and neo-avant-garde in January 2016, based on an in-depth research of Hungarian painter László Lakner’s Foot Art project (1970), which was further developed into an exhibition-action draft by art organiser László Beke designed for documenta 5 (1972). During the intense research period in June 2016 the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies arranged two conference sessions on Avant-Garde and Sport in the framework of which Katalin got acquainted with the work of Przemysław Stro?ek who at that time talked about the world cup of 1934, politics, art … Read more

ԲԱՑԱ(ՀԱՅ)ՏՈՒՄ In Flight: Singing Tricksters, Imposters, Masqueraders

This conversation was conducted by email correspondence over the period between December 15, 2016 and January 8, 2017. In the past, it was Nelli Sargsyan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Marlboro College in Vermont, who initiated and conducted the interview-conversations with Queering Yerevan Collective (QYC), a loose network of artists, writers, cultural critics and activists queering and using Yerevan as an experimental space. This time the conversation was initiated and conducted by QYC. In common (academic) practice, the initiators (interviewers) get credited as authors of the text. In this case, however, since we are also interested in creating new modes … Read more

Lost in Plain Sight: Dadaglobe Reconstructed

Dadaglobe Reconstructed, Museum of Modern Art, New York, June 12-September 18, 2016

Recently in art and exhibition culture, there has been a fashion for reenactment and reconstruction. Most pervasively – but also, in a sense, most naturally – this has occurred in performance art, notoriously when Marina Abramović shifted the stakes of scored performance from interpretive reiteration to faithful reenactment in Seven Easy Pieces (2005), a serial resurrection of seven historically important, but underdocumented performances.(See Carrie Lambert-Beatty, “Against Performance Art,” Artforum, May 2010, https://www.artforum.com/inprint/issue=201005&id=25443&show=activation, accessed November 10, 2016.) Equally, as Claire Bishop has pointed out, the Read more