“In View” is a new series of short essays focused on important artworks from the modern history of East-Central Europe that have been overlooked by prevailing art historical narratives. Each author in the series selects a single work that has been ignored in broader histories of global modernism or regional cultural histories, and offers a rich and close reading of that work, highlighting its nuance and import. Texts in the new series will vary widely in their geographic and chronological purview, but they all develop an argument for a specific work’s significance through a detailed examination of its genesis, context, … Read more
Ieva Astahovska and Antra Priede-Krievkalne, eds., Valdis Āboliņš. The Avant-garde, Mailart, the New Left, and Cultural Relations during the Cold War (Riga: Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2019), 662 pp.
Few publications deal with Latvian artists in exile who settled in various Western countries after they (or their parents) fled the approaching Soviet army at the end of the Second World War.(For a useful introduction to this topic, see the catalogue: Dace Lamberga, ed., Latviešu māksla trimdā – Latvian Art in Exile (Riga: LNMM & Neputns, 2013).) Costly and time-consuming research abroad is often necessary to tell the … Read more
Instructive, Dramatic, and Corrective Collectivity: Socialist Realism in the Mirror of Collegial Debates. A Case Study of Documents of the Artists’ Union of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, 1944–55
Based on the study of protocols of the Latvian Artists’ Union and the Organizational Committee of the Artists’ Union of the USSR, the article surveys three stages of the introduction of Socialist Realism in Latvia and different forms and functions of the enforced collegial collectivity facilitating this process. The article examines the transformation of artistic life in Latvia during the period of Stalinism, which not only meant stylistic transition towards Socialist Realism but also involved the imposition of a range of practices of collective supervision of artistic production and censorship, including collective debates, collective advice, collective learning and collective critique. … Read more