Klara Kemp-Welch: Networking the Bloc: Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1965-1981 (2018)

28 April 2020, dusan

“Throughout the 1970s, a network of artists emerged to bridge the East-West divide, and the no less rigid divides between the countries of the Eastern bloc. Originating with a series of creative initiatives by artists, art historians, and critics and centered in places like Budapest, Poznań, and Prague, this experimental dialogue involved Western participation but is today largely forgotten in the West. In Networking the Bloc, Klara Kemp-Welch vividly recaptures this lost chapter of art history, documenting an elaborate web of artistic connectivity that came about through a series of personal encounters, pioneering dialogues, collaborative projects, and cultural exchanges. Countering the conventional Cold War narrative of Eastern bloc isolation, Kemp-Welch shows how artistic ideas were relayed among like-minded artists across ideological boundaries and national frontiers.

Much of the work created was collaborative, and personal encounters were at its heart. Drawing on archival documents and interviews with participants, Kemp-Welch focuses on the exchanges and projects themselves rather than the personalities involved. Each of the projects she examines relied for its realization on a network of contributors. She looks first at the mobilization of the network, from 1964 to 1972, exploring five pioneering cases: a friendship between a Slovak artist and a French critic, an artistic credo, an exhibition, a conceptual proposition, and a book. She then charts a series of way stations for experimental art from the Soviet bloc between 1972 and 1976—points of distribution between studios, private homes, galleries, and certain cities. Finally, she investigates convergences—a succession of shared exhibitions and events in the second half of the 1970s in locations ranging from Prague to Milan to Moscow. Networking the Bloc, Kemp-Welch invites us to rethink the art of the late Cold War period from Eastern European perspectives.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2018
ISBN 9780262038300, 0262038307
xi+468 pages

Reviews: Cristian Nae (ARTMargins, 2019), Denisa Tomkova (H-Net, 2020), Henry Meyric Hughes (Critique d’art, 2020).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (17 MB)

Lost, Loose and Loved: Foreign Artists in Paris 1944-1968 (2018) [EN, ES]

20 August 2019, dusan

“This broad collective exhibition reflects the vitality and vivacity of the art scene in all its complexity, displaying the different creative trends which took hold in the city inside and outside the School of Paris at a time of fervent political debate, held to the backdrop of the new global stage opened by the Cold War. From a broad array of artistic fields — from painting and sculpture to jazz, literature and film — foreign artists dealt with mounting tension by bringing their approaches and hopes to the Parisian milieu in an attempt to connect with the tradition of international modernism but without losing a grip on their own cultural identity.”

With essays by Serge Guilbaut, Amanda Herold-Marme,Tom McDonough, Maureen Murphy, Isabel Plante, and Kaira M. Cabañas.

Publisher Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2018
ISBN 9788480265805, 8480265809
264 pages

Exhibition
Publisher
WorldCat

English: PDF, PDF (10 MB)
Spanish: PDF, PDF (11 MB)

Fred Turner: The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties (2013)

25 February 2019, dusan

“We commonly think of the psychedelic sixties as an explosion of creative energy and freedom that arose in direct revolt against the social restraint and authoritarian hierarchy of the early Cold War years. Yet, as Fred Turner reveals in The Democratic Surround, the decades that brought us the Korean War and communist witch hunts also witnessed an extraordinary turn toward explicitly democratic, open, and inclusive ideas of communication and with them new, flexible models of social order. Surprisingly, he shows that it was this turn that brought us the revolutionary multimedia and wild-eyed individualism of the 1960s counterculture.

In this prequel to his book From Counterculture to Cyberculture, Turner rewrites the history of postwar America, showing how in the 1940s and ’50s American liberalism offered a far more radical social vision than we now remember. Turner tracks the influential mid-century entwining of Bauhaus aesthetics with American social science and psychology. From the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the New Bauhaus in Chicago and Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Turner shows how some of the most well-known artists and intellectuals of the forties developed new models of media, new theories of interpersonal and international collaboration, and new visions of an open, tolerant, and democratic self in direct contrast to the repression and conformity associated with the fascist and communist movements. He then shows how their work shaped some of the most significant media events of the Cold War, including Edward Steichen’s Family of Man exhibition, the multimedia performances of John Cage, and, ultimately, the psychedelic Be-Ins of the sixties. Turner demonstrates that by the end of the 1950s this vision of the democratic self and the media built to promote it would actually become part of the mainstream, even shaping American propaganda efforts in Europe.

Overturning common misconceptions of these transformational years, The Democratic Surround shows just how much the artistic and social radicalism of the sixties owed to the liberal ideals of Cold War America, a democratic vision that still underlies our hopes for digital media today.”

Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2013
ISBN 9780226325897, 022632589X
365 pages

Reviews: Jathan Sadowski (LA Review of Books, 2014), Carolyn L Kane (J Visual Culture, 2015), Matthew Linton (Society For U.S. Intellectual History Blog, 2015), Craig J. Pearison (J American History, 2016), Katie Simpson (J-History, 2017), Malte Hagener (NECSUS, 2015), Erika J. Pribanic-Smith (Journalism History, 2014), Debra Cash (ArtsFuse, 2014), Alex Sayf Cummings (2014).
Interview with author (Henry Jenkins, 2014), (cont.)
Interview with author (Clay Shirky, Public Books, 2014)
Video lecture (Berkeley, 2014)

Author
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF