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)

Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art Since the 1950s (2002)

13 April 2020, dusan

“For several decades after World War II, Communist governments suppressed artistic freedom in Eastern Europe, creating conditions for the development of artistic expression markedly different from those in the West. Primary Documents provides an introduction for English-speaking readers to influential figures in the artistic and critical realms of the region and includes seminal artists’ writings, manifestos and texts by art historians from the past four decades. Many of these texts originally appeared in obscure journals in various foreign languages and are translated here for the first time.

The book, resulting from the research of an international team of scholars, artists, and curators working with The Museum of Modern Art, includes texts from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The chapters, organized thematically, are preceded by brief introductions and followed by case studies that chronicle events or describe the creation or reception of artworks.”

Edited by Laura Hoptman and Tomáš Pospiszyl
Foreword by Ilya Kabakov
Publisher Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2002
ISBN 0870703617, 9780870703614
375 pages
via ARCH

Reviews: Martina Pachmanová (ARTMargins, 2003), Alexei Monroe (Transitions, 2003), Yevgeniy Fiks (Art Journal, 2004).

Publisher
Distributor
WorldCat

PDF (17 MB)

Really Useful Knowledge (2014)

19 November 2019, dusan

“This catalogue investigates the notion of “really useful knowledge” and its origins. In the 1820s and 1830s, working class organisations in the UK introduced this phrase to describe a body of knowledge that encompassed various “unpractical” disciplines such as politics, economics and philosophy, as opposed to the “useful knowledge” proclaimed by business owners who had previously begun to invest more heavily in their companies’ progress through financing workers’ education in “applicable” disciplines like engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics. The publication presents texts and conversations that analyse these themes, including philosophy, art, politics and technology.”

With contributions by What, How and for Whom/WHW, Marina Garcés, Raqs Media Collective, Luis Camnitzer, Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, and Gáspár M. Tamás.

Curated by What, How and for Whom/WHW
Publisher Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MACBA), Barcelona, 2014
ISBN 9788480264990, 8480264993
285+[10] pages

Discussion: Charles Esche, Manuel Borja-Villel (L’Internationale, 2015).

Exhibition
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (14 MB)