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Socialist Realist Graphic Art in Albania (Book Review) Print E-mail
Book Reviews
Written by Raino Eeto Isto (College Park)   
Friday, 17 July 2015 17:31

Safo Marko, untitled linocut. In Maks Velo, Grafika e Realizmit Socialist në Shqipëri (Tirana: Emal, 2014), p. 157. Photograph by Maks Velo. Courtesy of Maks Velo.One of the great questions confronted by any history of art in the twentieth century, and particularly of the art of Eastern Europe, is that of the artistic significance of Socialist Realism and the issues surrounding its legacy. This is especially true in Albania, one of the countries where Socialist Realism persisted as the dominant style for more than forty years—especially during the period (1944-1985) when the country was led by socialist dictator Enver Hoxha. In Albania, the question of Socialist Realism's legacy is partially one of public space, due to the large number of monuments and works of architecture remaining from the socialist era. However, it is also more broadly a question of the academic and social history of the nation's cultural production, and the possibilities for Socialist Realism to be seen in dialogue with the new forms and ideologies of contemporary art. These possibilities have been explored in recent exhibitions such as Workers Leaving the Studio, Looking Away from Socialist Realism, at the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana in 2015, and, more indirectly, in the installation of Armando Lulaj's works in the Albanian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

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Specters of Communism: Contemporary Russian Art, The James Gallery and e-flux, New York Print E-mail
Exhibition Reviews
Written by Ksenia Nouril (New York)   
Thursday, 04 June 2015 19:22

Arseny Zhilyaev, "RCC YHV Resurrecting Museum at Home," 2014. The James Gallery, The Graduate Center, CUNY. Photo by Julia Sherman.In 1961, Nikita Khrushchev famously announced that communism would be achieved in the Soviet Union by 1980. As a result, the nation lived in a perpetual state of the future-perfect tense, aiming for an expected or planned event that was to happen before a certain point in time. Unfortunately, Khrushchev never lived to see that day—nor did anyone else. The realization of true communism was a failure, and because it was abandoned as incomplete, its potentiality still remains, thus making it a tempting subject for artists today.

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In Memoriam - Piotr Piotrowski (June 14, 1952 – May 3, 2015) Print E-mail
Articles
Written by Anna Brzyski (Lexington/KY)   
Saturday, 30 May 2015 10:49

It was with great shock and sadness that we learned of the passing of our dear friend, colleague, and collaborator Piotr Piotrowski. His groundbreaking contributions to the study of art from Eastern Europe, boundless energy, willingness to challenge entrenched views, desire to provoke discussion (no matter how uncomfortable), and his commitment to democracy and social justice distinguished him among his peers within the region and beyond. Piotr belonged to a post-war generation of Eastern European intellectuals who experienced life under communism first-hand and who later observed and participated in the often painful and unsteady transition to capitalism and democracy. His contributions to art history, criticism and theory often commented on those realities. They also reflected his keen awareness of the significance of geography, in particular, the disadvantages and advantages of living on Europe's margins. His was one of the most original and fearless voices in recent discussions concerning the politics of global art and art history. Piotr's presence and keen insights will be sorely missed at any gathering that addresses these issues in the future.

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The 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale Print E-mail
Exhibition Reviews
Written by Ana Mitrovici (Los Angeles)   
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 00:00

Inside the Giardini’s National Pavilions, general view. Photo by the author.Fundamentals, the title of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (June 7 - November 23, 2014), experimented with new approaches. First, it ran longer than past exhibitions, for almost six months instead of three. Secondly, it was organized according to a tripartite formula, with the first section, Monditalia, highlighting Italy, and occupying one third of the conceptual component of the exhibition that also included other media, such as dance and theater. The second, Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, was held in the Giardini's permanent pavilions, featuring additional national exhibitions located throughout the labyrinthine space of the Arsenale and throughout the city itself. For this section of the exhibit, participating nations were asked to present their pavilions in consideration of how they had been impacted by modernity over the last 100 years. More accurately, the theme explicitly asked participants to consider: "How has modernity been "absorbed," a phenomenon that, at least within the context of the exhibit, was understood as the gradual effacement of national styles and the encroachment of a more universal language of architecture.

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Paulo Bruscky & Robert Rehfeldt’s Mail Art Exchanges at Chert Gallery, Berlin Print E-mail
Exhibition Reviews
Written by Sara Blaylock (Berlin)   
Thursday, 26 March 2015 00:00

Paulo Bruscky, “Untitled (Ferrogravura),” ca. 1975-1991. Photo by David Horvitz. Image courtesy of Chert gallery, Berlin.Over sixteen years of a committed artistic collaboration organized and almost entirely mediated by the mail, Brazilian artist Paulo Bruscky (b. 1949) and East German artist Robert Rehfeldt (1931-1993) exchanged materially modest, if conceptually bold, artworks to overcome immense physical and political obstacles. Crossing 5,000 miles and two repressive Cold War-era regimes, their mail art often trucked in slogans and icons that were at once immediately identifiable and laden with artistic metaphor and ingenuity. Bruscky's Ferrogravura (iron engravings) —the brown burn of a hot iron on paper—are innovations in domestic printmaking that reveal the artist's humor, as well as a necessity for resourcefulness and creativity in a country governed by military rule. Rehfeldt responded to comparable conditions in East Germany, and maintained, like Bruscky, an earnest and idealistic confidence in art's capacity to speak and redefine universal languages. In his East Berlin atelier, he stamped out the slogans of his "contart" (contact + art), dropping in the mailbox a vision for socially engaged culture: "ARTISTS OF ALL COUNTRIES UNITE;" "MAKE A CREATIVE WORLD NOW;" "KUNST IM KONTAKT IST LEBEN MIT DER KUNST" (ART IN CONTACT / IT'S LIFE IN ART).

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New In ARTMargins Print

ARTMargins Print has released its new issue, 4.2. (June 2015)!

ArticlesBill Roberts (Warwick/UK) on postmodernism's contemporaneity. Sven Spieker (Los Angeles/Berlin) considers the figure of the Vertreter in the work of Martin Kippenberger.

Essay: Walid Sadek (Beirut): When Next We Meet: On the Figure of the Nonposthumous Survivor

 Online supplement: A Conversation with Walid Sadek. FREE ACCESS.

In the Document section, we present, for the first time an early conversation between Hsieh Tehching, Ai Weiwei, and Xu Bing (introduction and translation, Lee Ambrozy). FREE ACCESS.

Artist ProjectRobert Zhao Renhui (Singapore): As We Walk on Water. FREE ACCESS.

Review Article: Christopher T. Green (New York City), Artists, of the Great Lakes? Problematizing the Exhibition of Place in Native American Art."
 

Click here for more information at the MIT Press ARTMargins site.

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Two independent outlets, in separate media, of one and the same publication.

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PRINT: Contemporary art in a global context

Published triquarterly by the MIT Press, ARTMargins provides a forum for the discussion of postmodernism and post-colonialism, and their critiques; art and politics in transitional countries and regions; post-socialism and neo-liberalism; and the problem of global art and global art history.

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Founded in 1999, ARTMargins Online publishes articles, interviews, essays, and reviews devoted to contemporary art. Unlike ARTMargins (print), ARTMargins Online has traditionally had a regional focus, central and Eastern Europe.