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Extending the Dialogue



The book offers a collection of urgencies and agencies in art history, art writing, and art and cultural production from across this cultural and political geography.

The authors whose writings appear in this book come from twelve different countries and represent a range of disciplines and interests: they are art historians, philosophers, cultural theorists and activists, critics, curators, and poets, with most of them falling into at least two or three of these categories. All have made important contributions to contemporary art and cultural production, art history writing, and critical thought within, and sometimes far beyond, the region once known, problematically, as ‘Eastern Europe.’

The book thus offers a collection of urgencies and agencies in art history, art writing, and art and cultural production from across this cultural and political geography. It is a survey of the pressing issues that stimulate these authors’ scholarly, curatorial, and cultural investments and so provides a referential, if fragmented and incomplete, picture of current conditions of art and culture in the region.

Given the authors’ diverse backgrounds, their writings express a variety of concerns and approaches, although certain groupings are apparent. The first of these groupings addresses issues in art history and theory from a geo-political perspective; the question of the centre/periphery relationship in writing about Central and Eastern European art is further enriched by perspectives from other “peripheries”, with feminist, post-colonial, and minority positions coming into play as the matrix of power in art writing, art history, and art education is critically examined. The second (and largest) grouping of writings discusses specific art phenomena, from the1960s to the present. Several authors apply comparative and horizontal art-historical methods to reposition Eastern European art within a global context. Among the important topics represented here are environmental concerns and – since many of the artworks under discussion were developed as ephemeral works – the artistic and performative potential of documentation and archives. Other authors, meanwhile, reflect on the conditions of contemporary cultural production and the role of cultural institutions in the region. The last grouping deals with the intersection of politics and art, specifically with the region’s (utopian) legacy of revolution, socialism, and communism.

Language: English