November 18, 2021. Online. Project website.

“Socialist Exhibition Cultures” examines global art exhibitions organized, between 1950 and 1990, in or by (formerly) socialist or  Communist countries. These include the Soviet Union and other Communist/socialist states in Eastern Europe; China; North Korea; South Korea; Cuba, and Africa, including Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Angola. We consider Cold War socialist exhibitions instances of a curatorial culture that developed as an alternative to the Western art market and its international outlets, and according to its own set of demands and prerogatives.


The exhibition of Polish Constructivism at MoMA in 1976 was a part of the show’s American tournee that also included Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, and Montreal, and which, in turn, constituted but one stop on the exhibition’s world-wide tour that spanned almost 20 years. The artworks of Władysław Strzemiński, Katarzyna Kobro, Henryk Stażewski and Karol Hiller were drawn solely from the collection of Museum Sztuki in Łódź (MSŁ), Poland, that organized the show. I will argue that MSŁ intentionally constructed this touring exhibition as a knowledge-producing machine, delivering the exhibition to its destinations complete with all pedagogical tools (catalogue, wall labels) in order to assure the maximum popularization of the legacy of the Polish avantgarde. 

Video recording of the presentation is available here, in “section VI”.

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