Graduate seminar in Art History
Taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Spring 2019–present
This class looks at artistic practices in the former Eastern Europe (the former Soviet Bloc as well as the former Yugoslavia) since after World War II and situates them within broader social and political circumstances of life under Communist rule. Starting with socialist realism and the period of cultural “Thaw” after the death of Joseph Stalin, through the “stabilization” decades of the 1960s and 70s, and ending with the emergence of postsoviet/postsocialist societies after 1989, this course presents and problematizes the most significant modernist, neo-avantgarde, and contemporary art practices, together with surrounding discourses. We discuss the official, state-sponsored painting and sculpture as much as anti-establishment experimental art along with issues of democracy, identity, and difference, foregrounding the region’s geopolitical positioning. We look into individual and collective artistic practices, focus on physical art objects as well as ephemeral events, investigate art institutions and international networks, and examine critical issues such as political engagement, notions of public and private, national mythologies, renegotiations of femininity and masculinity, and the postsocialist condition. Throughout the semester the students engage in an independent, original research on a selected topic within the spectrum of the course (i.e. art created in the former Eastern Europe after 1945) that concludes with a research paper.
Please contact me for a copy of the syllabus.