Octavian Esanu
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Introduction
in The postsocialist contemporary
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The introduction provides a general outline of the book. It is divided into four sections, with each part clarifying the author’s approach to the study of art in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as it revolves around new practices, institutions, and norms introduced by the SCCA network. The introduction begins with clarifying the author’s position vis-à-vis the figure of George Soros – the Hungarian-American financial speculator and philanthropist who had played a key role in the postsocialist reforms of the 1990s. The introduction states that the book does not study Soros as a personal figure, or his other activities, but only focuses on one art program, proceeding then to clarify its political position and critical interventions. It insists that this criticism must not be confused with current right-wing attacks on key liberal figures and institutions, but it is rather a critique formulated from the position of the left, which has traditionally approached art as an intrinsic part of social reality. The next section states the thesis and the intended contribution, offering a general introduction to the cultural context of Eastern Europe in the 1990s. This section also announces that the book builds upon the urgency of turning attention to the radical transformations taking place in the art of the 1990s, suggesting that its key motivation is the study of the relation between “contemporary art,” the ideological universe of liberal democracy, and neoliberalism. Finally, the introduction discusses the book’s method, concluding with a general outline of its five chapters.

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The postsocialist contemporary

The institutionalization of artistic practice in Eastern Europe after 1989

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