Octavian Esanu
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How Eastern Europe got the idea of contemporary art
in The postsocialist contemporary
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The main aim of this chapter is to provide a summary of the institutional context and history of the SCCA network. And even though the book does not aim at providing a full historical reconstruction of the “Soros contemporary” – given the diverse complexity of this program implemented in eighteen countries – a general outline of the narrative is still necessary in order to proceed (in the next chapters) to examine the structural transformations credited to the Soros art network. The chapter is divided into four parts, starting with a general overview of the network’s mission, values, objectives, and achievements; a concise discussion of the Soros Fine Arts Documentation Center, a small program established in the mid-1980s and which later served as a blueprint for the network; an examination of the general process of bureaucratic implementation of the SCCA centers; and an overview of the joined programs but also some major differences between these twenty centers. The chapter also discusses particular instruments used in the implementation of the program, such as the “SCCA Procedures Manual” which consisted of a set of instructions on how to open a center for contemporary art, headed by the logo of the SCCA network. These institutional elements are offered as examples of what united and negotiated the local nodes within this regional and trans-regional network.

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The postsocialist contemporary

The institutionalization of artistic practice in Eastern Europe after 1989


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