Art in the “open society”
The aesthetics of problem-solving
in The postsocialist contemporary
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As discussed in previous chapters, the main postulates outlined in the mission statements of these centers – in their imperative to build an institutional infrastructure for the art of the “open society,” which is to say “contemporary art” – amounted to an ideology of postsocialist artistic institutions and practices in the 1990s. But such statements were the fruit of various managerial-bureaucratic narratives woven in the Open Society Institute offices of New York and Budapest. The postsocialist or Soros contemporary had a clear managerial agenda, but it lacked an aesthetic or artistic program. This chapter examines a small segment of the vast ideological universe of new or neo-liberalism. It engages with the work of a few intellectuals who have left a deep impact not only on post-1989 reforms in Eastern Europe, but also on the world. The chapter looks into some of the ideas about art that were popular among a number of Central European intellectuals that were affiliated in some way or another with Karl Popper. Rather than consider their general social, scientific, and economic postulations – for which they have been celebrated by advocates of the free market, over the course of the past century – the chapter traces their artistic and aesthetic beliefs, seeking to comprehend the place of art in the ideological universe of Cold War liberalism. The chapter poses such questions as: What is the place of art in the “open society” that Soros, following Popper’s dream, decided to build in Eastern Europe?

The postsocialist contemporary

The institutionalization of artistic practice in Eastern Europe after 1989

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