Can there be contemporary art in North Korea? A methodological epilogue
in The postsocialist contemporary
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The chapter is intended as a conclusion to a book that attempts to historicize the dominant institutional paradigm in post-1989 Eastern European art. Here the “postsocialist contemporary” is passed through three prisms. The first one considers the overall impact of the Soros art centers. But the book refuses to remain fixated on a “story of art,” that is, on protonarratives of this particular network and anecdotes about its players, aspiring instead to catch a glimpse of the Narrative of history, in the age of global networks of capital and culture. The chapter evolves, again in kaleidoscopic fashion, into two further sections written from the perspective of broader historical considerations in the development of “contemporary art” and “contemporaneity.” The chapter argues that contemporary art and contemporaneity (the temporality associated with globalized market-driven democracies) resonate with the main concerns of late bourgeois civil society, its actors and institutions. One can catch historical glimpses of this concern in the overlapping of the periodization of “contemporary art” and the rise of neoliberalism after World War II. The last section considers aspects of the construction of the discourse and temporality of contemporary art, dance, music, and architecture as specifically tailored to the needs of the global “open” or “great” society, since the early days of the Cold War in the United States. The “contemporary” is, in other words, one of the spoils gained at the end of the Cold War. Where this War has not yet ended (as in North Korea), one cannot fully imagine the network logic of contemporary art.

The postsocialist contemporary

The institutionalization of artistic practice in Eastern Europe after 1989


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