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Octavian Esanu

“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 impact of the SCCA network The historical significance of the SCCA network can be discussed using the old Marxist relation of material “base” – the institutional and administrative structures established by these institutions in Eastern Europe

in The postsocialist contemporary
The aesthetics of problem-solving
Octavian Esanu

, the entire book) attempts to outline a would-be “aesthetics” of this “open society,” in order to comprehend what is, or could have been, the space of art in postsocialism. This chapter will examine 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. This sector has been known by many names, including such terms as “Cold War liberalism,” “liberalism of fear,” “Austrianism

in The postsocialist contemporary
Catherine Spencer

countercultural techno-utopian connectivity. 68 At the world’s fair: Cold War communication These aspects of Minujín’s works become particularly apparent when Minucode and Simultaneidad en simultaneidad are considered in relation to Circuit (Super Heterodyne) , Minujín’s third major sociological Happening of the 1960s. 69 Just as Minucode responded to the sociocultural mélange of celebrity, power and influence in New York, Circuit (Super Heterodyne) registered the geopolitical power play of Expo ’67, which took place in Montreal, its pavilions spilling through the

in Beyond the Happening
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Melissa Dabakis and Paul H. D. Kaplan

the United States through the Cold War years. While American art history with a transatlantic focus has tended to privilege French, British, and German ties, these chapters highlight a more nuanced body of contemporary research on Italian–American exchange that moves beyond a discussion of ‘influence’ as a one-way directive towards a deeper understanding of cultural transactions that profoundly

in Republics and empires
Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
Author: Yulia Karpova

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

The introduction of the curatorial function
Octavian Esanu

norms and procedures,” is a direct reference to what some former employers and observers believe to have been the main contribution of these organizations in the constitution of the new paradigm of contemporary art. And while the latter has been advertised and promoted as the “art of the open society,” or as the “free art concept”  1 (whose ideological underpinnings are discussed in the next chapter in the context of Cold War liberalism), here I examine some of the new patterns and norms of this new paradigm, by

in The postsocialist contemporary
Italian and American art in transnational perspective, 1840–1970

"Republics and empires showcases transnational perspectives that address the significance of Italy for American art and visual culture while outlining the impact of the United States on Italian art and popular culture. Covering the period from the Risorgimento to the Cold War, this collection of chapters illuminates the complexity of the visual discourses that bound two relatively new nations together. It also pays substantial attention to literary and critical texts that addressed the evolving cultural relationship between Italy and the United States.

Taking into account the significant historical events that linked Italy and the United States, Part I: ‘Hybrid Republicanisms’ and Part II: ‘The Courses of Empire’ highlight important cross-cultural issues. The first section concentrates on the shared notions of republicanism and tyranny that animated American and Italian politics in the long nineteenth century. Rather imperfectly, both nations attempted to bind a community of diverse peoples together on the common values of liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. The second exposes how the liberal tendencies of nationalism gave way to imperial ambition, and how this transition was given visual and cultural form in Italian and American high art and popular culture.

The anthology serves as a valuable introduction to American-Italian cultural relations. Its fourteen historicised case studies by Italian and American scholars trace how gender, race, ethnicity, and class interests intersect with the powerful political and cultural dynamics of both nations.

This book analyses the use of the past and the production of heritage through architectural design in the developmental context of Iran. It is the first of its kind to utilize a multidisciplinary approach in probing the complex relationship between architecture, development, and heritage. It uses established theoretical concepts including notions of globalism, nostalgia, tradition, and authenticity to show that development is a major cause of historical transformations in places such as Iran and its effects must be seen in relation to global political and historical exchanges as well as local specificities. Iran is a pertinent example as it has endured radical cultural and political shifts in the past five decades. Scholars of heritage and architecture will find the cross-disciplinary aspects of the book useful. The premise of the book is that transposed into other contexts, development, as a globalizing project originating in the West, instigates renewed forms of historical consciousness and imaginations of the past. This is particularly evident in architecture where, through design processes, the past produces forms of architectural heritage. But such historic consciousness cannot be reduced to political ideology, while politics is always in the background. The book shows this through chapters focusing on theoretical context, international exchanges made in architectural congresses in the 1970s, housing as the vehicle for everyday heritage, and symbolic public architecture intended to reflect monumental time. The book is written in accessible language to benefit academic researchers and graduate students in the fields of heritage, architecture, and Iranian and Middle Eastern studies.

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Activism and design in Italy
Author: Ilaria Vanni

Precarious objects is a book about activism and design. The context is the changes in work and employment from permanent to precarious arrangements in the twenty-first century in Italy. The book presents design interventions that address precarity as a defuturing force affecting political, social and material conditions. Precarious objects shows how design objects, called here ‘orientation devices’, recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life. Three microhistories illustrate activist repertoires that bring into play design, and design practices that are grounded in activism. While the vitality, experimental nature and traffic between theory and praxis of social movements in Italy have consistently attracted the interest of activists, students and researchers in diverse fields, there exists little in the area of design research. This is a study of design activism at the intersection of design theory and cultural research for researchers and students interested in design studies, cultural studies, social movements and Italian studies.

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Octavian Esanu

art in Eastern Europe, using the SCCA's history and activities as a point of empirical reference, must not be in any way confused with right-wing or anti-Semitic attacks on Soros. These attacks are nothing new. Soros has been the object of various conspiracy theories since the 1980s – in Kádár's Hungary, post-Ceaușescu Romania, and Yeltsin's Russia – and his foundations were early forced out of South Africa, China, and Belarus. But whatever criticism may be found, in this book, of Soros or of Karl Popper (Soros's intellectual model) – or of Cold War liberalism, the

in The postsocialist contemporary