This book presents new research on the histories and legacies of the German
Expressionist group, Der Blaue Reiter, the founding force behind modernist
abstraction. For the first time Der Blaue Reiter is subjected to a variety of
novel inter-disciplinary perspectives, ranging from a philosophical enquiry into
its language and visual perception, to analyses of its gender dynamics, its
reception at different historical junctures throughout the twentieth century,
and its legacies for post-colonial aesthetic practices. The volume offers a new
perspective on familiar aspects of Expressionism and abstraction, taking
seriously the inheritance of modernism for the twenty-first century in ways that
will help to recalibrate the field of Expressionist studies for future
scholarship. Der Blaue Reiter still matters, the contributors argue, because the
legacies of abstraction are still being debated by artists, writers,
philosophers and cultural theorists today.
prefab four: Dirk, Nasty, Stig and
Barry, who made thesixties what they are today. The fabulous
The most telling line from this
opening caption is probably ‘the group who made thesixties what they
are today’, which carries the suggestion that thesixties are
typically reconstructed through a familiar series of icons. The objective of
-backed corrupt Batista regime, were key protagonists of a diverse multinational network fighting for worldwide liberation of
‘coloured’ people. However, some believed – as David Crowley wrote in TheSixties: A Worldwide Happening – that the Panthers had a ‘somewhat incomplete global consciousness and were often blind to the injustice and violence
being done in the name of progress by other revolutionary states (usually to
their own populations)’.9 In visualising their US revolution, the Black Panthers
followed Malcolm X’s statement in a 1964 speech that ‘We [Black Power
, whether old or ill.
I hope this letter reaches you safe and legible. Many warm greetings
and kisses. Your mother.
There follows a short paragraph from Fanny Maier to her family, telling
of thesixty-hour unbroken train journey. Poignantly she says that
the thought of seeing their loved ones soon lightens their stay, and
that they don’t let their courage fail. She reports that there are visiting
hours with the men, in the neighbouring barracks. This, I assume is the
Fanny Maier from the Offenburg photo. She was to remain Leonie’s
close companion through the following
as a revolutionary one. The
political rhetoric of both has been directly influential on the field of art.
Organised in 1991 by art historian Michele Wallace, the ground-breaking
symposium “Black Popular Culture” offered an interdisciplinary comparison of
questions surrounding “black nationalism, essentialism and Pan-Africanism.”13
In her presentation “Black Nationalism: theSixties and the Nineties” Angela
Davis recalled the development of her political position from identity politics
to communism, showing how ideas morphed, how complex and contradictory
(Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1995),
26 Wallace, “Reading 1968 and the Great American Whitewash,” 108. Wallace’s powerful
criticism of the erasure of minority contribution, especially the central place of
African Americans in the much-mythologised social movements of the 1960s is
correct in my opinion, and her work at large has influenced my thinking. Yet, in
defence of Todd Gitlin’s TheSixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam
Books, 1993), I must cite his recognition that: “Youth culture might have remained
just that—the traditional
, particularly by Claire Bishop, who deploys Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s writings on political hegemony to argue that antagonism and conflict are vital to relational art’s democratic function, but also by scholars of the early Happenings, such as Rodenbeck, who have emphasised their coercive aspects. Claire Bishop, ‘Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics’, October 110 (Autumn 2004): 51–79 (65–7); and Rodenbeck, Radical Prototypes , particularly 241–55.
70 On the Diggers’ ‘free’ network, see Karen M. Staller , Runaways: How theSixties Counterculture Shaped
Jacopo Galimberti, Noemi de Haro García and Victoria H. F. Scott
Christopher Leigh Connery, ‘The World Sixties’, in Rob Wilson and Christopher Leigh Connery (eds), The Worlding Project: Doing Cultural Studies in
the Era of Globalization (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2007), 78.
9 Fredric Jameson, ‘Periodizing theSixties’, in Sohnya Sayres et al. (eds), The
60s Without Apology (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press in cooperation with Social Text, 1984), 189.
10 See, for example, the use of this notion in publications such as Connery, ‘The
World Sixties’, 77–107; the special issue entitled ‘Global Maoism and Cultural
Lourdes Castro and Manuel Zimbro’s Un autre livre rouge
Ana Bigotte Vieira and André Silveira
Conceptual Art (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, 2006), 29–30.
5 Chris Marker, Le fond de l’air est rouge: scènes de la troisième guerre mondiale
1967–1977 (Paris: François Maspero, 1978), 5; Traverso, Malinconia di sinistra.
6 By 1961, when the Colonial War began, the Portuguese State of India included
Goa, Daman and Diu. In the previous decade, in 1954, Portugal had already
lost control over the Dadra and Nagar Haveli enclaves.
7 Fredric Jameson, ‘Periodizing theSixties’, in Sohnya Sayres et al. (eds), The 60s
Without Apology (Minneapolis: University of
society. He is interested in moral and ethical
dilemmas in confronting catastrophic situations, and his art engages the ambiguities and uncertainties of the human condition and of history, in an attempt
to ‘reawaken an intrinsic ethical impulse in the present’.101
An important work that emerged from that attempt was John Young’s installation Bonhoeffer in Harlem (2009). It commemorates thesixty-fourth anniversary of the execution of German Lutheran theologian, pastor and finally martyr,
Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Originally designed for St Matthauskirche, Kulturforum,