CFP: Exhibitions as Sites of Artistic Contact during the Cold War (Iasi, 8-9 Nov 19)

“George Enescu” National University of Arts, Iasi, Romania, November 8 – 09, 2019
Deadline: Sep 15, 2019

Exhibitions as Sites of Artistic Contact during the Cold War

Organizers: Cristian Nae, Katalin Cseh-Varga

The conference is part of the research project “Crossing the Borders: Transnational Collaborations and Institutional Critique in Exhibitions of Eastern European Art during Late Socialism (1964-1989)”.

Conference topic:
This symposium will explore the agency of art exhibitions during the Cold War (1958-1989) in establishing transnational collaborations across the Iron Curtain, revealing the complexity of interrelations between art, society, and politics. In this way, the conference will not only challenge the standard ideological division between ‘East’ and ‘West’ but will look at visual micro- and macro-histories through the lens of internationalism. The conference applies a broad understanding of East, Central and Southeast European art with a simultaneous view of international politics, global art currents, and local institutional as well as non-institutional decisions about art making in the region.

The conference will investigate the exhibition as a medium, as a space of cultural contact and cultural diplomacy, as a site of exchange of objects and thoughts, as a space of gathering together, and as a location of innovative curatorial formats and alternative art practices. The organizers and contributors aim to reveal significant moments of conflicting, strategic, or peaceful contact with state institutions and politics. Their purpose is to map out the ways in which formal and informal networks of artists, objects and institutions have contributed to the circulation, transfer, adaptation, and reception of ideas and artistic practices on both sides of the Iron Curtain through the exhibition as a reflexive art for(u)m.

Conference papers should address the following topics:
– Critical, innovative, and transgressive forms of exhibiting;
– Invented and adapted international curatorial trends;
– Official and alternative networks and circulations which have supported the realization of exhibitions;
– Cultural mediators of curating: institutions, organizations, groups, and individuals;
– Exhibitions as sites of cultural diplomacy;
– Curatorial practices in official and non-official zones, and in-between;
– The immaterial exhibition, the exhibition as process;
– Curating as a borderless community;
– Issues of exhibition history and archiving, or the theory and methods problem.

Confirmed keynote speakers are:
David Crowley (National College of Art and Design, Dublin)
Klara Kemp-Welch (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London)
Sven Spieker (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Zanna Gilbert (Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)

Please email a brief abstract of no more than 300 words and a brief CV of up to 150 words to and by September 15, 2019. Applicants will be notified about acceptance by October 1, 2019.

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