Roads to Convergence behind the Iron Curtain: Remapping Conceptual Art in the Era of (Post)Socialism, Session at AAH, London, April 6-8, 2022

Maia Toteva's picture

In 2010, the critic Peter Osborne argued that contemporary art is post-conceptual. Notwithstanding broad generalizations, it is undeniable that key traits of contemporary art are rooted in the notion of global conceptualism. Two decades after the closing of the blockbuster exhibition Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s-1980s, scholars still ponder the dilemma that propelled the show’s ambitious agenda. Was conceptualism a unified movement that emerged in the West and spread worldwide, or did unique local circumstances give birth to multiple conceptual trends in distant geographic regions? What factors facilitated the development of a global phenomenon, and what transcultural considerations prompted the shift from the formalist preoccupation with material objects toward broader attention to the ideas and conceptual framing of artworks?

Reviving the quandary, this session reconsiders the conceptual practices of the Eastern Bloc before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain. How did conceptual trends born in (post)socialist countries (e.g., Sots Art or Moscow conceptualism) relate to Western conceptual art, and how did such movements fit into the globalist narratives advanced by transnational alliances, international markets, and neoliberal ideologies? If Anglo-American conceptualism emerged in reaction to formalism as articulated by Clement Greenberg, while modernist movements in the Communist Bloc waned disrupted by socialist realism, what conditions prompted the inception of a “flexible and elastic” Eastern European conceptual art as a strategy of interrogating systems of socialism, capitalism, and political oppression? Raising such questions, we seek to reassess the role of (post)conceptual art in the eras of post-truth and post-socialism.

Call for Papers deadline: 1 November 2021. Please submit your paper proposal to the convenor: Maia Toteva, Texas Tech University, Maia.Toteva@ttu.edu  Please include in your proposal a clear paper title, a short abstract (max 250 words), your name and email.

Association for Art History Annual Conference

The 2022 Annual Conference will take place in person over three days from 6 - 8 April 2022. There will be up to 36 live parallel sessions with 4, 6, or 8 papers delivered in each session. There will be multiple sessions taking place each day.

All 2022 sessions are open to 25-minute paper proposals. Session Timetables will be available for downloading nearer the event: https://eu.eventscloud.com/website/5317/