Friday, May 6, 2016

The state artist in Romania and Eastern Europe

Call for Papers for the international conference: The state artist” in Romania and Eastern Europe
Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest, 5 November 2016

The establishment of communist regimes in Eastern Europe brought for the visual arts, the establishment of the “state artist” (Haraszti). Artworks were commissioned by the state, which offered extensive rewards for the artists, obliged to comply with the political and ideological rigors of the regime. As part of the research project “From the “state artist” to the artist dependent on the state: the case of the Union of Visual Artists (1950-2010) – the Bucharest branch”, this conference seeks to explore the different transformations that the artists underwent in order to comply with the extensive role assumed by the totalitarian state in the arts. We invite contributions on the broad topic announced, that of the state artist in Romania and Eastern Europe with a specific focus on visual arts, but we are also interested to discuss other instances of collaboration with the regimes in place (1950s-1990). The conference aims to discuss the state artist in the context of communist regimes from multiple points of views. The topics discussed could be, but are not limited to:

-      How was the new artist shaped by the communist regimes?
-      Were artists able to integrate Socialist Realism as a mandatory style? If not, which were the limits of this mandatory style or the national specificities?
-      Which were the types of resistance to the model of the state artist?
-      How did Socialist Realism translate in different visual practices?
-      What role did the Union of Visual Artists of Romania play? How does it compare to other unions in the East?
-      What are the transformations of the unions of artists after 1990?

Those interested in presenting a paper should send an abstract of 500 words as well as a short CV (including a short list of publications) to until the 15th of May 2016. A selection of conference presentations will be published in a volume, thus the accepted participants must send their contributions 1 month in advance (1st of October 2016). The contributions must address the topic of the state artist, and must have 8.000 words including footnotes with a separate list of references. Organizing committee: Caterina Preda, Alina Popescu, Dan Drăghia. Place: The Institute for Political Research, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest. The languages of the conferences are Romanian, English, and French.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

De la artistul de stat la artistul dependent de stat Uniunea Artistilor Plastici din Romania (1950-2010) Filiala Bucuresti//From the “state artist” to the artist dependent on the state: the Union of Visual Artists (of Romania) (1950-2010) – the Bucharest branch

The project proposes to write a monographic study of the Union of Visual Artists of Romania (UAP) in the period 1950-2010 in the absence of a landmark study of one of the most important communist and postcommunist organizations that administers, controls and represents visual artists. The period of analysis includes both the communist regime, as well as the first 20 years of the democratic regime (1950-2010) so as to be able to capture in detail the transformation it suffered as a consequence. The project advances an analysis at several levels of this organization: an institutional sociologic approach, an analysis in terms of members and leading teams (elites), a research of the legal statutes that UAP went through and the definition of the artist, the relation with the communist and democratic state through a case study – that of producer of public monuments in Bucharest. The analysis of the relation with the Romanian state will include several types of interactions between the state and the artists through the investigation of archive documents unexploited until now (UAP, CNSAS, ANR, etc.), of interviews with those that governed the UAP and through the use of the methods specific to the analysis of the interdisciplinary field of art and politics. The project will disseminate its results through an international conference, a database with the UAP members, an index of the monuments realized by the UAP in Bucharest, as well as the publication of a monograph of UAP, of a volume including the presentations at the international conference, and a volume with archive unpublished documents.

Proiectul propune crearea unei monografii a Uniunii Artiștilor Plastici din România  (în perioada 1950-2010) în absența unui studiu de referință al uneia dintre cele mai importante instituții comuniste și postcomuniste care administrează, controlează, și reprezintă artiștii plastici. Perioada aleasă pentru studiu cuprinde atât regimul comunist, cât și primii 20 de ani ai regimului democratic (1950-2010) pentru a putea surpinde în detaliu transformările suferite de aceasta. Proiectul propune o analiză la mai multe niveluri a acestei organizații: o sociologie instituțională, o analiză în termeni de membri și echipe de conducere, o cercetare a statutelor legale pe care le experimentează UAP și a definiției artistului, a relației cu statul comunist și democratic și prin intermediul unui studiu de caz – cel al executării de monumente de for public în București. Analiza relației cu statul român va include diferitele tipuri de interacțiuni dintre stat și artiști prin intermediul cercetării documentelor de arhive neexploatate până acum (UAP, CNSAS, ANR, etc.), a unor interviuri cu responsabili UAP și prin utilizrea metodelor de analiză specifice câmpului interdisciplinar de artă și politică. Proiectul va disemina rezultatele printr-o conferință internațională, o bază de date cu membrii UAP, un index al monumentelor realizate de UAP București, precum și prin publicarea unei monografii a UAP, a unui volum cu prezentările din cadrul conferinței și a unui volum cu documente inedite de arhivă.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CFP: Arts during communism

Call For Papers: Arts during communism
This panel wants to discuss different examples of how art was regarded by different communist regimes in communist countries. What kind of art do communist regimes promote? Are there any important differences between Yugoslavia and Poland for example? Do political science typologies serve to understand the types of art created or do other typologies appear? The panel welcomes proposals from all artistic endeavors: visual arts, literature, theater, music, cinema and dance. Papers can deal with a national case as well as advance comparative overviews of the topic.
Please send an abstract of 300 words and a short bio/CV highlighting your most important publications and/or conference presentations to: caterinapreda@
Deadline: 10 February 2014.
The website of the conference:
SCOPE International conference of Political Research, Department of Political Science, University of Bucharest, 27-29 June 2014 (
Caterina PREDA, Senior University Lecturer, PhD, Department of Political Science, University of Bucharest (

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Arte de memorializacion 40 anos despues del golpe de estado

I have written an article that presents the art of memorialization realized by Chilean artists in the context of the 40 years since the coup d’Etat of 11 of September 1973. Art of memorialization questions the advance of the consolidation of democracy and critiques problems that still exist as that of the disappeared. Artists use symbols to investigate what remains of the dictatorial past and we will discuss the case of the disappeared opposing it to other perspectives on the dictatorship. The anniversary of 40 years of the coup of 1973 has provoked an increased interest in the past and multiple artistic interventions were seen (in the streets, in museums, etc.) This article demonstrates how art contributes to the construction of a more inclusive memory of the Chilean dictatorship and you can read it at this here
#quererNOver, 10 September 2013, Santiago

Friday, May 31, 2013

The digital (artistic) memory of Nicolae Ceausescu

This is the title of the chapter I published as part of the volume entitled "Memory, Conflict and New Media" edited by Ellen Rutten, Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva and which came out at Routledge in May 2013. My chapter presents the varied presence of the former Romanian dictator in online spaces along with artistic interpretations of his portrait that seem to have become the obsession of Romanian contemporary artists. You can see the book here and my text scanned on my Academia page here. Below is one of the images included in my text by Adrian Ghenie. 
Adrian Ghenie, Study for Boogyman, 2010

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sub supraveghere (artistica). Relatia artistilor cu Securitatea

Am scris un articol despre dubla supraveghere din perioada comunista: cea arhicunoscuta a politiei secrete, dar si cea interprinsa in paralel de artisti. A aparut in no 1 din 2013 al revistei Studia Politica si il puteti citi aici

Ion Grigorescu, Electoral meeting, 1975

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Art and politics in postcommunist Romania: changes and continuities

I wrote an article, Art and politics in postcommunist Romania: changes and continuities  for the Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society that discusses how artists are the first ones to react to their environment and to articulate a protest. Recent Romanian contemporary art questions the way communism is remembered or forgotten and the manner in which the postcommunist society was organized. This study uses the approach of politics and the arts to analyze both institutions and artistic discourses in Romania after 1989 in order to show how an artistic space is rebuilt after a dictatorial experience. The conclusions show that artists interrogate the “reconstruction” of democratic institutions and discourses on solid communist bases.

Ciprian Murean