the first thing I would like to mention is the publication of a book - catalog for an exhibition I couldn't get to and regret it enormously. It is called "Cel ce se pedepseste singur" (the one that punishes himself) and accompanies the travelling exhibition with the same name that recollects the works of 3 Romanian artists of the 1980s/19990s: Ion Grigorescu, Florin Mitroi and Stefan Bertalan. The first one is in my opinion the most interesting case as he developed an aesthetic of marginality and criticized without saying so the communist power. But most importantly he also engaged in a relationship with the communist power. Analysing his or other important Romanian artist work of those decades (especially the 80s) without taking this into account seems to me a failed attempt at understanding. Placing this artist as well as others in a logic of for or against/ pro or resistance is a false dichotomy for the Romanian case. Comprising the way their relationship with power articulated together with or despite their "private art" is a must. At the launching of the album the terms lacked this coordinate...
the second thing I would like to signal is the exhibition I would love to see and hopefully will! It is held in Stuttgart at the Württembergischer Kunstverein and it is called "Subversive practices" . It encompasses besides works from Romania (including art by Grigorescu), works from other dictatorships: Chile, Argentina and Brazil but also Russia, Spain, Hungary and GDR. It poses the question of artistic subversion by an appeal to artistic means in the sense that "it is only aesthetically that art is political" that is oh so true under dictatorial regimes. Hopefully I shall be going there and will write more after seeing the works.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
for some years in Bucharest there has been a night of museums when every citizen can visit the museums of his town for free. I went again this year (after having missed one year) to 3 museums. At the first one, the museum of national art (MNAR) the exposition we wanted to see (photos done by Magritte) was not open for the nocturne public. The second museum, the Museum of Bucharest was impossible to see as a crowd (literally) had entered the premises and suffocated there. Summer has come to stay in our beautiful city and the air was missing in the Sutu Palace. The third and last attempt to see some "free art" was at the oh so controversy ridden Museum of contemporary art hosted by the House of the People. There we stood for almost 1h and a half in a line waiting to get in. Staying in line for an art exhibition beats any line. right? well not in practice. The question that came to my mind after this triple attempt to enjoy a night at the museums and saw so very different people entering these spaces as they enter stadiums with no reverence what so ever was: is democratization of art such a good thing? Knowing how museums were exactly imagined as places meant to open up a closed space to the grand public, to the people, posing this question might appear strange. I wonder if confronting art can have the effects one expects when opening the doors of art to the grand public. My conclusion that hot Saturday night was negative.