Comradeship: Curating, Art, and Politics in Post-Socialist Europe: Panel Discussion

Comradeship: Curating, Art, and Politics in Post-Socialist Europe: Panel Discussion
Saturday, February 16, 2019

CAA Annual Conference at New York Hilton Midtown
1335 6th Ave
3rd Floor Rendezvous Trianon
New York, NY 10019

CAA Annual Conference offers a pay-as-you-wish option for a day pass to attend this panel. Suggested donation is $25.00

“Comradeship” had an ambivalent force in the twentieth century. Defined as an intimacy among equals in similar circumstances, over time it came to signal a more partisan sense of fellowship in a shared project. For the most part this new meaning signaled leftism—the word “comrade” is, even now, a Communist cliché. But not always: Nazi Germany also deployed a notion of mythologized group feeling, or Kameradschaft, as state doctrine. It is perhaps no surprise then that after the fall of socialist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the early 1990s the word was left behind in the dustbin of history. This persisted even as new forms of group structure, behavior, and belonging assumed dominance. Loosened from its Communist resonance, collectivism assumed a new currency in the art world after 2000.

Similarly, collaboration and teamwork have become standards of neoliberal workplaces, although the precarity of contemporary labor and the dispersal of the contemporary workplace often undermine the affective solidarity of working-together. Slovenian curator, writer, and museum director Zdenka Badovinac argues in this context for recovering the concept of comradeship from her own troubled and very unique local history. She discusses her vision for reclaiming the term with art historian J. Myers-Szupinska and curator Kate Fowle, exploring the implications of comradeship for contemporary art and its institutions.

This event coincides with the launch of Comradeship: Curating, Art, and Politics in Post-Socialist Europe by Zdenka Badovinac, published by ICI as part of the PERSPECTIVES IN CURATING series. Available here.

“Whip smart, politically astute, curatorially inventive:
 Zdenka Badovinac is nothing less than the most progressive and intellectually rigorous female museum director in Europe. This anthology includes key essays accompanying her series of brilliant exhibitions in Ljubljana, and is essential reading for anyone interested in the differences between former east and former west. For anyone seeking curatorial alternatives to the neoliberal museum model of relentless expansion and dumbed- down blockbusters, Badovinac is a galvanizing inspiration.”
—Claire Bishop, art historian and critic

This event is accessible to people with mobility disabilities.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

February 16, 2019

CAA Annual Conference
New York Hilton Midtown
1335 6th Ave
3rd Floor - Rendezvous Trianon
New York, NY 10019


Zdenka Badovinac

Zdenka Badovinac is a curator and art critic who has served as Director to the Moderna Galerija (Museum of Modern Art) in Ljubljana since 1993. In her work, she highlights the difficult processes of redefining history alongside different avant-garde traditions within contemporary art. Badovinac’s first exhibition to address these issues was Body and the East—From the 1960s to the Present (1998). She also initiated the first Eastern European art collection, Arteast Collection 2000+.

Kate Fowle

Kate Fowle is Director of MoMA PS1 in New York. From 2013-2019 she was the inaugural Chief Curator at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and director-at-large at Independent Curators International (ICI) in New York, where she was the Executive Director from 2009-13. Prior to this she was the international curator at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing (2007-08). In 2002 she co-founded the Master’s Program in Curatorial Practice for California College of the Arts in San Francisco, for which she was the Chair until 2007. Before moving to the United States, Fowle was co-director of Smith + Fowle in London from 1996-2002. From 1994-96 she was curator at the Towner Art Gallery and Museum in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

J. Myers-Szupinska

J. Myers-Szupinska is an art historian and editor based in Los Angeles. An influential scholar of contemporary art, space and exhibitions, Myers was founding faculty in the Curatorial Practice program at California College of the Arts, was senior editor for The Exhibitionist, a journal on exhibition making, and is part of the critical and curatorial collaboration grupa o.k. Myers’ essays have appeared in Afterall, Artforum, Fillip, Frieze, October, Tate Papers, as well as numerous exhibition catalogues. Recent publications include Hopelessness Freezes Time (2012), Sterling Ruby: Soft Work (2014), “After the Production of Space” (Critical Landscapes, 2015), and “Exhibitions as Apparatus,” (The Exhibitionist: The First Six Years, 2017). Initiated as a surprisingly popular Tumblr site in 2011, grupa o.k. has since produced projects for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland. Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, will publish grupa o.k.‘s image history of stages, titled Stagelessness, in 2019.

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