• Lecture: ART AND REALITY: SERBIAN PERSPECTIVES (Harriman Institute, New York; May 1, 2015)

    A talk by Svetlana Rakić

    Friday, May 1, 2015
    Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 IAB, 420 W 118th St.)

    Rakić will present some of the most recent trends in Serbian two-dimensional art. Selected examples testify to the diversity, vibrancy, and beauty of art produced in this troubled country during the turbulent past two decades. Having witnessed their former country, Yugoslavia, torn apart by civil war, and their ‘new’ country, Serbia, crippled by NATO bombings, political intrigues, corruption, staggering unemployment, and bleak prospects for recovery, these artists have turned to the creative potential of the human imagination to escape, confront, and comment on a situation over which they have no control. Despite the specificity of the conditions under which Serbian artists live and work, their works of art – poignant, inspiring, humorous, or despairing – touch a responsive chord in the viewer that attests to their success at achieving an expression that is both universal and human.

    Svetlana Rakić was born in Sarajevo (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) in 1958. She left her home country, Yugoslavia, in 1992 to come to the U.S. She received her M.A. in art history from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, in 1989 and her Ph.D. in art history from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1999. She teaches art and art history as a full professor at Franklin College, Indiana. Rakić is the author of two books on icons from Bosnia-Herzegovina, a book on the twentieth-century American painter Alexander Markovich, and numerous articles published in academic journals in Yugoslavia, Serbia, and the United States. Before coming to the U.S., Rakić worked as a curator at the State Art Gallery of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo and as a consultant at the Institute for Preservation of Cultural Heritage of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo. In addition to her interest in pre-modern and modern Western art, Rakić is a painter and has exhibited her works in the U.S., Germany, and Serbia.

    Sponsored by the Njegoš Endowment for Serbian Language and Culture.

  • CFP: Propose a 1.5 hour special SHERA session at CAA 2016 (Washington, DC; February 3-6, 2016)

    As an affiliate of CAA, SHERA is eligible for a 1.5-hour special session at the upcoming CAA conference, to be held February 3–6, 2016, in Washington, DC. We are looking for volunteers to chair or co-chair a SHERA-sponsored panel with a broadly-formulated theme that explicitly appeals to the full range of our members’ interests, both geographical and chronological. We are inviting proposals that address a historical period, a certain trend, or the artistic reflection on a socio-historical or formal issue of Russian and/or East European arts. Since SHERA already has a 2.5-hour session “Exploring Native Traditions in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia” chaired by Alison Hilton, we would especially welcome proposals that highlight issues other than cultural interactions between local traditions and external artistic sources, the central theme of Dr. Hilton’s panel. Please send your proposals to by May 5.
    Apart from coming up with a theme and a call for papers, the chair(s) will need to find three speakers for the 90-minute session. The deadline for submitting this information to the CAA website, including the speakers’ names and titles of their papers, is June 19, but the submitted information may be modified until September 4.
    You have to be a member of SHERA to chair a panel and present at CAA. However, you do not have to join SHERA to be considered as a chair or to submit a paper proposal. Once your proposal is accepted, you are expected to join our organization.

  • Research Opportunities: Launch of the Lissitzky Foundation

    On Thursday 30 April at 2pm CET the Lissitzky Foundation will be launched in an online presentation for the international press. The Lissitzky Foundation is a newly established international non-profit organisation to promote research and exhibitions of the work of the Russian artist El Lissitzky (1890–1941). A major function of the Foundation will be to create a catalogue raisonné of the works of Lissitzky, one of the most versatile artists of the Russian avant-garde. His oeuvre comprises drawings, paintings, graphic works and photographs, but also architectural designs, advertisements, designs for books and journals, exhibition designs and writings. Works by Lissitzky are part of many public and private collections all over the world.

    To subscribe to the online presentation please send an email to, and you will receive a link to participate.

    The presentation
    The online presentation of the Foundation on 30 April will be led by its president, Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Accompanied by members of the Board of Directors and several members of the Advisory Board, this will be the official announcement of the Foundation’s establishment, its mission, goals and current activities. Before the presentation, the website of the Foundation will be put online.

    The Foundation’s activities
    One of the first projects of the Foundation is the publication in English of a major book focusing on El Lissitzky’s Jewish period (1910–19). The book is authored by Alexander Kantsedikas, and Israel-based scholar who has published several books on the artist. The book on the Jewish period has been completed and is currently undergoing edits, outside reader commentary and design.

    Another publication coming up is the translation into Russian of the first major Western monograph on El Lissitzky published originally in German by VEB Verlag in Dresden in 1967 and authored by his widow, Sophie-Kueppers Lissitzky. The book was translated into English in 1980 and distributed by Thames and Hudson. The translation project is being overseen by Lissizky’s great-granddaughter, Valeria Lissitzkaya, who is a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board.

    There are many works attributed to Lissitzky on the market. During the years to come the Foundation will focus on creating a catalogue of works of the artist. The publication date of this catalogue is not determined yet as the experts connected to the Foundation will first start to structure and plan the publication. Preliminary work has already commenced.

    The Foundation’s setup
    The Lissitzky Foundation has a Board of Directors supported by an Advisory Board of international experts in the field of Russian avant-garde. The members act as a council to the Board of Directors in matters of research, publications and exhibitions.

    The administrative home of the Foundation is the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, which hosts the largest collection of works by Lissitzky outside Russia.

  • Special Events at the Museum of Russian Icons (Clinton, MA)

    In conjunction with the BYZANTIUM TO RUSSIA exhibition, the Museum of Russian Icons presents the following special events:

    Gallery Film in the Auditorium: THE ICON: THE PRACTICE OF THE HAND, MIND AND HEART

    Part I, Saturday, April 25, noon - 2:15PM
    Part II, Thursday, May 14, 4 - 6:15PM
    Free with admission. No pre-registation needed.

    Master Iconographer Vladislav Andrejev, founder of the Prosopon School of Iconology, demonstrates the 22 steps of the iconographic process while explaining the theological meaning behind each step. It is a wonderful introduction to the complexity and profound beauty of this sacred art form. The film can be appreciated without having to see it in its entirety, so visitors can feel free to attend just a portion of either screening.

    Mr. Andrejev will teach an intensive Icon Writing Workshop at the Museum, August 3-8, 2015.

    Presentation: HIDDEN WORLD OF THE CZARS: The Russian Empire in 3D Photographs

    Thursday, April 30, 7 - 8PM and
    Saturday, June 6, 3 - 4PM
    Members, $8; Nonmembers, $12
    $1 off with WOO card.
    Advance registration recommended at 978.598.5000 x21

    Drawing on a trove of never-before-shown historic photographs, this virtual tour of Czarist Russia spans the earliest days of photography in the 1850s to the fall of the regime in WWI. High resolution original stereophotos will be projected in three dimensions, as they were intended to be seen. This is a never-to-be-forgotten chance to see the once hidden and now vanished worlds of Russia’s storied past. Presented by Photoarchive3D, a freshly digitized archive of 30,000 historic photographic images.



    Thursday, April 30, 2015
    Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 IAB, 420 W 118th St.)
    Juliette Milbach (Visiting Scholar, Harriman Institute)

    In the 1920s, American realism, though incorporating foreign influences including European realism, distinguishes itself in the importance accorded daily life. Works of artists of the Ashcan school, led by Robert Henry, pay particular attention to urban life and echoes contemporary literature (e.g. Dos Passos’s USA trilog). After 1929, this movement takes a new turn with public commissions during the New Deal aimed at illustrating the national history for the masses. This new focus has its equivalent in Social realism as demonstrated by Boris Groys in Educating the Masses: Socialist Realist Art.

    During the 1930s in USSR, artists were asked to illustrate collectivization, and were encouraged to go to the kolkhoz. Moreover, all major exhibitions in Moscow and Leningrad had a rural section. This thematic is illustrated by such prominent painters as Arkady Plastov, Sergey Gerasimov, Mikhail Avilov, Vitold Bialynisky-Birulia, Fedor Bogorodsky. This production should be compared to U.S. works of art from the same period, for example, Mexican artists working in New York during that decade and the American regionalism of Thomas Hart Benton.

  • Exhibition: Imagined Futures: The First UK Solo Exhibition By Hrair Sarkissian (The Mosaic Rooms, London; March 13—April 26, 2015)

    The Mosaic Rooms are pleased to present the first UK solo exhibition by Hrair Sarkissian, featuring new video and previously unseen photographic work that reflect on concepts of place, conflict, and future.

    Imagined Futures showcases two projects, made seven years apart, that both deal with issues of temporality: one with a non-time, a suspended unrecognised present; the other constituting a projection from an envisioned future that threatens to rupture the present at any moment. Together these bodies of work visualise that which is out of time – histories, people and narratives that have yet to be realised, political spectres that intrude upon the present. These emotive and resonant works engage the viewer beyond the reductive reportage of immediate information media, and make seen what is unseeable, the prospects of time.

    Front Line (2007) draws on the artist’s own Armenian identity to contemplate the uneasy predicament of a people and place with an unknown political destiny. They look at a war-torn enclave between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the self-proclaimed independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. Throughout the centuries the claims over this territory have shifted, the borders been mapped and remapped, yet the repression of the region’s indigenous Armenians has persisted. Today, over a million of its Azeri and Armenian inhabitants remain displaced; last year saw some of the worst clashes for a decade, and Western powers are still trying to negotiate a long-term solution. The photographs portray both the landscape and those that fought during the 1988-1994 war. Through a sense of isolation, estrangement and haunting, the works raise questions about the price of war and the contradictions inherent within struggles for national independence.

    The new two-screen video installation Homesick (2014) depicts the artist destroying an architecturally-precise, scaled replica of his parents’ home in Damascus. More than just a house, the building represents a space where he belongs, a container for his memories, and a place for his family’s collective identity. Through Homesick Sarkissian constructs a story that, in the current political situation of mass destruction and civil war, could very well take place. He contemplates what the consequences would be? What does it mean to expect the worst? Can we fast-forward the present, acknowledge loss and begin reshaping a collapsed history, even before the event?

    Alongside the exhibition, The Mosaic Rooms launched Sarkissian’s first publication, Background. This book has been produced thanks to the support it gained from its showcase through the first Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative in partnership with Kickstarter.

    Hrair Sarkissian (b. 1973, Damascus, Syria) uses photography to re-evaluate larger historical, religious or socio-political narratives. Sarkissian has exhibited widely internationally in both group and solo shows including Tate Modern (London); New Museum (New York); Darat Al Funun (Amman); Mori Art Museum (Tokyo); SALT Beyoglu (Istanbul); Thessaloniki Biennale; Sharjah Biennial; Istanbul Biennial; Asia Pacific Triennial (Brisbane) among many others. In 2013 the artist won the Abraaj Group Art Prize. Hrair Sarkissian is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Greece.


    Wednesday, April 29, 2015
    10:00am 12:30pm

    Tickets can be purchased here.

    As part of the programme accompanying the current Pushkin House exhibition, Akhmatova. Anrep. Berlin. join art historian and Boris Anrep specialist Jane Williams for a guided visit to two of Anrep’s most famous works in London: the mosaics at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square and at Westminster Cathedral.

    We will meet at the main entrance to the National Gallery at 10am and after Jane has talked to us about the mosaics in the Portico we will walk down through St James’s Park to Westminster Cathedral (on Victoria Street) to see the Anrep mosaics in the crypt there, finishing between 12:00 and 12:30.

    Boris Anrep (1886-1969), the Russian mosaicist arrived in England during the early decades of the twentieth century. He gained an entrée into the Bloomsbury group through the artist, Henry Lamb with whom he had trained in Paris. He not only selected the Russian contribution to Roger Fry’s Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition but was also the impetus for Bloomsbury’s interest in the Byzantine. Anrep moved within an extensive circle of friends, encompassing both the artistic and the literary worlds, resulting in a duality that is observed in his works. His public commissions in London include schemes for the Tate Gallery, the National Gallery and Westminster Cathedral.

    Jane Williams is a PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of Reading. Her dissertation, ‘The Mosaic Portraits of Boris Anrep, 1913-1955’ will be submitted later this year. She teaches History of Art at Wychwood School, Oxford.

  • Exhibition: DEUTSCHE BÖRSE PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE 2015 (The Photographers Gallery, London; 17 Apr – 7 Jun 2015)

    This year’s shortlist reflects a diversity of attitudes towards the medium underpinned by an exploration into new and unexpected modes of presentation incorporating video, text, object and wall-based photographic displays.

    Nikolai Bakharev’s ambiguous images of Russian bathers on public beaches in the 80s and 90s, at a time when photographs of nudity were forbidden, play on the tension between acceptable and unacceptable imagery, public and private realms. In the work of Zanele Muholi, the personal and political are also interwoven in her tender, unflinching portraits and testimonies of the South African LGBTI community.

    South Africa further provides a location and point of political departure in the work of Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse. Their collaborative publication presents a, ‘photo/graphic’ album of images and text which uncover the history of a once elite, now abandoned high-rise apartment block in Johannesburg. Finally, Viviane Sassen’s sculptural, abstracted, darkly sensual images continue to effect the blurring of genres, which characterize her work and position her as a leading force in contemporary art photography.

    This year’s judges are Chris Boot, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation; Rineke Dijkstra, Artist; Peter Gorschlüter, Deputy Director, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst and Anne Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse.

    The winner will be announced at a special award ceremony held at The Photographers’ Gallery on 28 May 2015.

  • CONF: Papanek Symposium: Emigre Design Culture (Vienna; 27-28 May 2015)

    Exhibition Centre Heiligenkreuzer Hof, Schönlaterngasse 5, Vienna, Austria
    May 27 - 28, 2015

    Papanek Symposium 2015: Émigré Design Culture. Histories of the Social in Design

    Émigré Design Culture highlights the significance of Austrian and Central European émigré and exile designers and architects in promoting a progressive culture of debate in the USA, around the needs of society and strategies for social inclusion. This symposium is the first to address the pivotal role of émigré networks in shaping a new social agenda in design. Scholars in the fields of cultural, design and architectural history consider the critical contribution of émigrés and exiles in forming new humanistic directions in design, opening up a forum to debate its relevance for today’s global perspective.

    Curator: Dr. Elana Shapira
    Director: Prof. Dr. Alison J. Clarke
    Assistant: Bryleigh Morsink

    Kindly supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

    Public event, free of charge, registration required.


  • CFP: Art and Geopolitical Borders (Manchester; 19 November 2015)

    Manchester School of Art, November 19, 2015
    Deadline: July 1, 2015

    “Art and Geopolitical Borders: contested sovereignty and artistic practice”

    One day symposium

    In recent years there has been a growth of interest in the ways that art practice can both acknowledge and articulate the issues around geo-political borders. Borders have long functioned as a vital component of state-formation and nation building, a role that continues within the shifting politics of globalisation. Their significance is thus subject to ongoing redefinition through a dynamic between a repressive politics of containment and attempts to challenge this. Within these zones of contestation, relationships between geographies and power become both clearly visible and subject to dispute. And although this functions on one level in terms of collective experience, the effects on individuals can also be destructive and traumatic.

    Recently there has been an upsurge in art practices that visualise the tensions and contradictions arising from contemporary borders. However art can also function as a means of disruption and intervention within the established operations and normative meanings of border technologies, and as a site of reparation, where traumatic histories can be negotiated in turn. This one day symposium attempts to address these and related issues.

    Possible topics for papers include but are not limited to:

    • Mapping borders
    • Trans-border cultures
    • Gender politics and borders
    • Trauma and memory
    • The political contestation/vacillation of borders
    • Border fortification
    • Migration, bodies, and borders
    • Conflict sites around borders
    • Curatorship of border tourism and conflict tourism

    Please send an abstract by 1 July 2015 of no more than 300 words and a short biography to one of the organising panel: Fionna Barber; Simon Faulkner; Beccy Kennedy

    Selected papers from the symposium will be published in an edited collection.