The Other Transatlantic
Theorizing Kinetic & Op Art in Central & Eastern Europe and Latin America

  • The Other Transatlantic

    Jesus Rafael Soto, Penetrable, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris 1969 © Andre Morain

"The Other Transatlantic" is a project in which we look at a brief, but historically significant moment in the post-war period (between 50s and 70s) when the trajectories of the Central and Eastern European art scenes on the one hand and their Latin American counterparts on the other converged in the shared enthusiasm for Kinetic and Op Art.

Indeed, right around the time when the axis connecting the established power centers of Paris, London, and New York became increasingly dominated by a succession of ideological monocultures - starting with the entwined master concepts of gesture and expression, Pop, minimalism and the broad consensus of conceptualism - another web of axes was being spun linking the hubs of Warsaw, Budapest, Zagreb, Buenos Aires, Caracas and Sao Paulo. These artistic practices were dedicated to what appeared to be an entirely different set of aesthetic concerns: philosophies of art and culture dominated by notions of progress and science, the machine and engineering, construction and perception. In short, a new subjectivity engendered by a new objectivity.

The research’s central art-historical argument is a speculative one, proposing a hypothetical answer, couched in the broad terms of socio-political history, cultural theory and philosophy. This basic question can be posed in the following terms: What exactly led artists in such divergent cultural contexts as 1960s Venezuela and 1960s Yugoslavia to rally around an aesthetic paradigm that was so hurriedly written out of the 20th-century art-historical canon in the power centers of the Northern Atlantic? 

Part social art history, part political conjecture, part institutional critique and meta-historiography, "The Other Transatlantic" seeks to honor the materialist-objectivist impulses and spectator-centric politics of classical Kinetic & Op Art, and will therefore frequently depart from a close viewing of the artworks as well as the life stories of the artists under discussion.


Conference Schedule


Friday October 21, 2016


16:00 -16:20 - Welcoming Remarks

Joanna Mytkowska, Director Museum of Modern Art Warsaw
Marta Dziewanska, Curator of Research Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw

16:20 - 17:00 - Introduction or An Invitation to Hypothesize

Abigail Winograd, Independent Curator and Curatorial Fellow Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem
Dieter Roelstraete, Curator Documenta 14

17:00-19:30 - Keynote Addresses

17:00-18:00 - "Modern synchronies and anachronisms in Latin America", Ariel Jiménez, Independent Curator, Caracas
18:00-19:00 - "Lumino-Kinetic Arrangement of the Space or the Art of L&M", Andrzej Turowski, Profesor of Art History, University of Burgundy, Dijon
19:00-19:30 - Q&A

Saturday October 22, 2016


10:30-13:00 - The Political Context (chaired by Dieter Roelstraete)

10:30-11:10 - "Cuban Concrete Art and its Latin American Connection", Osbel Suárez, Independent Curator, Madrid
11:10-11:50 - "Biennial of Spatial Forms in Elbląg (1965-1973) as a Social Experiment", Anna Maria Leśniewska, IS PAN, Warsaw
11:50-12:30 - "DVIZHENIE [Movement] Group: Echoes of Avant-Garde. Controversial History of Kinetic Art in the Soviet Union", Sasha Obukhova, Head of the Research Department of Garage, Moscow
12:30-13:00 - Q&A

13:00-14:00 - Lunch Break

14:00-16:30 - Technology and the Collective Imagination (chaired by Daniel Muzyczuk)

14:00-14:40 - "The Constructive Connection and Peripheral Modernity in former Yugoslavia and Latin America", Armin Medosch, Artist, Writer, and Curator, Vienna
14:40-15:20 - "The Resurgence of Science Fiction in Latin America in the Space Race/Atomic Age", Rachel Haywood Ferreira, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Culture at Iowa State University, US
15:20-16:00 - "The Sigma Experience", Attila Tordai-S., Independent Curator and Writer, Cluj
16:00-16:30 - Q&A

16:30-17:00 - Coffee Break

17:00 -19:30 - Theoretical Frameworks and the Role of Diaspora (chaired by Abigail Winograd)

17:00-17:40 - "Kinetic Art and Latin America: Some international circuits and dialogues", Daniel Garza Usabiaga, Curator and Researcher, Artistic Director of Zona Maco, the contemporary art fair in Mexico City
17:40-18:20 - "Op and Kinetic Art in Poland circa 1965: An Exercise in Belonging", Magdalena Moskalewicz, Art Historian, Curator, School of
the Art Intitute of Chicago, US
18:20-19:00 - "Nonobjects and Quasi-objects: Notes on a Research Agenda at the Edge of Modernity", Monica Amor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, & Critical Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art, US
19:00-19:30 - Q&A

19:30-20:15 - Conclusions

Monica Amor

is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the author of 'Theories of the Nonobject: Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela 1944-1969'  published by The University of California Press. She has written art criticism and essays for Art. Margins, Artforum, Art Journal, Art Nexus, Grey Room, October, Poliester, Third Text, and Trans. Her curatorial projects include: "Beyond the Document" for the Reina Sofia in Madrid (2000), "re-drawing the line" for Art in General in New York (2000), "Gego Defying Structures" for the Serralves Foundation in Porto (2006) and "Mexico: Expected/Unexpected" for Le Maison Rouge in Paris (2008).

Marta Dziewańska

is curator of research and public program at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the Polish Academy of Sciences, also in Warsaw. Curated and co-curated several exhibition projects: “Andrzej Wróblewski: Recto/Verso” (with Eric de Chassey, MoMA Warsaw and Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, 2015/2016), “Maria Bartuszova. Provisional Forms” (MoMA Warsaw, 2015) and others. Editor of “Maria Bartuszova: Provisional Forms” (2015), "Ion Grigorescu. In the Body of the Victim" (2010), co-editor, with Eric de Chassey, of “Andrzej Wróblewski. Recto/Verso” (2015), with Ekaterina Degot and Ilya Budraitskis, of “Post-Post Soviet? Art, Politics & Society in Russia at the Turn of the Decade” (2013) and with Claire Bishop, of "1968-1989. Political Upheaval and Artistic Change" (2009). Her writings have appeared in exhibition catalogues as well as art magazines

Rachel Haywood Ferreira

is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Iowa State University. Her research focuses primarily on early and Golden Age Latin American and comparative science fiction. She is the author of "The Emergence of Latin American Science Fiction" (Wesleyan University Press, 2011); her current book project is provisionally titled "Latin American Science Fiction in the Space Age". She is a co-editor of the book series Studies in Global Science Fiction for Palgrave Macmillan and of the journal Extrapolation, an Associate Editor of Alambique: Revista Académica de Ciencia-Ficción y Fantasía / Jornal Académico de Ficção Científica e Fantasia, and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Science Fiction Studies, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and Zanzalá - Revista Brasileira de Estudos de Ficção Científica; she is subeditor for Latin American and Iberian science fiction for The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

Ariel Jiménez

is a historian and independent curator of modern and contemporary art. He studied art history and archeology at the Sorbonne in Paris, and has curated numerous exhibitions and lectured in both public and private institutions throughout the Americas. He was Chief Curator of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) for fifteen years (1997–2011), Director and Chief Curator of the Museo de Arte Moderno Jesús Soto in Ciudad Bolívar (2004-2006), Director of the Sala Mendoza in Caracas (1989-1997), Assistant Researcher for the Art Department of the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Avanzados (IDEA) in Caracas (1986-1989) and Director of the Department of Education and Audiovisual Media at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Caracas (1984-1986). He has published extensively about Venezuelan and Latin American art, including "La primacía del color" (Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores, 1992); "He vivido por los ojos. Correspondencia Alejandro Otero/Alfredo Boulton 1946– 1974" (Caracas: Fundación Alberto Vollmer and Fundación Museo Alejandro Otero, 2001); "Conversaciones con Jesús Soto" (Caracas: Fundación Cisneros, 2001); "Soto" (Caracas: Fundación Jesús Soto and Fundación Banco de Venezuela, 2007); "Alfredo Boulton and his Contemporaries: Critical Dialogues in Venezuelan Art 1912-1974" (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2008); "Carlos Cruz-Diez in conversation with/en conversación con Ariel Jiménez" (New York: Fundación Cisneros, 2010); "Jesús Soto in conversation with/en conversación con Ariel Jiménez" (New York: Fundación Cisneros, 2011); "Ferreira Gullar in conversation with/en conversación con Ariel Jiménez" (New York: Fundación Cisneros, 2012), "Roberto Obregón en tres tiempos" (Caracas: Colección C&FE, 2013); "Waltercio Caldas in conversation with/en conversación con Ariel Jiménez" (New York: Fundación Cisneros, 2016) and "Dolor Cifrado/Roberto Obregón o una estética de los inconmensurables" (Caracas: Fundación Seguros Venezuela. To be published in 2017).

Armin Medosch

PhD, is a Vienna based artist, curator and scholar working in art and media theory. He is initiator of the Technopolitics working group in Vienna, co-curator of the Fields exhibition, together with RIXC in Riga, 2014, and initiator and maintainer of the cooperative web-space His book under the title “New Tendencies - Art at the Threshold of the Information Revolution” came out at MIT Press in June 2016.

Magdalena Moskalewicz

is an art historian, curator and editor specializing in 20th and 21st century art from Central and Eastern Europe. Awarded a PhD in art history from Adam Mickiewicz University for her research into the Polish art of the 1960s, Moskalewicz has lectured and published internationally on abstract painting, assemblage, and conceptual art as well as more contemporary practices (most recently for "Central European Handbook of Political Concepts", Routledge, 2017). In 2015-2015, she was Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she led a research group focusing on 20th-century experimental art from Central and Eastern Europe as a part of the Museum’s global initiative, C-MAP. She was also the founding co-editor of MoMA’s digital publication, "post: notes on modern and contemporary art around the globe". In her scholarly, editorial, and curatorial work, Moskalewicz critically investigates local art histories and representations of national identities in order to reshape and revise dominant historical narratives. To that end, she curated "Halka/Haiti 18°48’05″N 72°23’01″W" C.T. Jasper and Joanna Malinowska for the Polish Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and edited a book under the same title. Her recent curatorial project "The Travellers: Voyage and Migration in New Art from Central and Eastern Europe" was presented at Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw in the summer 2016. Moskalewicz taught art history at Adam Mickiewicz Universty in Poznań, New York University, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and is currently based in Chicago, where she teaches at The School of The Art Institute.

Daniel Muzyczuk

Daniel Muzyczuk is the Head of Modern Art Department at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. Curator of the numerous projects, among others: Gone to Croatan (with Robert Rumas), MORE IS MORE (with Agnieszka Pindera and Joanna Zielińska), Melancholy of resistance (with Agnieszka Pindera), Views 2011, Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1957–1984 (with David Crowley), Notes from the Underground: Eastern European Alternative Art and Music Scene 1968–1994 (with David Crowley) and Museum of Rhythm (with Natasha Ginwala). Co-curator of the Polish Pavillion for the 55th Venice Biennale (with Agnieszka Pindera). He is the winner (together with Agnieszka Pindera) of the Igor Zabel Competition in 2011. Vice-president of AICA Poland.

Sasha Obukhova  

art historian, curator of archive, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. 1992 graduated from Moscow State University. 1993 studied in Central European University in Prague. During 1990-2000’s worked in ICA Moscow, State Tretyakov Gallery, National Centre for Contemporary Art, Art Project Foundation. Member of expert council of Kandinsky Prize. Winner of Kuryokhin Prize in 2014.

Dieter Roelstraete

is currently a member of the curatorial team convened by artistic director Adam Szymczyk to organize Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel in 2017. From 2012 until 2015 he was the Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where he organized Goshka Macuga: Exhibit, A (2012); The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology (2013); Simon Starling: Metamorphology (2014); The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music 1965 to Now (2015, co-curated with Naomi Beckwith); and Kerry James Marshall: Mastry (2016, co-curated with Ian Alteveer and Helen Molesworth). From 2003 until 2011 he was a curator at the Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art (MuHKA), where he organized large-scale group exhibitions as well as monographic shows, including Emotion Pictures (2005); Intertidal, a survey show of contemporary art from Vancouver (2005); The Order of Things (2008); Liam Gillick and Lawrence Weiner-A Syntax of Dependency (2011); A Rua: The Spirit of Rio de Janeiro (2011); Chantal Akerman: Too Close, Too Far (2012) and the collaborative projects Academy: Learning from Art (2006), The Projection Project (2006), and Kerry James Marshall: Paintings and Other Stuff (2013). In 2005, Roelstraete co-curated Honoré d’O: The Quest in the Belgian pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale. He has also organized solo exhibitions of work by Roy Arden (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2007) and Steven Shearer (De Appel, Amsterdam, 2007), as well as group shows in galleries and institutions in Belgium, Germany and Mexico. From 2007 until 2011 he taught at De Appel’s curatorial training program in Amsterdam and at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. He is currently a member of the Thought Council, a curatorial brain trust for the Fondazione Prada in Milan and Venice. A former editor of Afterall and cofounder of the journal FR David, Roelstraete has published extensively on contemporary art and related philosophical issues in numerous catalogues and journals including Artforum, Art Review, e-flux journal, Frieze, Metropolis M, Monopol, Mousse Magazine, Parkett, and Texte zur Kunst.

Osbel Suárez

BFA in Art History from the University of Havana. Lives and works in Madrid. From 1999 to 2008, he served as curator and exhibitions coordinator at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Among the exhibitions he has curated, special mention may be made of La pasión por el libro (MNCARS and Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, 2002), Jesse Fernández’ retrospective (MNCARS, 2003), Lo[s] cinético[s](MNCARS, 2007 and Tomie Ohtake Institute, 2008). The latter show, which won the Critics’ Award granted by the Sao Paulo Association of Art Critics, explored the kinetic art movement from a trans-historical perspective and vindicated the contributions of Latin America to the kinetic discourse. In 2009, Suárez curated for the Museu d`Art Espanyol Contemporany the exhibition Cruz-Diez. El color sucede and in 2011, he inaugurated at the Juan March Foundation América Fría. La abstracción geométrica en Latinoamérica (1934-1973.) In 2012, a significant part of the CIFO Collection was presented, under his curatorship, at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana. He has curated and written the prologues for exhibitions by Julio le Parc, Ana Mercedes Hoyos, Alberto Fabra, Antonio Asís, Francisco Sobrino, Leo Matiz, and Carmen Calvo, among others. He has been a member of the staff of the Master of Museology courses at the University of Granada, and has delivered courses and lectures in museums, universities and foundations in Europe, the United States and Latin America, where he is also an advisor for important collections.

Attila Tordai-S.

lives and works in Cluj, Romania. He studied visual arts at “Ioan Andreescu” Art Academy in Cluj. In the period 1999-2007 he run Studio Protokoll. Between 2001-2003 he was the editor of Balkon (Cluj) Contemporary Art Magazine, and editor of IDEA arts society magazine (2003-2007). In 2010 he initiated Protokoll Project Association/SPAC (People’s School for Contemporary Art). He is co-founder and co-director of Association, being responsible with the program of Cluj.

Andrzej Turowski

one of the most outstanding art historians in Poland. He specializes in modern art history, with a special focus on Polish and Russian constructivism. Between 1964 and 1984 he taught at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. After moving to France, he was an invité professor at the Ecole d’Architecture de La Villette in Paris (1984), then at the Université Clermont-Ferrand II (since 1985), after which he went on to become full professor at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, where he was head of the Centre de Recherche Comparative sur les Avant-gardes until 2000. He wrote over 300 dissertations and texts on art criticism, as well as numerous books, especially: "Konstruktywizm polski" (1981), "Wielka utopia awangardy" (1990); "Budowniczowie świata: z dziejów radykalnego modernizmu w sztuce polskiej" (2000); "Malewicz w Warszawie" (2002). He was the curator of many exhibitions, including "L’Europa dei razionalisti" (Mediolan-Como 1989), "Fin des temps! L’histoire n’est plus" (Toulon 2004), "Jerzy Kujawski" (Poznań-Warsaw 2005-2006), "Pomnikoterapia Krzysztofa Wodiczki" (Warsaw 2006) "Supremus Malewicza" (Warsaw 2007), "Svegliato e sogna" (Venice 2009). "Powtórka z teorii widzenia" (Warsaw 2010) and "Particolare" (Venice 2011). Together with Ryszard Stanisławski he prepared a revolutionary exhibition titled "Europa, Europa" (Bonn 1994) that presented the achievements of Eastern European avant-garde. He received the Nowosielscy Foundation Artistic Award (2001). He holds the title of doctor honoris causa of the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. In 2013, at the request of the Collegium Artium, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis.

Daniel Garza Usabiaga

got his Ph.D. in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex (UK) and did Postdoctoral Studies at the Institute of Aesthetic Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He is the author of Mathias Georitz and Emotional Architecture. A Critical Review (1952-1968) Mexico City: Vanilla Planifolia, 2011. He was curator in the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City and Chief curator at the Museo Universitario del Chopo. He teaches at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Etching "La Esmeralda". Currently he is an independent curator and academic as well as Artistic Director of Zona Maco, the contemporary art fair in Mx City.

Abigail Winograd

is currently a Curatorial Fellow at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, an independent curator, and writer. She earned a PhD in art history, at the University of Texas at Austin. Abigail is a former Research Associate at the MCA Chicago where she was also the Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow. She also served as a graduate curatorial fellow at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. and Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. Abigail has additional degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Northwestern University. She is the recipient of several fellowships, has contributed to several museum catalogues, published academic articles, presented papers in the US, Europe, and South America, and contributed to publications such as Bomb, Frieze, and Art Forum.

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