The Other Transatlantic

"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.