In this 5 Questions interview, art historian April Eisman looks at art produced in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from the context of multiple canons. Invoking the late Polish art historian Piotr Piotrowski, Eisman draws our attention to economic and political factors that made the Western canon dominant in twentieth century art history. While there is still much to be done in researching the art of the GDR, some topics include more monographic studies of artists, comparative studies looking eastward to countries like Poland, Hungary as well as in Asia, especially Vietnam and China, and interdisciplinary studies on the impacts of unification on artists still working in now former East German cities.
Curator Anna Bitkina addresses the expanding role of the curator and art, specifically in Russia, where public space continues to be politically charged.
Art historian Anthony Gardner reminds us to think of art historical categories as broad and flexible, and identifies exhibition histories in the former Yugoslavia, as a rich area of interest.
Eda Čufer, art historian and member of the art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), sheds light on the challenges in negotiating between canonical art histories and local specificities in Eastern Europe, specifically in the countries of former Yugoslavia.