New York

Victor Alimpiev, My Breath, 2007, still from a two-channel color video, 5 minutes 27 seconds.

Victor Alimpiev, My Breath, 2007, still from a two-channel color video, 5 minutes 27 seconds.

New York

“Ostalgia”

New Museum
235 Bowery
July 14–September 25, 2011

Curated by Massimiliano Gioni

For the Western art world, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics often serve as a phantasmagoric other—a melancholic dreamscape in which dilapidated apartment blocks become vessels for wistful myths about the collapse of utopian ideology. With “Ostalgia,” curator Massimiliano Gioni doesn’t claim to dismantle such affective resonances, but rather lends them greater sophistication and depth, distilling a variety of related “sensibilities” and “atmospheres” in works by more than fifty artists from the Baltics to the Balkans (and a small selection from Western Europe) made between the 1970s and today. With a focus on “outcasts, visionaries, and witnesses”—and a transnational, cross-generational, nonchronological approach—“Ostalgia” risks affirming reductive understandings of this vast, complex region, especially since resolutely unromantic art-historical readings of many of its disparate geographies have only just begun to circulate. The catalogue essays, by such figures as Ekaterina Degot, Boris Groys, and others, will therefore be key in the show’s explication of a “state of mind.”