New Museum Presents Ostalgia Exhibition About Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Republics

Multi-floor exhibition on view from July 14–September 25, 2011

On July 14th, the New Museum will present “Ostalgia,” an exhibition that brings together the work of fifty-six artists from twenty countries in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Republics, and parts of Western Europe. The exhibition takes its title from the German word ostalgie, a term that emerged in the 1990s to describe a sense of longing and nostalgia for the era before the collapse of the Communist Bloc. Twenty years ago, a process of dissolution began, leading to the break-up of the Soviet Union. From the Baltic republics to the Balkans, from Central Europe to Central Asia, entire regions and nations were reconfigured, their constitutions rewritten, their borders redrawn. Combining seminal figures and emerging artists, “Ostalgia” looks at the art produced in and about some of these countries. Mixing private confessions and collective traumas, the exhibition traces how individuals and entire societies must negotiate new relationships to history, geography, and ideology after the fall of the Soviet Bloc.

Some of the works in “Ostalgia” offer personal reportages on aspects of life under Communism and in the new post-Soviet countries. Composed as a visual archive, “Ostalgia” pays particular attention to the unique place that artists came to occupy in Socialist countries, acting simultaneously as outcasts, visionaries, and witnesses. Contesting the format of a conventional geographical survey, the exhibition includes works produced by Western European artists who have depicted the reality and myth of the East. “Ostalgia” does not make a case for a unified history of art in the former Eastern Bloc: instead, it illuminates similar atmospheres and sensibilities across nations and also points to dramatic differences—”Ostalgia” is more concerned with a state of mind than a specific place in time.

“Ostalgia” is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions, with Jarrett Gregory, Assistant Curator, and will be on view at the New Museum from July 14 through September 25, 2011, occupying the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors, and parts of the lobby. For a full artist list visit here.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring contributions by Ekaterina Degot, Massimiliano Gioni, Boris Groys, Viktor Misiano, Joanna Mytkowska, and Bojana Pejić as well as texts by a selection of the exhibiting artists.

Exhibition Support
Lead Producer: V-A-C, VICTORIA—the Art of Being Contemporary Foundation.

Additional support provided by Lietta and Dakis Joannou, and the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund. Artist travel is made possible, in part, by the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Support for Paulina Ołowska’s work is made possible by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York. Support for the accompanying publication is made possible by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

About the New Museum
The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum was conceived as a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding, dedicated building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of ongoing experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas.

Image: Julius Koller, “U.F.O.-NAUT J.K. a (U.F.O.),” 1987. Gelatin silver print, 9 3/8 x 7 inches. Courtesy gb agency, Paris.

New Museum
235 Bowery
New York, NY

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