Kristóf Nagy: Debates over the Tendencies Exhibition Series (1980–81)

October 29th, 2020

ARTMARGINS online journal has recently published an article “Whose Land, Their Art? Debates over the Tendencies Exhibition Series (1980–81)” by Nep4Dissent member Kristóf Nagy.

The introductory paragraph of the article states: “While at first glance the Artists’ Unions seem to be fossils of Eastern Europe’s state-socialist past, in fact they are still living with us, in several ways. First of all, they persist in the dream of a political utopia: after the short belle époque of welfare states, the current precarization of the cultural sector—especially affected by the COVID-19 crisis—provokes debates on the possibility of cultural workers’ unionization even in Eastern Europe. Secondly, while new institutions emerged after the political transition of 1989, the Artists’ Unions did not completely lose their importance as integrators of cultural producers, or as interfaces between those producers and the state. Even more importantly, new institutions, such as the Hungarian Academy of Arts, established in 2011, often follow the centralizing and institutionalizing model of the socialist Artists’ Unions.”

Read the full article here.

Kristóf Nagy is a PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology of the Central European University (CEU). His doctoral project examines the configurations of state infrastructures of professional culture in Hungary in the context of state formation and hegemony forging with an additional interest in the interrelations of culture and the commons. He holds an MA in Sociology and another in History of Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art, and he is affiliated with the Artpool Art Research Center in Budapest. He has published his works in Hungarian, English, German and Spanish, such as the chapter “Rabinec Studio: The Commodification of Art in Late Socialist Hungary” in the volume Contemporary Art and Capitalist Modernization. A Transregional Perspective (Routledge, 2020). His most recent exhibition project was “Left Turn, Right Turn – Artistic and Political Radicalism under Late Socialism” at the Blinken OSA Archives of Budapest in the autumn of 2019.


Acknowledgements: In 2020 Kristóf Nagy is a recipient of the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities’ Ernő Kállai fellowship for art historians and art critics.

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