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“New Histories of Modern Art: The East European Avant Gardes”, CEERES Conference, February 4-6

Mark your calendars for CEERES’ upcoming conference, “New Histories of Modern Art: The East European Avant Gardes” to be held February 4-6 at The Franke Institute for the Humanities at the Regenstein Library (1100 E. 57th Street).

The keynote address, “Another History of Modern Art,” will be delivered by Steven Mansbach (University of Maryland) on Thursday, February 4 following the opening remarks, 5pm-7pm.

From the conference website (

In light of recent scholarship and new critical methodologies that have invigorated the study of modern and contemporary art from Eastern Europe, the organizers think it timely to reconsider both the classical avant-garde period and the subsequent neo-avant-gardes. Rather than rehearse scholarship from the 1970s through the 1990s that first addressed the interwar period in Eastern Europe, it is important to question the historiographical assumptions (and the scholarship based on them) in light both of the second avant-gardes from the post-1989 era and of the emergent approaches of visual studies that have reconfigured the practice of art history in the museum and the university. Thus we are organizing this symposium to highlight new perspectives and stimulate lively debate. Toward this objective, the program accommodates both informal discussion and a formal set of presentations. The topics suggested and those invited to address them are intended to prompt new thinking and promote vibrant exchange rather than to shore up established positions or consolidate accepted views. Bringing together younger and senior scholars and museum and academic professionals, as well as art and architectural historians from Europe and the United States, to address the varied avant-gardes in and from Eastern Europe will afford a breadth of viewpoints and an exchange of perspectives that can lead to genuinely new histories of modern art.

The conference will be organized in four sessions with adequate time for discussion in each. On the first day, both the morning and afternoon sessions will treat the general theme of “New States, New Realities, New Art” by looking at Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, the Western Balkans, and the Baltic States. A broad range of visual media will be covered, including architecture and planning, painting, sculpture, photography, the graphic arts, and visual poetry. The second day begins with a session devoted to “New Avant-Gardes, New Modernisms, New Arts?”, which will treat the neo-avant-gardes that emerged in the wake (or in anticipation) of the political events ca. 1989-91 in Southeastern Europe, Poland, and Russia. Many of these developments reprised, adapted, or explicitly rejected the styles, ideologies, and social implications of the earlier avant-garde movements from various regions in Central and Eastern Europe. The afternoon session will be devoted to a round-table discussion that will range over and attempt to rethink the entire history of the twentieth-century avant-gardes from the region as a whole.

*All sessions are free and open to the public, and will be held at The Franke Institute for the Humanities at the Regenstein Library; 1100 E. 57th St.; Chicago, IL

The agenda can be found here:

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Avant-Gardes exhibit in Regenstein Library

CEERES is grateful to June Farris, the Regenstein Library’s Bibliographer for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, for mounting “The Historical and New Avant-Gardes of Eastern Europe: Bookends of the 20th Century” exhibit to go along with our upcoming symposium, “New Histories of Modern Art: the East European Avant-Gardes,” which will take place at the Franke Institute from February 4-6, 2010.

Here is an excerpt from Farris’s introduction to the exhibit:

“The political and cultural turmoil of the 20th century’s first decades is mirrored in that of its last. The historical avant-garde, from its myriad definitions and “isms”—Dadaism, Cubism, Futurism, Expressionism, Constructivism, Surrealism–to its diverse manifestations in art and culture, as well as its legacy in modernism and post-modernism, has yielded limitless interpretations by the artists and architects, writers and poets, dramatists and filmmakers who have created its works. It has also provided equally infinite topics for discussion and debate among the critics and historians who have attempted to interpret and contextualize its concepts and legacies. Within the vastness of this literature, the discussion of East European avant-gardes in particular is a relatively new, but a quickly growing area of interest.”

The exhibit will run through March 2010.

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CEERES Fall Reception, October 13

You are cordially invited to attend the Fall Reception of the University of
Chicago’s Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES).
Please join us in welcoming newcomers to the CEERES fold and in greeting
familiar faces and their tales of summer adventures both near and far.

Tuesday, October 13th
4pm – 6pm
Judd Hall 319-323
5835 South Kimbark Avenue
(Just east of the Booth School of Business)

Refreshments will be provided.
A  DJ set of Macedonian shlageri will set the mood.

The Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies is the University’s
federally funded National Resource Center focused on our eponymous world
regions.  Throughout the year we organize a variety of public events, lectures,
conferences and outreach activities that forward scholarly exchange and
education about East Europe, Russia, and Central Asia.  The 2009-2010
academic year promises once again to be an active one.  In addition to our
continued collaboration with departments in the Social Sciences and the
Humanities, we also look forward to building new relationships with our
professional schools.

Please visit our website ( and subscribe to our listserv
( for regular updates on CEERES events and

Posted in: CEERES Events/News

Welcome to CEERES e-Bulletin Online!

Friends and affiliates of the University of Chicago’s Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES) have been receiving our weekly e-Bulletin for years and have relied on it as a source for information from around the region. Now the e-Bulletin will be available to users online, so that the same information can be acquired from any web browser or reader, anytime, anywhere. You need not even be a member of our listserve (much as we’d like you to join).

Posted in: CEERES Events/News