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East Art Map: Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe
Afterall Books, June 2006

East Art Map Online Project

"...East Art Map provides an indispensable foundation on which to build future histories of European art – ones that will hopefully fracture the geographic binary to focus more closely on specific mediums and connections and differences both within and between the European regions." – Claire Bishop

A map of European art would contain varying degrees of detail and resolution: while in the West virtually every move of the artists, the art market, and the art public is documented, in Eastern Europe, there has been no such system of documentation, until now. East Art Map: Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe is the culmination of an ambitious attempt to reconstruct the missing histories of contemporary art in Eastern Europe from an East European and artistic perspective – probably the widest ranging art documentation project ever undertaken by the East on the East, involving a large network of artists, scholars, curators and critics coordinated by IRWIN, a Slovenian artists’ collective established in 1983.

IRWIN’s main mission has been to study and redefine the status of art in Central Europe and the former Soviet block. It has realized projects of an interventional character, exploring historical and social layers of reality, such as: Kapital, NSK Embassy Moscow, Transnacionala, and East Art Map. For this latest project, launched in 1999, the artist/editors invited eminent art critics, curators, and art historians from all over the region to select and present up to ten crucial art projects produced in their respective countries since World War Two. The selectors also provided essays on key moments in the development of art within their respective countries and in the context of the whole region. One of the selectors was Poland’s leading art historian and theoretician, Piotr Piotrowski. In addition, the editors asked experts from both East and West to provide longer texts offering cross-cultural perspectives on the art of both regions. The book also includes an insert with a graphic chart showing the relationships between the phenomena it describes.

Piotr Piotrowski is one of the region’s foremost authorities on the history of art and politics in the 20th century, and on Central and East European modern art. He collaborated on the exhibition Central European Avant-Gardes: Exchange and Transformation, 1910-1930 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2002 and the book Between Worlds. A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-Gardes, 1910-1930, LACMA/ The MIT Press, 2002, as well as 2000+ ArtEast Collection at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana in 2000. Visiting professorships include those at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Prof. Piotrowski was Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Museum in Poznan, 1992-97. He is currently professor of modern art history and Chair of the Art History Department at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, and co-editor of the annual journal Artium Quaestiones.