Promoting Molecular Revolution in Romania

Romania has come a long way on LGBT issues. Homosexuality was illegal in the country up until 1996. Public manifestations of homosexuality were decriminalized only in 2000, and the last discriminatory law was repealed in 2002. The European Union applied considerable pressure during the accession process and so did the United States, which sent an openly Gay ambassador in 2000. But it was also the...
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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Provocateur

He started out his career by painting a tank pink. In 1991, David Cerny was an art student in Prague. For years he had walked by the Soviet tank mounted on a pedestal in Kinsky Square and fumed. The tank commemorated the Soviet liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945, and indeed the square was once known as the Square of Soviet Tank Crews. But the tank also reminded the citizens of Prague of the...
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Public, Private, and Political Art

During the Communist era, the governments in East-Central Europe tried to shoehorn art into the category of socialist realism. Artists were reconfigured as cultural workers who ideally created works to advance society in the same way that a steelworker shaped pig iron to advance skyscraper construction. The overlap was often quite direct. Many paintings and sculptures of the time depicted these...
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Both Sides Now

In the Greek myth, Tiresias one day came upon two snakes in amorous embrace. He struck the female snake with his staff. The goddess Hera was so furious at this act that she transformed Tiresias from male to female. For seven years, Tiresias lived as a woman, even giving birth to a child. Once again encountering two coupling snakes, Tiresias deployed his staff, but this time with a purpose, and...
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Curating the Curators

There is an art to curation. Curators must not only choose the works for an exhibition, which involves making aesthetic judgments about “good” and “bad” as well as what fits together according to the exhibition’s theme. Curators must also provide a context for understanding the art. They put texts on the wall that identify histories, genealogies, themes. They produce catalogs that...
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