The articles in the current issue of the proceedings come partly from the autumn conference at the Kumu Art Museum in 2012, also titled “Art and Political Reality”. Collections of the Art Museum of Estonia from the Soviet period need constant research and interpretation; the Soviet period and its ways of expression in art and culture in a wide sense are among the research priorities of the museum. An autumn conference in 2007 at Kumu was also dedicated to art during the Cold War: “Different Modernisms, Different Avant-gardes. Problems of Central and Eastern European Art after World War Two”.
The current publication contains 10 articles that continue the research on art during the Cold War period. This time, however, the focus is not on how much the ideologised culture politics influenced and shaped our art field or what the consequences of this impact were, but instead on the relations between art and the political everyday. Political reality was not just following the political norms of behaviour established by the Soviet Union, but also observing ideological counter-influencing and propaganda organised by Western countries, first of all naturally by the USA. This influence occurred in various forms, from spreading philosophical and political literature in Eastern bloc countries to promoting a way of life through cultural events, but also through, for example, trophy films. This was an extremely contradictory and multi-layered period: the clash of the two superpowers produced various cultural models, where it was difficult to make out where the borders between two Europes separated by the Iron Curtain began and how they ran, and whether the general human ideas and cultural processes were in fact beyond politics?
Editor-in-chief: Merike Kurisoo
Edited by PhD Sirje Helme
Texts by Magdalena Radomska, Simo Mikkonen, Karsten Brüggemann, Maria Zezina, Alfred Reisch, Jaak Kangilaski, Liisa Kaljula, Kädi Talvoja, Tõnis Tatar and Kai Lobjakas
Designed by Tuuli Aule (design and layout) and Mari Kaljuste (design concept)
In Estonian and English, with black-and-white illustrations
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kumu Art Museum
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