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About the event

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In the art scenes of state-socialist Eastern Europe, the topic of women’s art or feminist oeuvres is complex. Established truths reiterate the non-existence of such art practices or a feminist consciousness in those societies. In this public exchange, Zanna Gilbert and Beata Hock explore their encounters with feminist archival remnants in the archives of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Dóra Maurer. Neither artist identifies as feminist and the emerging canon of East European feminist art history does not usually mention them. What then, was the nature of these outliers’ engagement with feminism, and how did the backdrop of the state-socialist emancipation program shape this relation? How can we explore the gendered conditions of profuxtion without overdetermining a feminist framework? The conversation will explore gendered labor and the implicit biases affecting women artists and their work.

The conversation is followed by a reception from 7:30-9pm.

Zanna Gilbert is an art historian, curator and writer. She is senior research specialist at the Getty Research Institute where she co-leads several research projects, including “Expanding the Study of Performance in Women Artists’ Archives” and the pilot initiative for Latin American and Latinx Art History (LALAI). Her research focuses on transnational conceptual art, feminisms, concrete art and poetry, Xerox art, and the international mail art network, with a particular focus on Latin America. She was previously Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, where she led research on Latin America and was founding co-editor of MoMA’s online publication post. Gilbert has curated a number of exhibitions, such as Home Archives: Paulo Bruscky and Robert Rehfeldt's Mail Exchange (Chert, Berlin, 2015), and contributed a section on artistic exchange for the exhibition Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980 (MoMA, 2015). Gilbert’s texts have appeared in Art in America, Art Margins, Fillip, OEI, Arte y Parte, Caiana, Blanco Sobre Blanco, and Art in Print, as well as in numerous exhibition catalogs and books.

Beáta Hock is Senior Researcher at the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO), Leipzig. In the upcoming academic year, she’ll be acting chair of the Department of East European Art History at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her areas of research and teaching include East-Central European art and art history, feminist cultural theory, and the cultural dimensions of the global Cold War. These subjects have been addressed in Hock’s monograph Gendered Artistic Positions and Social Voices (2013) and in Doing Culture under Socialism: a thematic issue of the journal Comparativ (2014). The perspectives of global history generally inform her output on East European art history, including the co-edited volume Globalizing East European Art Histories: Past and Present (2018). Hock held visiting professorships at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (2015–16) and the University of Vienna (2021-22). She is currently project lead of the Traveling Seminar series Linking (Art) Worlds: American Art and Eastern Europe in the Cold War and Since. Beata also occasionally works as independent curator; her latest co-curated exhibition Left Performance Histories was on view in Berlin’s nGbK in 2018.

This program is in partnership with Linking ArtWorlds, with support from Getty Research Institute and Terra Foundation.