Part of the Project “Hot Art, Cold War: Three Eastern European Workshops” ArtSay. The Oral Reception of American Art in Eastern Europe from 1960 Onwards is a symposium on the alternative reception of American art and visual culture in the mainly (ex) communist, East European Countries, held at MARe/Museum of Recent Art Bucharest, on May 18, 2023.  Alternative reception means otherwise than the official, published reception of American art exhibitions either shown in the respective countries or reported to be shown in Europe or elsewhere. The official publications of the time, the specialized art and art history reviews as well as the newspapers and magazines from Eastern Europe usually followed the line of the communist ideology. They were either openly censored or subtly self-censored.  On the contrary, the unpublished reception under scrutiny during the symposium ranges from (artists’, but not only) diary entries, passages in private correspondence, recorded memories, gossip and at


Symposium Intro: 10.00 – 10.40  Andrea Pető , professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University, Vienna Austria, Doctor of Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Challenges of Doing Oral History Interviews about Difficult Pasts Oral history is often seen both as a political and as a scientific promise. Collecting stories about the past that we would otherwise would not be known also has a political impact. Meanwhile these stories help to combat the recent populist challenge to history writing as the stories collected in this way changes the ways we look at and write about the past. Oral history, the meaning-making process of the past, and visuality have a complex relationship. Not only because of how the human brain works with scenic memory seeing a picture and describing it, but with what language this picture is believed to be seen is described in testimonies. The paper explores how scholarship developed fro

Ion Grigorescu. ”American art has left so many tracks, acknowledged or not.”

  Ion Grigorescu, b. 1945, artist American art picked a moment for itself when the soul of the Romanian artist was open towards the scene of the Greats, was bolstered by the Party's granting freedom of form, and had the "freedom" afforded by the lack of "stars" in socialist Romania.  I don't remember and can't see why I'd prefer precise data to fictional data; for example, in 1968, an exhibition of British painting left a strong impression on me so I got a 5 mark in school, I was in fifth grade, on the verge of failing, and loved pre-raphaelism. Only for a year. 1969 saw American art and the American president come to Romania. I can't remember the artists either, but I can still picture some of them: Warhol and his pop cans (and Jasper Jones's Ballantines ), Lichtenstein's raster, Rauschenberg and his photographs on canvas. My "monumental art" classmates found a technique that proliferated throughout the school: we put gas all

Adrian Genie. Meeting Frank Stella

Interview with  Adrian Ghenie b. 1977, Romanian artist Berlin, May 1st 2023 Frank Stella , Black Paintings   Mihai Pop: What year did that story with Frank Stella take place? Adrian Ghenie: I went to his exhibition in London, he had a big show on at the Haunch of Venison gallery sometime in 2011 after I'd moved away from London and Haunch was still in the Royal Academy of Arts space; Ben Tufnell introduced me: "Come to the opening and come meet Frank Stella at dinner afterwards!". MP: And how did the meeting go? AG: I introduced myself, "Hello, good to meet you, you know, I first saw your work in a trash bin at School no. 5 in Baia Mare." He started laughing, "What?!". MP: What was the old man like? AG: Likable, like someone out of Seinfeld , like a taxi driver. He pulled up a chair next to me and said "Please tell me the story!". And I told him how I was leaving school one

Neculai Păduraru. ”I don't think American art had any major influence over Romanian visual art.”

  Neculai Păduraru, b. 1946, artist 1. What American art exhibitions did you see between 1965 and 1989? I was too young to claim to be influenced by American art. Even now, I can't say what part of universal culture stimulated me. I can say I have my reservations when it comes to influences. I can state that I've been influenced by all the great values of the world.  2. Between 1965 and 1989, did you see American art in Romania or abroad? I was twenty at the time and didn't know any American artists at all. 3. Which American artists and what American approaches/trends/styles interested you at the time? I don't think American art influenced Romanian artists a great deal. European art had a much greater influence over Romanian artists.  4. What position did American art and visual culture have in the artistic milieu you frequented at the time; was it a topic of conversation, was it influential? Please compare it with the influence of European art or art from communist spa

Nicolae Maniu. ”My painting and sculpture did not intersect the American artistic trends you are researching.”

  Nicolae Maniu, b. 1944, artist I've read the questionnaire you sent me multiple times over very carefully. My painting and sculpture did not intersect the American artistic trends you are researching, as you can tell from the media resources on the internet. Thank you nevertheless for the attention you've shown me and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.

Ana-Maria-Claudia Altmann. Subject: Reception of American Modern Art after 1960

Dear Mr. Kessler, Thanks a lot for the opportunity of inviting me to remember and describe my memories about the American exhibits presented in Romania between 1979-1983. It is a travel in time and a pleasure to talk about those events. In 1979, when the exhibit “The American Artist at Work” was showed in Bucharest in Sala Polivalentă, I was studying History of Art in the 6th semester at the Institute of Fine Arts “Nicolae Grigorescu” in Bucharest. At that time, I was feeling like being under a bell of glass where the grey colour dominated my whole visual memory and the impact of the American art opened for me a broad screen to a world I only had in my dreams, in other words, a world of joy, happiness, non-conformism, and possibilities to express, especially in Fine Arts, the immediate reality of a universe that I knew only in black and white. Moreover, the handprint, the spontaneity and uniqueness of each artist mesmerized me. Suddenly, my understanding of the content of art was turne