Venice Biennale Highlight #1: Albanian Trilogy

To celebrate the relaunch of ESPIONART, the Cold War art blog, this week presents a series of Cold War related highlights from the 56th Venice Biennale, open now until 22 November 2015. Top of the list is the artist Armando Lulaj’s exhibition at the Albanian Pavilion in Arsenale, entitled Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems. Curated by Marco Scotini, the exhibition presents three recent films by Lulaj charting extraordinary … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #1: Albanian Trilogy

Featured Artist: Stefan Constantinescu

The Romanian Revolution from 16 to 27 December 1989 swept Nicolae Ceaușescu from power and brought an end to 42 years of communist rule. While 25 years have now passed since that tumultuous fortnight a number of Romanian artists continue to explore their country’s struggles in the aftermath of revolution. Once such artist is Ştefan Constantinescu. Born in Bucharest in 1968, Constantinescu experienced first hand the daily grind … Continue reading Featured Artist: Stefan Constantinescu

Exhibition of the Month: Beyond Zero

For the rest of this month, the dreams of the Soviet space programme are alive in London. In the exhibition Beyond Zero the Calvert 22 gallery explores how Russian artists have been inspired by man’s evolving engagement with the cosmos. The works featured in the exhibition date from the 1930s to the present day, showing how artists have continued to challenge the conventions of time … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Beyond Zero

Featured Artist: Sean Snyder

Sean Snyder is a contemporary American artist living and working in Berlin, Kiev and Tokyo. Acclaimed for his unique ‘research-based’ art, Snyder works predominantly in film and video to explore the role of images in the global circulation of (dis)information. This fascination has repeatedly led him to engage with the politics of images produced during the Cold War. Using montages and cut ups of content … Continue reading Featured Artist: Sean Snyder

Recommended: Kiss Kiss Kill Kill

A scantily-clad femme fatale, a pristinely-coiffed hero, and an array of imaginatively-evil baddies. Throw in some guns and gadgets and you have the perfect recipe for a spy thriller. Kiss Kiss Kill Kill is a multidimensional project dedicated to preserving and sharing the graphic art and forgotten spy films of Cold War Europe. Amassed by creator and curator Richard Rhys Davies, the collection now runs … Continue reading Recommended: Kiss Kiss Kill Kill

Exhibition of the Month: Damage Control

The spectre of Cold War looms large in the Hirshhorn’s latest exhibition, Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950. The start date of its chronology points to an initial focus on the trauma of destruction in the immediate aftermath of World War II, and anxieties about the strange new world that rose from its ashes. Initial feelings of panic in the face of human fragility, … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Damage Control

African Artists in the Soviet Union

Calvert 22 Gallery in London, an institution dedicated to the display of Russian and Eastern European art, recently launched an ambitious project to explore Cold War artistic connections between Africa and the Soviet Union. A team of researchers under the leadership of curator and Royal College of Art lecturer, Dr Mark Nash, are in the process of collecting film and archival material, sourcing interviews and … Continue reading African Artists in the Soviet Union

Recommended Read: Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970

David Crowley and Jane Pavitt (eds.). Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970. London: V&A Publishing, 2008. The V&A’s outstanding exhibition Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970 may be a thing of the past, but the exhibition catalogue lives on! In this glossy tome, design historians David Crowley and Jane Pavitt chronicle the effect of the Cold War on culture, from architecture and film to cars and kitchens. It’s a … Continue reading Recommended Read: Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970