Recovery Strategies. Dealing with Uncomfortable Histories in Art. Part 2
Olga ŞTEFAN (Fellow) in conversation with Wolfgang BRAUNEIS (art historian and curator)
How can we understand the turns of history, the relationship of artists to power, and the role of art in politics? Can art really be autonomous and judged on its merits alone, or must it be analyzed as part of a particular political system that instrumentalizes and legitimizes some while marginalizing others? What are appropriate means for remembering and recovering artists who served totalitarian regimes, and how do we relate to the grey areas of artists’ biographies?
In the second part of the discussion series, Olga ŞTEFAN and Wolfgang BRAUNEIS will each present their research and their respective approaches to this minefield topic with Olga Stefan focusing on recent attempts in Romania to rehabilitate the art of an indicted criminal of war. Wolfgang Brauneis will talk about the exhibition ’Divinely Gifted’. National Socialism’s Favoured Artists in the Federal Republic, which he curated in 2021 at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. It was the first exhibition that dealt with the post-war careers, works, and reception of artists who were renowned protagonists of the National Socialist art scene.
Olga Ştefan is a curator, arts writer, documentary filmmaker and researcher, born in Bucharest, raised in Chicago, and currently residing in Zurich. Her work mostly deals with the politics of memory, migration and identity. Ştefan has curated more than thirty international exhibitions in museums, art centers, and galleries and has contributed to magazines such as Art in America, FlashArt, Art Review, Sculpture Magazine and many others. She is the founder of The Future of Memory, the transnational platform for Holocaust remembrance in Romania and Moldova through art and media, where her documentary films can be viewed. Her chapter on the Vapniarka concentration camp appeared in the volume Memories of Terror, 2020, CEEOL Press, Frankfurt.
Wolfgang BRAUNEIS lives and works as freelance art historian and curator in Cologne and Berlin. He was lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts and visiting professor at the University of Fine Arts Münster. Brauneis is a staff member of a-Musik, co-founder of the Institut für Betrachtung and editor of the Meakusma Magazin.