New Europe College
Institute for Advanced Study

Periodization in the History of Art and its Conundrums. How to tackle them in East-Central Europe

A program supported by the Getty Foundation as part of its Connecting Art Histories initiative

This program will consist in a series of three seminars of one-week duration each, discussing periodization and related issues in the history of art, whose addressees are early-career art historians from East-Central Europe, and which include a number of invited guest speakers, from this region, and outside it. Though a sense that the conventional periodizations are in need of revision can be detected earlier, a more pointed reflection on this topic can be noticed after the demise of communism and the dismantling of the colonial system. In the aftermath of the 1989 events in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, a number of scholars felt the pressing need to reconsider the place of local art histories within the established narratives, and to reflect on how these local histories might fit within the Western canon, or to question its authority. Art historians dealing with modern and contemporary art were particularly sensitive to such questions, but this gradually became a more general concern, affecting the writing of histories of art of earlier periods. Frictions between the generally accepted periodizations and local trajectories in art became more apparent, making it necessary to reflect on approaches that could address such concerns, and on the instruments art historians may put to use in order to tackle particular case studies. It thus seems to us that periodization, with the many issues related to it, is a topic likely to elicit interest from colleagues and younger scholars from countries in the region, and to lead to fruitful exchanges not just across the discipline, but across national borders, and – through the presence of the invited speakers – across regional ones.

This series of seminars aims to address questions that are (or so we deem) of interest to art historians in the countries of East-Central Europe in ways that would counter a piece-meal approach, mostly dictated by national borders, in favor of a more unified one, and would provide an opportunity to identify common concerns, and possibly case studies that could (or should) encourage cross-border collaboration. It hopes to contribute in this manner to a better communication between art historians in this region.

Structure and content

The Program will consist of a series of three one-week seminars with the participation of 16 early career scholars from East-Central Europe, up to 4 keynote/guest speakers per seminars, the Coordinator and the Consultants. Each seminar will have three main components:

  • Talks delivered by keynote/guest speakers, followed by discussions
  • Discussions taking as a starting point key texts relevant for the topics approached in the seminars
  • Presentations of works in progress/case studies by the addressees of the Program, that is, early career scholars from East-Central Europe, and discussions on them with colleagues, guest speakers, coordinator and consultants


Guest speakers

First seminar:

Patrick FLORES, Professor of Art Studies at the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines, Curator of the Vargas Museum in Manila, and Adjunct Curator at the National Art Gallery, Singapore

Krista KODRES, Professor at the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture of the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, and head of the doctoral curriculum in art history

Saloni MATHUR, Professor, Modern And Contemporary South Asian Art, Department of Art History, UCLA

Second seminar:

Thomas DACOSTA KAUFMANN, Frederick Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

Matthew RAMPLEY, Professor, Department of Art History, Masaryk University, Brno, ERC Principal Investigator | Continuity / Rupture: Art and Architecture in Central Europe 1918-1939

Katarzyna MURAWSKA-MUTHESIUS, Professor of Art History at Birkbeck College, University of London

Carmen POPESCU, Professor of Architectural History at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bretagne (Rennes)

Public lectures

Third seminar:

Zdenka BADOVINAC, curator and writer, since 1993 Director of the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana

Mieke BAL, Professor of Theory of Literature and founding director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam

Andrea GIUNTA, Professor of art history at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and former Chair in Latin American Art History and Criticism at UT Austin

Christopher WOOD, Professor and Chair, Department of German, New York University (Affiliated Faculty, Department of Comparative Literature and Institute of Fine Arts)


Edit ANDRÁS: PhD, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Art History, Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Ruxandra DEMETRESCU: PhD, Professor of History and Theory of Art, Head of the Doctoral School, National University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania
Emil Cristian NAE: PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Theory, Faculty of Visual Arts, George Enescu National University of Arts, Iași, Romania
Bojana PEJIĆ: PhD, curator, independent art historian and lecturer based in Berlin
Mara RAȚIU: PhD, Associate Professor within the Theory Department at the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Coordinator of the Program

Anca OROVEANU, PhD: Academic Coordinator of the New Europe College-Institute for Advanced Study, Bucharest, Professor of History and Theory of Art at the National University of Arts in Bucharest