On horizontal and not-so-horizontal cuts

Event: Public talk

Location: NEC conference hall & Zoom

23 June 2022, 17.00-19.00 (Bucharest time)

Magdalena RADOMSKA, Assistant Professor, Art History Institute, Adam Mickiewicz University, Founder and Head of the Piotr Piotrowski Center for Research on East-Central European Art

The public talk will take place at the NEC, but the audience is kindly asked to rather resort to the Zoom transmission since our conference hall cannot accommodate more people than the ones engaged in the seminar.

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Meeting ID: 826 4054 1798
Passcode: 414844


The lecture will discuss the notion of horizontal art history coined by Piotr Piotrowski as it is examined in the book Horizontal Art History and Beyond. Revising Peripheral Critical Practices, that is about to be published by Routledge, edited by Magdalena Radomska and Agata Jakubowska. The book is a critical examination of horizontal art history, which provokes a discussion on the original concept, possible methods to extend it, and its weakest points. It is a collection of essays written by international scholars (such as Edit András, Mathilde Arnoux, Anthony Gardner, Terry Smith, Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, Jérôme Bazin or Andrea Giunta) who either critically practice horizontal art history, or propose theoretical revisions of the concept. The presentation aims at the critical reexamination of the concept and its aftermath, namely the idea of alterglobalist art history elaborated by Piotrowski in his last book, A Global Approach to the Art of Eastern Europe (trans. Anna Brzyski, with afterword by Magdalena Radomska), which is about to be published in English by Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory. It offers a clear concept of periodization of global art history in the form of horizontal cuts that crosscut the hierarchy of the center and peripheries.

The lecture will provide a Marxist approach both to the concept of horizontal/alterglobalist art history and its tools (horizontal cuts), asking about possible alternative adaptations of the notion of horizontality understood as a domain of global class solidarity that leads to the abolishment of class division interrelated with the division of labour, sustaining a seemingly elitist status of art that weakens its subversive potential. Such a framework authorizes the acknowledgment of the primacy of the base over superstructural analysis. It also criticizes horizontal art history for its neglect of the notion of class, which undermines its horizontal status and thus the horizontal character of the periodization proposed by Piotrowski in his last book.

This event is organized within Periodization in the History of Art and its Conundrums. How to tackle them in East-Central Europe seminar series, a program supported by the Getty Foundation as part of its Connecting Art Histories initiative.