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Book presentation

Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 19:00

During the first half of the 20th century, within the framework of anti-colonial and anti-racist movements, a transcultural modernism in the arts emerges at many places of the globe. Concurrently, Western concepts of race, culture, and cultural difference shaped by colonial ideas become subject to a fundamental theoretical critique. While these anthropological and sociological works (by e.g. Fernando Ortiz and Melville J. Herskovits) examine situations of cultural contact under (post-)colonial conditions and develop new concepts of culture and identity employing terms like syncretism and transculturation, the transcultural modernism in the arts is based on contacts and cooperation between artists and other protagonists across colonial boundaries. Alongside methodological considerations on a postcolonial history of modern art, this book presents case studies in Indian modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, and Postwar Abstraction. The volume situates early transmodern art practices in relation to the formation of early transcultural thinking in academic and non-academic writings from the 1920s to the 1940s. Countering current trends in “global art history,” this book argues for the need to trace the specific conditions of thinking and painting the transcultural modern as framed by politics of liberation.


Adam Pendleton, Just Back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer, 2016-2017, 14 min

Introduction by Sabeth Buchmann, presentation and conversation with Christian Kravagna and Susanne Leeb

Sabeth Buchmann lives in Berlin and Vienna. She is an art historian and critic and professor for modern and postmodern art at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Together with Helmut Draxler, Clemens Krümmel, and Susanne Leeb, Buchmann edits PoLyPen, a series on art criticism and political theory published by b_books.

Christian Kravagna is an art historian and curator. He is professor for postcolonial studies at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

Susanne Leeb is professor of contemporary art at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. She is the autor of Die Kunst der Anderen: "Weltkunst" und die anthropologische Konfiguration der Moderne (2015) and co-editor of the PoLyPen series published by b_books.

Christian Kravagna, Transmoderne: Eine Kunstgeschichte des Kontakts, Berlin: b_books 2017.

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