letter from the president

4 February 2022

Dear members,

It’s high time for an update.

We had another strong pool of submissions to the Emerging Scholars Publication Prize this year, spanning the entire chronological and geographical spectrum represented by our association. As always, the remarkable quality of the work done by members of HGSCEA made for a difficult decision, but after its deliberations the Board awards the 2021 prize to Sara Blaylock for her article “Being the Woman They Wanted Her to Be: Cornelia Schleime Performs Her Stasi File,” which appeared last year in Third Text. An Honorable Mention goes to Briana J. Smith for “Grassroots Glasnost: Experimental Art, Participation, and Civic Life in 1980s East Berlin,” which appeared in the American Historical Review. Very different in conception and approach, these two articles attest to the methodological range and outstanding quality of the scholarship currently being produced about art and visual culture in the DDR. Sara’s article, driven by scholarship on the secret police in East Germany and by feminist criticism, is an acute close analysis of a single artist’s retrospective performative engagement with the archival traces of her status as an object of surveillance. Briana’s article offers a nuanced account of the varied relationships in the last decade of the DDR between the state and experimental artists, the institutions that supported them, and the urban spaces in which they worked. On behalf of the Board, I want to congratulate both Sara and Briana! We look forward to reading more of their work in the years to come.

It was disheartening to receive CAA’s announcement that the in-person component of this year’s conference has been transformed into another remote event in the face of the latest public health developments. That news forced me to cancel the reservation I had made for our annual dinner and reception for members, which was to have taken place once again at Bistronomic in Chicago. The rest of the show, however, will go on! Most importantly, Jackie Jung is chairing HGSCEA’s sponsored session this year, “Sculpture, Site, and Space: Objects and Environments in Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe.” The session, with papers by Luke Fidler, Oeystein Sjaastad, Megan Luke, and Ewa Matyczyk on, respectively, the Braunschweiger Lion, Leif Erikson’s ‘Cult’, Site Specific Sculpture around 1930, and the Brodno Sculpture Park, will take place on Thursday, February 17, from 4:30 to 6 pm CST. (See https://caa.confex.com/caa/2022/meetingapp.cgi/Session/9776)  In addition, the Board’s annual business meeting will take place on Friday, February 18, at noon CST. All members are welcome to attend; if you are interested in doing so, email me and I will send you a zoom link.

I would like to end by making everyone aware of two things. First, the Board is soliciting proposals for HGSCEA’s sponsored session for CAA’s conference in 2023. As the separate announcement which just was sent out indicates, the deadline for submissions is February 17. Second, the Board is planning a number of remote events for members over the course of the year. The first, about which we are very excited, will be a special curator’s tour through MoMA’s “Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction.” More details will be forthcoming soon, but the tentative date and time for this event, is Friday, February 25, at 9 a.m. EST, which we hope will make the remote tour through the show accessible to as many of our North American and European members as possible. Mark your calendars, and be looking for a separate announcement very soon!

Wishing you all the best,

Jim van Dyke

HGSCEA President