Presentation of the book Minor Modernisms? A Reader in Central European Art and Culture 1918-1956 by the editors Beata Hock, Klara Kemp-Welch and Jonathan Owen.
Adopting the term ‘minor modernisms’ from Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of ‘minor literature’ – a concept inspired by the Prague-born Franz Kafka – this reader examines the enterprise of modernism from the perspective of Central Europe bringing together new and recent scholarship from leading experts in Hungarian, Polish, Czech and Slovak art. It combines the study of major artistic ‘isms’ like Cubism and Surrealism with research into locally specific trends, and investigates the unique cultural characteristics of this multi-ethnic region of shifting borders and plural identities. The timeframe 1918-1956 calls into question European modernism’s usual framing as an interwar phenomenon, challenging the vestiges of Cold War thinking in contemporary art history. This collection explores Central Europe’s diversity of cultures to discover the critical debates in aesthetics and politics they occasioned and how these relate to today’s concerns with transnationalism, class, gender and ethnicity.