Feminist Art History and/in the Erstwhile Eastern Bloc
In the last fifteen years or so art historians and visual culture researchers have slowly but steadily begun to turn attention to women’s art production in socialist Eastern Europe. Former East Germany (GDR) has posed one of the greatest challenges to feminist revisionist art histories—unlike other state socialist projects that underwent a transformation period and ostensibly emerged as liberal democratic nations, the GDR disappeared in the reunification process. The result has been a gaping absence in the visibility of women’s artistic practices in East Germany with national focus, instead, put on women artists from what was West Germany. For this reason, the textual reference materials included here give an overview of different entry points into thinking women’s art production in socialist Eastern Europe with a particular emphasis on research on the GDR. Altmann’s exhibition The Media Insurrection stands as a pioneering example in this regard in its investigation of art created in East Germany in relation to Eastern Europe rather than the West.