History and Museum of Modern Art, Goran Đorđević


Since 1985, Djordjevic assists in realization and presentation of group projects such as "Last Futurist Show" by Kasimir Malevich, lecture Walter Benjamin: Mondrian 1963-1996, The International Exhibition of Modern Art (Armory Show). Djordjevic also collaborated on the project "International Exhibition of Modern Art Presents Alfred Bar's Museum of Modern Art in New York", that was part of the official selection of Serbia and Montenegro on the Venice Bienale in 2003.

Goran Đorđević, New York, Belgrade

Slide show presentation and lecture of Goran Djordjevic is focused on the history of modern art and on the analysis of concepts of recollection of modern art as we know it today. During the lecture, Goran Djordjevic presented the modern art from its beginning in the early XX century, all the way to its social establishing in the 1950s. Key figures that Djordjevic mentioned are Gertrude Stein and Alfred Bar, that is, Paris circle around her and her first collection of modern art of the 1920s, as well as activities of Alfred Bar on promotion of modern art in the USA and constitution of MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York in 1929.

Djordjevic particularly emphasized the fact that Modern European Art, as we know it, was completely suppressed in the 1930s in Europe. Populist movements in the 1930s in Europe had negative attitude towards contemporary art of that time, characterizing it as the reflection of bourgeois decadence, and conservative circles viewed it as anti-traditional and subversive. In Nazi Germany was forbidden to exhibit works of modern art (Nazis called modern art Entartete Kunst - deviant art). Government in the Soviet Union (precisely Stalin's politics) changed the attitude towards modern and avant guard art that was actively involved in the Revolution, waived it and established dogmatic social realism as the only art of the Soviet Union. Similar tendencies of abandonment of modernist experience could be seen in Franco's Spain, Mussolini's Italy, but also in the France with surrealism and in the rest of the Europe as it turned to realism in painting. In other words Djordjevic pointed that modernism barely existed in Europe in the 1930s. On the other hand during 1930/40s great number of European artists fled to the USA due to the WWII, and transferred their experience and continued to work on the development of the modernist principles there. In that context is interesting the exhibition that Alfred Bar opened in 1936 that was entitled "Cubism and Abstract Art", that presented almost all significant protagonists of modern art as we know it: Cezanne, Picasso, Boccioni, Matis, Malevich, Mondrian, etc.

After the WWII exhibitions titled New American Painting started to emerge in Europe presenting Pollock, Hartung, Rotko, who represent American neo-expressionism and, so called, action painting. These artists were presented as a reflection on American democracy and liberal values system that is in this context presented as morally superior in regard to rigid art of defeated Axis and undemocratic social realistic art of the Soviet Union. In other words, European modernist experience in the first quarter of the XX century was in the thirties transferred to the USA. There, it was reassembled and returned to post war Europe as New American Painting, or as "democratic" American model of Art History which "undemocratic" Europeans couldn't constitute. In that way the European recollection of European Modern Art was implemented and in fact it is not a continuity of European recollection.