Who Reads What?
by Agnė Narušytė
Aware of the tendency
of self-isolation in Lithuania and its dangers, I though it useful to
read and find out what our closest neighbors write on art. This time
I opted to review four art magazines for the year 2001, Latvian Studio,
Estonian Estonian Art, NU, representing the Nordic countries
and Russian Moscow Art Magazine.
Studio and Estonian Art do have an air of self-isolation.
Though Estonian Art is published in English, and Studio runs
translations of the main materials published, most articles are targeting
local reader who is well aware of the context and interested in the
prestige of the local artists. Both in Latvia and Estonia, not much
seems to exist off the local art stage.
Yet Estonian Art is somewhat different, as it gives priority
to young contemporary artists and curators exhibitions. As usual
in a magazine of the kind, history and architecture columns are stronger,
though such marginal as graphic or ceramic arts also receive their piece.
Interestingly, Estonians are cable of taking a critical and ironic look
on the history. They write a lot on the Soviet times, and here much
sounds familiar to us.
In Studio many articles are not translated, and this might lead
to creating a false impression of it.
Moscow Art Magazine and NU, by contrast to the first two,
feel to be equal partners of the world art discourse and address the
international audience, a part of which their local readers are. NU
seeks to give a generalized view of contemporary artistic process.
Yet the most intriguing thing we look for in foreign magazines is what
they write on us. Surprisingly, they do. Not so much Latvians or Estonians,
who not unlike us, are mostly interested in their own yard. Yet one
NU issue introduces Deimantas Narkevičius, in another
issue of NU, Raimundas Malašauskas, in a total non-euphemistic
manner, presents the phenomenon of Lithuanian television without taboos.
Instead of writing an article, Moscow Art Magazine features a
Vilnius discourse: a conversation between Raimundas Malašauskas
and Darius Mikšys with commentary by Jonas Valatkevičius.
It strikes like a material really informing of the situation in Lithuania.