art 2002/1

Romanas Vilkauskas. Interjero fragmentas
Drobė, aliejus, 84 x 64, 1992

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 curator’s 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.