best art books



A black stain spreads across the northern hemisphere, stretching from Poland and Croatia to the Far East and dwarfing Europe and North America. This is the vast territory encompassed by East Art Map: Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe (Afterall Books), a survey of art produced under Communism from 1945 to the present. Divided into three sections—color images, a guide to the histories and artistic output of individual countries, and critical essays—this squat red tome is both a manifesto and a major work of revisionist history.

Part of East Art Map’s significance derives from the fact that it was assembled by the five-man Slovenian collective IRWIN (painters, performers, and relational artists par excellence), who collaborated with a team of more than forty contributors. IRWIN is among today’s most articulate interrogators of Eastern European identity and its relationship to the West and to itself; this book consolidates twenty years of the group’s own practice-based research under the banner of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (New Slovenian Art) movement.

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