Deutsches Haus at NYU and the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst present a conversation between Sara Blaylock (University of Minnesota Duluth) and Seth Howes (University of Missouri) to celebrate the publication of Sara Blaylocks’s new book, “Parallel Public: Experimental Art in Late East Germany” (MIT Press, March 2022).
In tandem with this event, the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst and Deutsches Haus at NYU also present a one-week streaming (on Vimeo) of Claiming Space – The Independent Art Exhibit Scene in the GDR (in German with English subtitles), the acclaimed documentary by filmmaker Claus Loeser and Jakobine Motz. A Vimeo link of Claiming Space – The Independent Art Exhibit Scene in the GDR will be made available to everyone who RSVPs to our event on the morning of April 7.
About the book:
Experimental artists in the final years of the German Democratic Republic did not practice their art in the shadows, on the margins, hiding away from the Stasi's prying eyes. In fact, as Sara Blaylock shows, many cultivated a critical influence over the very bureaucracies meant to keep them in line, undermining state authority through forthright rather than covert projects. In Parallel Public, Blaylock describes how some East German artists made their country's experimental art scene a form of (counter) public life, creating an alternative to the crumbling collective underpinnings of the state.
About the film:
By the late 1970s, an alternative arts scene was developing in the GDR, which consciously sought to create its own structures and avoid the official apparatus of artistic production. The new artistic subculture grew in the domains of painting and photography, literature, music, and film and established galleries that could house the artistic emancipation movement, which ultimately contributed to and flowed into the GDR’s peaceful revolution of 1989.
Original film documents are juxtaposed with interviews of artists who were part of this subculture art scene, including Lutz Dammbeck, Michael Morgner, Fine Kwiatkowski, Thomas Ranft and Else Gabriel.
About the speakers:
Dr. Sara Blaylock is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota Duluth. To date, the bulk of her research has concerned the experimental art, film, and visual culture of the German Democratic Republic during the 1980s. Blaylock's research has appeared in a number of academic and arts forums, both in English and in translation, including in Third Text and Cinema Journal. Her first book Parallel Public: Experimental Art in Late East Germany has just appeared with the MIT Press.
Dr. Seth Howes is associate professor of German at the University of Missouri. With Mirko M. Hall and Cyrus M. Shahan, he edited the book Beyond No Future: Cultures of German Punk, published with Bloomsbury in 2016. Seth Howes was also the co-director of DEFA Film Library’s 2021 Summer Film Institut AUTHORITY & ALTERITY IN EAST GERMAN MOVIES: Political Experiments, Rebel Youth and Civil Unrest.
“The Valor of the Misfit: Experimental Art in Late East Germany” is funded by the DAAD from funds of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA).
Location & Time
Thu, April 14, 2022, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST
Please register here.