Art, Architecture, and Politics in Yugoslavia

Reflections on the Concrete Utopia:
Art, Architecture, and the Politics of Memory in Socialist Yugoslavia

This panel will address art, architecture, and the politics of memory in Socialist-era Yugoslavia (1945-91), as well as its aftermath, and will comment on recent exhibits such as MoMA’s Toward a Concrete Utopia and The Fabrics of Socialism in Sewanee. Despite a wide range of forms and approaches, a distinct set of conventions took shape in the memorials’ designs and consumption, conventions that tended to unify a diverse population around a story of valiant local resistance to German and Italian fascism during World War II.  When in the 1990s the Yugoslav state split up into its constituent republics, accompanied by extensive violent conflict, the unity fostered by the earlier memorials was largely obliterated. In an ironic twist, the well-established conventions of memorial-making and consumption reemerged in the aftermath of the wars, often in mutated and sinister reincarnations. Strategies deployed in the wake of World War II to unify the many national and religious groups of Yugoslavia were now used to demonize neighbors, justify ethnic cleansing, and stake a claim to contested territories.


Vjeran Pavlaković
Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, University of Rijeka, Croatia
Matthew Worsnick
Assistant Professor of the Practice, Department of History of Art, Vanderbilt University

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

12:00pm (noon), Gailor Auditorium

This event is sponsored by the Politics and History Departments, the University Art Gallery, the International and Global Studies and Humanities Programs, and the University Lectures Committee.