Maja and Reuben Fowkes

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Maja and Reuben Fowkes are curators and art historians who work out of Budapest and London through the Translocal Institute, and whose work focuses on the theory and aesthetics of East European art from the art production of the socialist era to contemporary artistic responses to the transformations brought by globalisation. Their interests in the field of art and ecology are expressed through their curated exhibitions, symposia, as well as writings, which have explored key notions and practices around green curating, environmental art history and the sustainability of contemporary art.Their work and publications are indexed

They are members of the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT) and the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). In 2010 their activities were recognised with a grant from the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory [1]

Sustainable art[edit]

They have contributed significantly to the development of recent thinking on sustainability and contemporary art, through their published writings, curated exhibitions and organisation of conferences. Since 2006 they have organised an annual Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art at Central European University Budapest,.[1] An interview with Maja and Reuben Fowkes about their work on issues of sustainability and contemporary art was published in summer 2009 in Antennae Journal [2] They have lectured widely on art and ecology including at Modern Art Oxford, Barbican Gallery and Aarhus Kunstbygning, recent publications including Reclaim Happiness: Art and Ecology Unbound in Artecontexto (summer 2010), 'Ecology and Ideology: In Search of an Antidote in Contemporary Art' in Verge (2010), and 'Art and Sustainability' in Enough for All Forever (2012).[3]

Revolution trilogy[edit]

Their curated exhibitions include Revolution is not a Garden Party, which dealt with the legacy of the 1956 Revolution for contemporary art and was held at Trafo Gallery Budapest, Norwich Gallery and Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic in Zagreb in 2006-7.[4] The second part of their revolution trilogy is Revolution I Love You: 1968 in Art, Politics and Philosophy which was shown at the Centre for Contemporary Art Thessaloniki in summer 2008, as well as Trafo Gallery Budapest and International Project Space Birmingham.[5] Revolutionary Decadence: Foreign Artists in Budapest since 1989 completed the trilogy and was shown at Kiscell Museum Budapest in November 2009.[6]

East European art[edit]

A major focus of their work is on researching contemporary East European art. Since 2006 they have organised the SocialEast Forum on the Art and Visual Culture of Eastern Europe to examines how 'a revised understanding of the achievements and circumstances of East European art impact on global interpretations of art history'[2]. This has involved holding SocialEast Seminars at the Ludwig Museum Budapest, Manchester Art Gallery, Jagiellonian University Kraków, Mimara Museum Zagreb and Courtauld Institute London.

Their publications on East European art include From Post-Communism to Post-Transition: Art in Eastern Europe in The Art Book [3] (February 2009) and a special issue of Third Text Third Text on Socialist Eastern Europe.[7] Texts dealing with the legacy of Socialist Realism include You Only Live Twice: the Strange Afterlife of Socialist Realist Sculpture[8]

Their extensive work on cosmopolitanism and the post-national in contemporary East European art resulted in a paper on The Possibility of the Post-National in Contemporary East European Art at the College Art Association College Art Association conference of 2010 and an article on The Post-National in East European Art: From Socialist Internationalism to Transnational Communities.[9]

Loophole to Happiness[edit]

In 2010 and 2011 they curated the exhibition Loophole to Happiness that explored the freedom-enhancing loopholes that exist on the margins of social systems from East European communism to global capitalism, taking the inventive strategies of worker resistance under socialism as the starting point for contemporary attempts to imagine exceptions and find escape routes from today’s neo-liberal capitalist order. Held at Trafo Gallery Budapest, Museum Sztuki Lodz, Futura Centre for Contemporary Art Prague and AMT Project Bratislava, the exhibition also resulted in a samizdat publication.[10]

See also[edit]

Sustainable art


  1. ^ Praesens: Contemporary Central European Art Review 1/2006
  2. ^ Antennae Journal Nature in Visual Art
  3. ^ Maja and Reuben Fowkes, 'Art and Sustainability' in Enough for All Forever: A Handbook for Learning about Sustainability, eds Joy Morray, et al. (Common Ground:Champaign, Illinois, 2012)
  4. ^ Revolution is not a Garden Party, ed. Maja and Reuben Fowkes (MIRIAD Manchester Metropolitan University, 2007)
  5. ^ Revolution I Love You: 1968 in Art Politics and Philosophy(Manchester Metropolitan University, 2008)
  6. ^ Maja and Reuben Fowkes, Revolutionary Decadence: Foreign Artists in Budapest since 1989 (Manchester Metropolitan University and Museum Kiscell, 2009)
  7. ^ Third Text Special issue on Socialist Eastern Europe, edited by Reuben Fowkes, Issue 96, March 2009
  8. ^ Matter and History (Bucharest, 2011)
  9. ^ Proceedings of the Torun Conference on the History of Art History in Central, Eastern and South East Europe (University of Torun, 2011)
  10. ^ Maja and Reuben Fowkes, ed, Loophole to Happiness (, 2011) ISBN 978-963-08-2491-0

External links[edit]