calin dan on Tue, 30 May 2000 13:20:39 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] subREAL's AHA_update

[NOTE: This is the last note concerning the social context of AHA. About
the AHA project itself, and about other projects spinning off from this
remarcable body of analog data ("Serving Art", "Interviewing the Cities"),
and the books:
subREAL - Akten/Files - Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien/Neuer Berliner Kunstverein,
subREAL - Art History Archive - Venice Biennial/Romanian Ministry of
Culture, 1999]


Coming up event: "Interviewing the Cities" - station Helsinki (June-July 2000).


The Art History Archive Update

1953 - Bucuresti, Romania. First issue of "Arta Plastica" (The Visual
Art"): an art magazine published by Uniunea Artistilor Plastici (UAP) din
R. P. Romana (The Union of Visual Artists from the Popular Republic of
Romania), organization founded the same year according to a well known
Soviet pattern of institutionalized culture, imported in all the countries
of the Eastern block.
"Arta Plastica" (later "Arta") will control the public image of the local
art world between 1953 and 1989; while UAP (the publisher) will be
instrumental in defining the official policies concerning the visual
culture of Romania for the same period.

1953 - 1993 In 40 years of continuous apparition, "Arta (Plastica)":
- produced for its editorial needs and accumulated through exchanges (with
publications and institutions world wide) an undetermined amount of b/w
photographs, negatives and color slides documenting Romanian and
international art history, from antiquity to post-modernism;
- stored those materials (first in a systematic way, then randomly) and
preserved them in the premises of the magazine;
- moved location 7 times, for reasons determined by the power interests at
the level of the publishing institution (UAP); some of the moves were made
on a 48 hours notice, with disastrous impact on (amongst others) the
preservation of the photo archive.

1977 - As a consequence of its first change of locations, "Arta" loses the
infrastructure capacities and institutional support for archive
conservation. The publisher orders the legal termination of the archive,
which is partially incinerated under the supervision of a representative of
the National Bank of Romania (assisting in "the recuperation of colloidal
silver contained in the prints"). From that moment, all surviving materials
became a floating entity, with no legal status.

1987 - Călin Dan enters the editorial staff.
1991 - Josif Király becomes photographer of the magazine.
The Ministry of Culture takes over the publishing of "Arta", under the
provision that CD becomes chief editor. The UAP remains co-editor, as the
provider of office spaces and inventory.
1993 - The Ministry of Culture stops the funding of the publication.
Through the year other additional funding sources (Romanian Government -
Department of Information, Soros Foundation - Romania) are drying up.

1994 - Spring. The UAP is losing to the Ministry of Finance the building
where "Arta" is hosted. The magazine moves (it is the 7th time) in its
final locale - a 20 sq. m. former studio space.

Summer - The UAP gives the space to an artist member and asks the magazine
to move out. In impossibility to find another location, the magazine is
confronting eviction.

August - The new owner of the space breaks in, changes the lock on the door
and threatens to throw "Arta"'s belongings on the street.
The UAP accepts to make an inventory of goods: furniture, type writers,
carpets, a.s.o. go to the UAP. Since no papers and no legal claim exist
with regards to the archive, CD and JK (at that time already working as
subREAL) store it in their studio.

Autumn - The Art History Archive (A.H.A.) project is born, as an
application for a residency program in Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin.

1995 February - subREAL is invited to work for one year in Berlin on the
A.H.A. project.

March - In a self funded operation, subREAL moves the archive from
Bucuresti to their new studio in Berlin. The Romanian post office and
customs service give the first authorized classification of the stuff: "650
kg of photo material".

1996 - April - The archive is donated by subREAL to "Artexpo" (The National
Office for Art Documentation and Exhibitions), based in Bucuresti, Bd.
Nicolae Balcescu, No. 2.

Calin Dan
Rozengracht 105/D4
NL-1016 LV Amsterdam
T: + 31 (0)20 770 1432
F: + 31 (0)20 623 7760

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