Beyond Nation-Based Frameworks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

In his study of Robert Rauschenberg and the Global Rise of American Art (Ikegami, The Great Migrator, 2010) Hiroko Ikegami argues that ”it is necessary to go beyond the nation-based framework” and ”beyond the binary of the global and the local” and look at postwar art ”in a wider, transnational and multinational scope that enables us to talk across cultures” (14). This does not imply that we have to abolish national art history, but that we have to see local and global art scenes, institutions and histories as heterogeneous and conflictual, and to adopt a broader, comparative perspective.
This is a relevant perspective on what goes on in and among the Nordic countries in the postwar period. Ikegami notes that ”Moderna Museet played a crucial role in the global rise af American art”, and by circulating shows to other museums (in Amsterdam, Basel, Humlebæk) ”had a significant impact on the European art scene as a whole.” (105) In a Nordic context this is indeed true not only as regards American art, or even visual art, since Moderna Museet played a crucial role in promoting modernism and the avant-garde in the Nordic countries. It is thus no coincidence that the first concrete poet in Denmark, Vagn Steen, was inspired by Swedish artists and art historians connected to Moderna Museet. Other more temporary or permanent Nordic institutions were for instance the summer schools at Hindsgavl Slot, various little magazines and small presses, and Biskops Arnö where generations of young poets from the Nordic countries met. Due to networks established here Leif Nylén and Torsten Ekbom at the instigation of Hans-Jørgen Nielsen travelled to Stuttgart and made contact with Max Bense and the mail network of global concrete poetry. By then the fluxus group had already held one of their first concerts in Copenhagen, thanks to the German artist and galerist Arthur Köpcke living there who had relations to the Nouveau Réalisme group in Paris.
Ikegami suggests that Moderna Museet looses its central position and relapses into a provincial status when the link to New York is lost, thus highlighting the unequal power balance and shifting relations between centre and periphery.
My paper traces the multiple interrelations among the Nordic countries, Europe and America in the postwar period and suggests concepts to map these cross-cultural, hybrid and conflicted relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransferts, appropriations et fonctions de l'avant-garde : dans l'Europe intermédiaire et du Nord
EditorsHarri Veivo
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherL'Harmattan
Publication date2012
Pages105-116
ISBN (Print)9782296575240
Publication statusPublished - 2012
SeriesCahiers de la Nouvelle Europe
Volume16

ID: 43284096