2013

Public, Private, and Political Art

During the Communist era, the governments in East-Central Europe tried to shoehorn art into the category of socialist realism. Artists were reconfigured as cultural workers who ideally created works to advance society in the same way that a steelworker shaped pig iron to advance skyscraper construction. The overlap was often quite direct. Many paintings and… Continue reading Public, Private, and Political Art

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Doing Business in Eastern Europe

A typical story of the economic transition in East-Central Europe is of the frustrated manager in a state-owned company under Communism who becomes a rich and successful entrepreneur after 1989. Certainly there were plenty of frustrated managers during the Communist period. And you can read plenty of stories about the new fabulously wealthy business owners… Continue reading Doing Business in Eastern Europe

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Pushing Boundaries

Approaching 1989, the Communist governments in East-Central Europe were like the residents of a continuing care facility. Some governments – in Czechoslovakia, for instance – appeared to be very sturdy and, although quite elderly, were capable of living independently for some time. Others, as in Poland, were already in assisted care, needing the help of… Continue reading Pushing Boundaries

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Inside Outsiders

In explaining the fall of Communism, most analysts talk about pressure from the inside (dissidents) coupled with pressure from the outside (Gorbachev, Reagan). But equally important were the inside-outsiders.  These were people from the region who found themselves in other countries as a result of war, uprising, or other dislocations. The Hungarian-born financier George Soros… Continue reading Inside Outsiders

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