• Course 12: The Archaeology of Former Art and Coming Apocalypse
Course 12: The Archaeology of Former Art and Coming Apocalypse
Course 12: The Archaeology of Former Art and Coming Apocalypse
by Jelena Vesić
16 – 21 August 2022
3 ECTS (the course will be held virtually and physically)
Course Description

“[A] meta-art museum would be a museum where works of art are exhibited not as some kind of ‘sacred’ objects but rather ethnographically as specific artefacts of the Western culture that emerged out of the Enlightenment. This would be a museum that exhibits former works of art as meta-art artefacts (de-artization), while a meta-(art museum) would be some kind of a place where an art museum itself is the theme, the subject matter.”

Walter Benjamin, Recent Writings (1986-2013)

The archaeological site of former art and coming apocalypse: A guided tour through the Museum of American Art, Prishtina is theoretical and practical course which examines the knowledge of meta-museology as the doctrine of showing and telling of the last museums existing on Earth – the museums of our time. It observes the Museum of American Art, Prishtina as an archaeological site of the past civilisation that celebrated art and culture as the expressions of human creativity and freedom.

The course is made for those interested in the Cold War (political) art histories and theoretical reflections of the concept of museum. It is also for those who are interested in the practice of performative speech (the form of lecture performance) and experiments in collective writing of a theoretical-fictional script/essay; for those interested in the behavioural techniques in exhibition space, using the displayed objects as props and rhetorical devices of guided tour.

The participants of this course will gain certain theoretical knowledge in museology of the XX and XXI century with the focus on the narrative strategy of the museum apparatus, and the case MoMA, NY as the paradigmatic example of such a knowledge machine. The participants will be guided by the leader of the course towards production of the essayistic text/scenario that will be performed at the exhibition space of the Museum of American Art, Prishtina at the end of the course.

The first two meetings (theoretical and historical introduction) is planned for the first week of August (virtually). Individual and collective work on shared document of the script is planned for the second week of August (virtually). Rehearsing on site and performance 16-20 August (physically).

The Museum of American Art in Prishtina is located at Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina, Henrik Bariç 23 Street, (the courtyard of the Ethnographic Museum in Prishtina), Republic of Kosovo. It is an educational institution dedicated to assembling, preserving and exhibiting memories primarily on the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) and its International Program of Circulating Exhibitions of American art. It is those MoMA exhibitions, some of them curated by Dorothy Miller and Porter McCray, that helped establishing the first post-war common cultural identity based on modernism (Abstract Art), individualism and internationalism. And, it was this Abstract Art in the ‘50es both in Europe and America that finally established the Alfred Barr’s narrative on – isms as the only legitimate History of Modern Art. Modern art in these years had to be defended from the criticism from the right (Alfred Barr, Jr.: “Is Modern Art Communistic”), but also it became apparent, especially to the people like George Kennan, that American modern art could be used in the cultural Cold War, as an expression of creativity and freedom on the West.


Jelena Vesić is an independent curator, writer, editor and lecturer. She is active in the field of publishing, research and exhibition practice and intertwines political theory and contemporary art. Her most recent exhibitions are Story on Copy (Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart) and We are Family (with Natasa Ilic) presented in Pawilion, Poznan, part of www.d-est.com. Vesić also curated Lecture Performance (MoCA, Belgrade and the Kölnischer Kunstverein, with Anja Dorn and Kathrin Jentjens) as well as the collective exhibition project Political Practices of (post-) Yugoslav Art, which critically examined art historical concepts and narratives of Yugoslav art after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Her recent book, On Neutrality (with Vladimir Jeric Vlidi and Rachel O'Reilly) is part of the Non-Aligned Modernity edition of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade.

10 participants will be selected to participate in this course. Eligible participants must read the Terms information, fill out the application form, upload the required documents and submit the application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The participation fee 300€.
Scholarships are available for participants from Kosovo.