Sanja Iveković. Personal Cuts. 1982. Video (black and white and color, sound), 3:40 min. Courtesy the artist. © 2011 Sanja Iveković

MoMA announced the first museum exhibition in the United States of the work of Sanja Iveković (b. 1949, Zagreb), which will cover four decades of the artist’s remarkable career. A feminist, activist, and video pioneer, Iveković came of age in the post-1968 period, when artists broke free from mainstream institutional settings, laying the ground for a form of praxis antipodal to official art. Part of the generation known as the Nova Umjetnička Praska (New Art Practice), Iveković produced works of cross-cultural resonance that range from conceptual photomontages to video and performance.

This exhibition brings together a historic group of single-channel videos and media installations, including Sweet Violence (1974), Personal Cuts (1982), Practice Makes a Master (1982/2009), General Alert (Soap Opera) (1995), and Rohrbach Living Memorial (2005). Among the 100 photomontages featured in the exhibition is Iveković’s celebrated series Double Life (1975–76), for which the artist juxtaposed pictures of herself culled from her private albums with commercial ads clipped from the pages of women’s magazines.

While in the 1970s Iveković probed the persuasive qualities of mass media and its identity-forging potential, after 1990—following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and the birth of a new nation—she focused on the transformation of reality from socialist to post-socialist political systems. Iveković offers a fascinating view into the official politics of power, gender roles, and the paradoxes inherent in society’s collective memory. The exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication.

Montage from ‘Monument’ 1983

Excerpt from ‘Personal Cuts’ 1982


There will also be a panel discussion and performance on December 12, 2011 among scholars, curators, and artists engaging in a critical analysis of the practice of Sanja Iveković, who came of age in the post-1968 period in former Yugoslavia, when artists broke free from mainstream institutional settings, laying the groundwork for an oppositional form of art. Participants include Ivana Bago and Antonia Majaca, curators, Institute for Duration, Location and Variables [DeLVe], Zagreb; Charles Esche, director, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Bojana Pejić, art historian and curator, Berlin; and Martha Rosler, artist, New York. Roxana Marcoci, Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, and organizer of the exhibition Sanja Iveković: Sweet Violence, moderates the discussion. The panel will be followed by Iveković’s performance Practice Makes a Master with Sonja Pregrad, in classroom B, at 8:00 p.m.