The Decade of Great Myths: Developments in the Estonian Art Scene of the 1990s


  • Kadri Asmer



Estonian art, 1990s, Eastern Europe, transitional culture


Estonian art life changed radically at the beginning of 1990s,
especially with regards to organisational and financial systems. In
other words, the collapse of the Soviet cultural system was followed
by strong shifts that brought with them changes, in both content and
form, within the arts and the institutional mechanisms.
This article maps out some of the most notable developmental
tendencies that began taking shape after the restoration of
independence, for example the meaning of art and the role of cultural
journalism and art critique in the new reality. Even though the focus
of the text is on Estonia, the changes that took place in the cultural
sphere of the 1990s were not location-specific as similar trends existed
more or less in all former republics of the Soviet Union.


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Author Biography

Kadri Asmer

Kadri Asmer is a lecturer and editor in the Department of Art
History at the University of Tartu.  Asmer has compiled several anthologies including: Armin Tuulse.
Linnad ja lossid (2013); Indrek Hirv. Tartust Pariisi ja tagasi (2016); Juhan
Maiste. Vabadus mäletada (2016); In Search of the University Landscape: The Age of the Enlightenment (with Juhan Maiste, 2018).

Her research focuses mainly on 20th century art history, she is especially interested in cultural politics from the
1950s to the present in the United States and Europe. In addition to
her academic work, she curates exhibitions and writes art reviews.