What happened to Art History?

Gjimnazi 28 Nëntori, 2021

During an intense week, we met professors and students of the oldest Albanian public school. At Gjimnazi 28 Nëntori, Italian is taught on a par with Albanian, with mother-tongue teachers sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. English turns out to be more attractive for students, because Italy is no longer a popular destination for the younger generation, or at least not quite as much as Turkey, Germany, France, England, or the US.

What emerged from the discussion is that Art History has never been taught here, except in a few exceptional cases, such as in the Jesuit School of Shkodër—now Shkolla Atë Pjetër Meshkalla. After the fall of the communist regime in the 1991 elections, a local teacher, Zef Paci, used videotapes and photographic materials from Italy to fill the void that the dictatorship had imposed for years by erasing any kind of information related to postwar art. Then, more recent governments have removed Art History from high school curricula. We find ourselves in front of students disoriented about the use of new technologies to make art, and so we improvised a lesson about Fluxus, Nam June Paik, and Joseph Beuys to pick up the threads of an interrupted discourse and share the process of production of this new work.