Olena Martynyuk is an art historian with an interest in art theory and philosophy. Her research focuses on Ukrainian and Russian art from the late 20thcentury to the present. She graduated with a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University in January 2018.
Her dissertation, titled “Postmodern Perestroika: Ukrainian-Russian Artistic Networks of the 1980s-90s,” examines the work of artists in the last Soviet generation. Trained in Socialist Realist methods while witnessing the decomposition of Soviet reality, these Ukrainian and Russian artists invented hybrid art forms that reflected their transitional time period. The dissertation analyzes major paintings of the era, revealing the porous nature of borders separating East and West in the late 1980s, and examines how distant and sometimes distorted echoes of Western theoretical concepts such as Postmodernism, Neo-Expressionism, Transavantgarde, and Neo-Baroque impacted the art of the late Soviet period.
While at the Harriman Institute Dr. Martynyuk will continue her work on transforming her dissertation into a book manuscript with attention to the influence of Ukraine’s delayed postcolonial emancipation on Ukrainian visual culture of the late 20thcentury. She will also continue co-editing with Dr. Alla Rosenfeld a compendium of articles on Ukrainian 20th-century art by Ukrainian and Western scholars.
Martynyuk is the recipient of the Louise Bevier Dissertation Fellowship. She has taught art history classes at Rutgers University and CUNY College of Staten Island, and has curated exhibitions at the Zimmerli Art Museum, The Ukrainian Museum, and the Ukrainian Institute of America in NYC. Her most recent show of Kyiv perestroika art will open at the Zimmerli Art Museum in spring of 2020.