Dangerous History: Christianna Bonin
April 22, 2020: Christianna Bonin talks to Dariel about archives. She dials in from Moscow to discuss life under quarantine, adventures in WWII-era bunkers turned art vaults, the structure of Soviet archives, Kazakh nationalism, and the impact of Stalin's legacy on historical production today. Listen to the interview here. Christianna traces her path to her current focus on Russian decorative arts in the twentieth century through archival finds and tugs on her heartstrings she could not ignore. A dedicated scholar and a generous colleague, Christianna's stories of the archives help illustrate the on-the-ground work of an art-and-architecture historian in her day-to-day life.
Christianna Bonin is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program at MIT. She studies visual art and design practices from the late nineteenth century to the present, with a focus on interactions between Europe, Russia, and Central Asia. Her research interests revolve around cultural politics and critical distinctions of art and craft, copy and original, and conceptual and manual labor. Her dissertation is titled Radical in the Making: Art, Craft, and Politics in the Soviet Union, 1915-75. Her article, “Imported Nationalism: The Sixtiers and the Making of Kazakh Art," will be published in Central Asian Survey next year (2021). Christianna received a BA summa cum laude from Amherst College and an MA in art history from the Williams College Graduate Program. Aside from research, she enjoys good jukeboxes, Soviet kitsch, horseback riding, and her windowsill of succulents.
|Shaimardan Sariev, Portrait of Zhibek, 1966-67|
|Abilkhan Kasteev, A Gift for Comrade Stalin, 1950, Kasteev Museum of Art, Almaty|
|Anthropologist Noel Shayakhmetov with the bust he created of 19th-century Kazakh writer and resistance fighter Makhambet Utemisov, ca. 1969|
|“Oilers” Carpet, PO “Azerkhalcha” Factory, 1969|