The relationship between art and politics during dictatorial regimes is both contested and fraught, despite many academic and artistic attempts to disentangle this issue. At the same time, facing modern dictatorships’ impact on cultural production and producers is not without political and theoretical weight. Caterina Preda’s book Art and Politics under Modern Dictatorships: A Comparison of Chile and Romania explores the cultural policies of two contrasting modern dictatorships: Chile under Augusto Pinochet (an instance of authoritarian, right-wing military regimes) and Romania under Nicolae Ceauşescu (a totalitarian, left-wing communist regime of Eastern Europe). As atypical and seemingly disparate as these case studies might look at first glance, Preda’s comparison of two diametrically opposite political regimes illuminates the topical roles culture (and art) can play under dictatorship both in supporting, as well as in resisting, the status quo and its cultural policies.

The complex role of...

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