Raino Isto is an arts educator, independent scholar, and curator currently based in New York City. He is currently ACLS Leading Edge Fellow at the Educational Video Center and editor-in-chief at ARTMargins Online. Previously, he was the arts education coordinator at the Umpqua Valley Arts Association in Roseburg, OR (in 2020), and a postdoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (in 2018-19). Raino received his PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park, where his dissertation focused on the development of monumental sculpture in postwar Southeastern Europe, and the continuing resonance of socialist monumentality evident in the work of contemporary artists responding to the recent past. From 2016 to 2018 he was coordinator and curator at the Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland’s premier contemporary art space. He is currently at work on a book about Socialist Realism and the global Cold War in postwar Albania.
Other writing projects in process address American depictions of race in encounters with interwar Yugoslavia, images of the working classes in the context of postsocialist neoliberalism, and the representation of elephant labor in the circus in 1930s America. His work has been published in the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art; Third Text; Science Fiction Studies; Extrapolation; Open Philosophy; the International Journal for History, Culture, and Modernity; and International Labor and Working-Class History. He has articles forthcoming in The Getty Research Journal, Slavic Review, and ARTMargins. He also has published several catalog essays on Albanian postwar art, and worked as a consultant on a municipal public art plan for Tirana. He is a founding member of the Laboratory for Albanian Art and Culture (LACA).