Raino Isto is an independent scholar, curator, and artist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has recently been a postdoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Raino received his PhD in 2019 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 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 or is forthcoming in the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Third Text, Science Fiction Studies, Extrapolation, International Labor and Working-Class History, and The Getty Research Journal. 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 an editor at ARTMargins Online, and a founding member of the Laboratory for Albanian Art and Culture (LACA).