Art biennales proliferated around the world from the mid-1990s, compounding critical questions of art’s ‘internationalization’ that were already burgeoning. More recently, we are witnessing the rise of the ‘Art Fair Age.’ What are the contexts and histories of such phenomena? How do both intersect? The Havana Biennial began in 1984 and initially created a new, truly international, “other” space for art from manifold contemporary practices. The biennial also undertook a critique of modernity and confronted mainstream canons and hierarchies. Has this legacy been sufficiently addressed, and how might we now imagine significance in and for a post-Cold War world?
The promises and limits of internationalized art circuits and critical questions of globalization are explored but looking outwards from—and not towards—the Global South. Many questions are at stake. Is art turning more rich and complex or is it being simplified by the necessary degree of standardization that a transcultural, international communication requires? Is difference being communicated and negotiated or just converted into a self-complacent taxonomy? What is the role and impact of the market?
This session ultimately addresses new epistemological grounds for artistic discourses, delving into the need for more decentralized museum procedures and an understanding of their complex interaction with global markets, circuits and collections. Here questions of how to recognize and cultivate different publics are also forcefully raised.