Globalizing Contemporary Art: The Art World's New Internationalism

By Lotte Philipsen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Exhibiting artistic modernism
and modernity

The self-understanding of New Internationalism rests on the idea of a dual model, consisting of a simplicity paradigm and a complexity paradigm, with New Internationalism itself placed within the framework of the latter, and standard art history, theory and practice set within the framework of the former. Since this worldview is not a given fact, but the result of the intentions and self-understanding of New Internationalism, the following analysis will be carried out from a new international point of view, within the complexity paradigm, and does not aim to represent an objective overview.

Since the contours of the new international antagonism emerge most clearly in the discussions and negotiations of the controversial concepts of ‘time, space, and modernity’, ‘difference’, and ‘art and aesthetics’, articulations of these concepts will guide the analysis as anchoring points in this chapter and the next.

A main reason for New Internationalism to oppose standard art history is the tendency of the latter to ‘cover up’ a practice of discriminating ideology by ‘scientific’ simplification of time, space, and modernity into fixed and, significantly, separate entities into which people, objects, and phenomena can be plotted according to their proper ‘objective’ position. Janson’s History of Art is an example of how this practice was carried out in academia, but it is a tricky one to alter with a view to meeting the demands of New Internationalism, since it is not just a question of adding omitted bits and pieces to the existing history of art, but, according to the voices raised in Global Visions, of making fundamental changes to a deeply problematic, prevalent academic practice with regard to art history. As sociologist Anthony Giddens has discussed, the very separation and objectification – or as he terms it, the ‘emptying’ – of time and space, is itself a characteristic feature of Western modernity.65 Hence,

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