Globalizing Contemporary Art: The Art World's New Internationalism

By Lotte Philipsen | Go to book overview
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There is no doubt that New Internationalism has had a profound impact on the art world in general. Especially during the last decade, the scene of contemporary art has broadened its global perspective to a point where, today, it is in fact international, since institutions for contemporary art have spread to every corner of the world. Even a Biennial of the End of the World was established in 2007 in the city of Ushuaia, in Southern Argentina 3,000 km from Buenos Aires, but only 1,000 km from the ice cap of the Antarctic.435 Furthermore, today the notion of ‘global’ is used in most dimensions of the art institutional apparatus.

For instance, since 1993, the art magazine Flash Art has included a small 1-2 page section called ‘Global Art’ in every issue.436 The magazine describes the concept behind the brief feature as follows: ‘In the Global Art section of Flash Art, a writer is invited to discuss one work by a contemporary artist.’ The actual content of the ‘Global Art’ section in Flash Art, however, does not reveal why the works of this section are more global than others featured in the rest of the magazine, which focuses exclusively on contemporary art through features, reports and reviews on various exhibitions, biennials, and art trends from all over the world. The description of the conceptual installation work What’s the Time? by the artist Kris Martin in ‘Global Art’, in the May/June 2008 issue is symptomatic.437 Briefly, the work consists of two loudspeakers, with a repeated dialogue in which one voice asks ‘What’s the time?’ followed quickly by the interruption of another, harsh, voice responding ‘Shh!’. The text considers the work in relation to other works by Martin, and concludes that ‘[H]is ongoing explorations into the frailty of the artistic gesture and the ephemeral nature of time continue to present rich and enduring propositions.’438 To the reader of Flash Art, the reason for discussing this work under the specific heading of ’Global Art’ remains opaque.

Even Third Text uses the term ‘global art’ as a given, with no further explanation or reflection, as was the case in the January 2008 issue, with the publication


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