The Rise of Global Art: A Geopolitical View on the International Art System

The Rise of Global Art: A Geopolitical View on the International Art System

AGI | Lines of Research

Reference: TBA

Project Information

Head of Research: Joaquín Barriendos, University of Columbia

Images Courtesy of: Wilfredo Prieto

The 1990s saw the proliferation of a series of urban global phenomena that deeply modified the economic geography and the symbolic configurations of the international contemporary art system. This could be synthesized here in the following four points: 1) the massification of cultural tourism; 2) the globalization of art museums; 3) the biennialization of the art world; and 4) the transnational corporatization of contemporary art. These phenomena not only transformed the way in which cultural institutions understood the international art scene, but also the way in which they perceived themselves as international entities and the way they deal with contemporary art production worldwide. In our view, what is called global art on the one hand and the new internationalism of contemporary art on the other seem to be immersed in a process of re-westernization, which implies a series of geopolitical and epistemological contradictions directly related to the ‘international’ role of contemporary art institutions. By means of a critical analysis of those geopolitical discourses and imaginaries produced and legitimated within the international contemporary art system, this research project proposes a discussion on the transcultural and postcolonial dilemmas that global contemporary art institutions are facing today.

Considering trans-disciplinary areas of expertise such as transnational studies, decolonial theories, global studies, transcultural politics of representation, and what I call the critique of geopolitical imagination, affirmative articulations of concepts such as hybridization, periphery, marginality and subalternity will be contested. The politics of subjectivation, the representational systems, and the aesthetic canonization strategies will play an important role as well in this research.

Key Concepts:

New Internationalism, Global Art, Transculturality, Geopolitical Imagination, Westernization