Biennials: The Exhibitions We Love to Hate
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Examine one of the most significant recent transitions in the contemporary art world: the proliferation of large-scale international recurrent survey shows of contemporary art, commonly referred to as contemporary biennials. Since the mid-1980s biennials have been instrumental in shaping curating as an autonomous practice. These exhibitions are also said to have provided increased visibility for certain types of new art practices, notably those that are socially and politically committed, research-based, and site-specific, and to have undermined some of the more traditional art media, such as painting, drawing, or sculpture. They have been responsible for substantially reshaping the contemporary art world and disrupting the existing value chain of the art market, which now relies on biennials as much as it does on major museums’ acquisitions and exhibitions. Rafal Niemojewski, Director of the Biennial Foundation, deftly unpicks the critical discussion and controversy surrounding contemporary biennials. Branded by some critics as showcases of neo-liberalism run amok, in which culture has become synonymous with the dollar-generating leisure industry, biennials have also been associated with the production of monumental artworks which are both highly consumable and photogenic (Instagrammable). The exhibitions we love to hate? This engaging publication makes an essential contribution to a fascinating cultural debate.
1.52 cms H x 12.45 cms L x 19.56 cms W, 144 pages, Softcover, June 2021.
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