!"# %&'()& *'+,#-.'/)/01 !"# 234# '5 6#7 8/, 9'/&:4 )5,#/ ;<=<, eus.

Bans Belting,
Anuiea Buuuensieg, Petei Weibel (Cambiiuge, Nass.: NIT Piess foi ZKN, Kailsiuhe,
2u1S) Reviseu text August 27, 2u12

C0NTENP0RARY ART: W0RLB C0RRENTS IN TRANSITI0N BEY0NB
uL0BALIZATI0N

TERRY SNITB

Theie is no uoubt that contempoiaiy aitistic piactice has been shapeu above all by
the foices of globalization that, fiom the 198us until iecently, pieuominateu within
inteinational economic exchange, uiove much of woilu politics, anu uisseminateu
spectacle as the theatie of inuiviuual anu collective imagination in the lives of
people all ovei the woilu. ulobalizeu peiceptions of contempoiaiy ait have been
heavily piomoteu by majoi museums in seaich of competitive euge as centeis of
attiaction within spectacle cultuie. They aie useu by the inteinational ait maiket to
push up piices of what became, aiounu 2uuu, its most glamoious, iisky, anu, in
piinciple, infinitely self-ieplenishing, sectoi. Contempoiaiy Ait featuies
piominently in the lifestyle agenuas of the iecently iich, pievails in populai meuia,
anu is useu to anchoi massive ievitalization effoits oi new ieal estate piojects by
cities anu nations competing foi touiist uollais. Acknowleuging the bioau outlines
of these obvious connections between ait anu social change, a numbei of ait ciitics,
histoiians, cuiatois, anu theoiists, along with ceitain stuuents of visual cultuie, have
puisueu an inteiesting set of moie specific questions.

Was the globalization of the ait system piefiguieu in the inteinationalization of ait
uuiing the 196us. If so, was it expiesseu in aspects of the styles emeigent at that
time--Pop, Ninimal, Conceptual, Piocess, Lanu Ait, etc--oi weie they mainly
manifestations of Colu Wai configuiations. Biu globalizeu ait values spieau fiom
the mouein cultuial centeis along with the inioaus of multinational capital,
2
inteigoveinmental agencies, anu new technologies. 0i uiu the globalization of
contempoiaiy ait take holu in ait piouucing centeis aiounu the woilu in ways
uistinctive to each of them. In consiueiing these questions, shoulu we incluue
within the oveiall conception of "globalization" actions anu attituues such as anti-
globalist iesistance, uefiant localism, ciitical cosmopolitanism, anu evasive
tangentiality. Shoulu we see such ieactions as in uialectical opposition to top-uown
globalization, as in continuity with pievious countei-cuiients, oi as emeigent
moues of living. Scholais of contempoiaiy histoiy wonuei whethei these
uevelopments can be peiiouizeu. Foi example, it is aiguable that, in contiast to
ieaction to the events of 1989, the iuea that globalization was the inevitable,
hegemonic veision of late capitalism, anu theiefoie uestineu foi woilu uomination,
came to seem less plausible uuiing the fallout fiom 9¡11. Since then, a numbei of
unanticipateu woilu-scale changes, notably the incieasing uisjunction between the
leauing economies--each with uiffeient mouels of economic oiganization, all
piioiitizing national objectives, anu none seeking to univeisalize theii mouel--has
bioken the hegemonic giip of globalization as a woilu phenomenon. In 2uu8 it
seemeu shaky inueeu. Bo we neeu othei iueas to guiue oui thinking on these woilu-
pictuiing levels. Peihaps we can no longei so conveniently substitute
"globalization" foi "moueinity" anu¡oi "postmoueinity" when it comes to naming
the oveiaiching fiamewoik of piesent anu futuie possibility.

The "ulobal Ait anu the Nuseum" pioject, leu by the euitois of this volume, has
puisueu these questions moie thoioughly, anu on a wiuei geogiaphic scale, than
most otheis. Among its impoitant pieceuents is the ciitical ieaction to the Young
Biitish Aitist phenomenon on the pait of a few commentatois who, iathei than
swallow the hype, placeu these aitists within a laigei pictuie of contempoiaiy ait in
the seivice of neolibeial capitalism anu globalization: foi example, the wiitings of
}ohn A. Walkei, }ulian Stallabiass, Petei 0sboine, anu }onathan Baiiis. 1 In the 0S,
by contiast, the contempoiaiy ait histoiy acauemy anu much of the ait piess has
been, with few exceptions, complicit oi quiescent in its iesponse. Against such
passivity, the aggiessive public campaign against coipoiate ait wageu uuiing the
S
198us anu up to his iecent ueath by ait ciitic Robeit Bughes ueseives oui piaise foi
its moial vigoi if not foi all of the teims in which it was put. 2 While I suppoit
stiongly each of these enteipiises, anu iegaiu them as the best accounts of the ait of
oui times, it has become cleai in iecent yeais that ceitain assumptions unueilying
them no longei fully auuiess the complexity of the most cuiient situation.

Is it still the case that globalization iemains the pievalent phase in the "natuial"
evolution of woilu economic oiuei. In his 2u12 essay "Naking Noueinity Woik: The
Reconciliation of Capitalism anu Bemociacy," uiueon Rose, euitoi of the influential
jouinal >'/#3?+ 855)3/4, pouis scoin on those who woulu haiboi such uoubts: "The
majoi battles about how to stiuctuie mouein politics anu economics weie fought in
the fiist half of the last centuiy, anu they enueu with the emeigence of the most
successful system the woilu has evei seen.the postwai oiuei of mutually
suppoiting libeial uemociacies with mixeu economies." S I have alieauy hinteu that
this view, a veision of what was calleu "the Washington consensus," is shaky, anu
will say moie about it latei. The seconu uoubtful assumption is that, uespite its
vacuity anu banality, one kinu of ait, the most globalizeu kinu, just is the uominant
foim of contempoiaiy ait, anu that the institutions sustaining it (especially the
neolibeial maikets anu museums moueleu on those in the West) will keep it that
way. The authois citeu in the pieceuing paiagiaph woulu agiee that these aie
appalling piesumptions. The pioblem is that, while many of these ciitics uo favoi
instances of the ieally quite substantial amount of ait being maue touay that uoes
+', fall subject to top-uown globalization, none of them offeis an alteinative account
of the stiuctuies that aie in play. Negative uesciiption is not enough. We neeu, I
believe, an account that locates the foices of globalization as one set among otheis,
anu that iuentifies the ielative stiengths of each of the contenuing foices uuiing
iecent uecaues anu thiough the piesent.

Fiom mouein to contempoiaiy ait

4
Let me outline such an account by offeiing a summaiy of the key iueas unueilying
my woik on late mouein anu contempoiaiy visual ait. 4 These iueas take foim as
linkeu piopositions about how contempoiaiy ait is maue within, anu how it
contiibutes towaiu the making of, contempoiaiy being-in-the-woilu. The
piopositions aie, in tuin, ait histoiical, ait ciitical, anu ontological. Because my main
puipose is to accuiately uesciibe, anu to explicitly inteivene within, the changing
connectivities between woilu-pictuiing anu placemaking in contempoiaiy ait anu
life, I will also have something to say about geopolitics, cultuial foimation anu
aesthetics touay.

The coie )/, "34,'/3@)& iuea is the claim that a woiluwiue shift fiom mouein to
contempoiaiy ait was piefiguieu in the majoi movements in late mouein ait of the
19Sus anu 196us in Euioameiica, anu became explicit in aitwoilu uiscouise theie
uuiing the 197us anu 198us. Postmoueinist piactice was an impoitant signal of this
change, postmouein anu poststiuctuialist theoiy its fiist analysis. A maiket
phenomenon in the majoi centeis uuiing the 199us, contempoiaiy ait was at the
same time expanueu, but also uiviueu, by ait emeigent fiom the iest of the woilu.
Since then, contempoiaiy ait eveiywheie has engageu moie anu moie with
spectacle cultuie--with image-satuiateu commeice, globalizeu lifestyle, anu social
meuia--anu with anxieties causeu by political volatility anu climate change. These
uevelopments flow thiough the piesent, thus shaping ait's imaginable futuies--in
the shoit teim at least.

0nlike the gieat ait styles of the nineteenth anu twentieth centuiies, these changes
fiom mouein to contempoiaiy ait weie not a monopolizing phenomenon that
spieau outwaius fiom a pieuominant centei. Rathei, they occuiieu at uiffeient
times anu in uistinctive ways in each cultuial iegion anu in each ait-piouucing
locality. I believe that the histoiies specific to each place shoulu be acknowleugeu,
valueu, anu caiefully tiackeu alongsiue iecognition of theii inteiaction with othei
local anu iegional tenuencies, anu with the waxing anu waning of moie poweiful
iegional anu inteinational ait-piouucing centeis. Applieu ietiospectively, unuei the
S
bannei of "alteinative moueinities," this appioach has leu to eniicheu histoiies of
ait thioughout the woilu uuiing the mouein peiiou. S Complexity within
moueinity itself laiu the giounuwoik foi the uiveisity that we now see flowing
thiough the piesent.

Yet this uiveisity is not, as some claim, best unueistoou as a "global ait," a "woilu
ait," oi a "geoaesthetics." 6 Ceitainly, each of these teims spotlights a key aspect of
contempoiaiy ait. Neveitheless, howevei loosely uefineu oi ciitically intenueu,
each of them echoes the metiopolitan-piovincial mouels that helu uuiing the age of
impeiialisms anu woulu-be empiies, but aie now fast becoming outuateu. Woise,
these teims mistakenly suggest an oveiaiching coheience, an inclination towaiu
hegemony that, while piesent within paits of them, is, I aigue, iesiuual within the
whole ensemble. Rathei, what is most stiiking now is the contempoianeousness of
uiffeient kinus of contempoiaiy ait, each of which, if it has an "aesthetic," has its
own, inteinally uiveisifieu one. Fiom the multi-scalai peispective of woilus-within-
the-Woilu, we can see that each is, at the same time but in uistinctive ways anu to
specific uegiees, local, iegional )+: inteinational--that is to say, 7'/&:0--in
chaiactei. 7 If, to this multi-scalai layeiing of woilus, we auu the intensifieu
expeiience of the aujacency of uiffeience now shaieu by peoples eveiywheie, anu
eveiyone's incieaseu awaieness of cotempoiality, we come close to pictuiing the
key elements of the '+,'&'?3@)& iuea about contempoiaiy being-in-the-woilu that is
also at the coie of my iecent thinking. Togethei, these chaiacteiistics constitute oui
@'+,#-.'/)+#3,0--a teim that, foi me, unlocks the piesent constellation moie
usefully than conceptions uepenuent upon iueas of moueinity anu postmoueinity. 8

Contempoianeous cuiients

What, then, aie the uiffeient kinus of ait that coexist in contempoiaiy conuitions.
As a coie )/, @/3,3@)& iuea, I aigue that thiee stiong cuiients may be uisceineu within
the extiaoiuinaiy quantity anu seemingly limitless uiveisity of ait maue since
aiounu 1989. 2#-':#/+34,, /#,/'A4#+4),3'+)&34,, anu 4.#@,)@B&)/34, tenuencies fuse
6
into one cuiient, which continues to pieuominate in Euioameiican anu othei
moueinizing ait woilus anu maikets, with wiuespieau effect both insiue anu
outsiue those constituencies. Against these, ait cieateu accoiuing to nationalist,
iuentaiian, anu ciitical piioiities has emeigeu, especially fiom pieviously colonizeu
cultuies. It came into piominence on inteinational ciicuits such as biennials anu
tiaveling tempoiaiy exhibitions: this is the ait of ,/)+4+),3'+)& ,/)+43,3'+)&3,0. Foi
many of the aitists, cuiatois anu commentatois involveu, it has evolveu thiough at
least thiee uisceinable phases: a ieactive, anti-impeiialist seaich foi national anu
localist imageiy; then a iejection of simplistic iuentaiianism anu coiiupteu
nationalism in favoi of a naïve inteinationalism; followeu by a bioauei seaich foi an
integiateu cosmopolitanism, oi woiluliness, in the context of the peimanent
tiansition of all things anu ielations. 9 The thiiu cuiient cannot be nameu as a
style, a peiiou, oi a tenuency. It piolifeiates below the iauai of geneialization. It
iesults fiom the gieat inciease in the numbei of aitists woiluwiue anu the
oppoitunities offeieu by new infoimational anu communicative technologies to
millions of useis. These changes have leu to the viial spieau of small-scale,
inteiactive, BIY ait (anu ait-like output) that is conceineu less with high ait style oi
confiontational politics anu moie with tentative exploiations of tempoiality, place,
affiliation, anu affect÷the evei-moie-unceitain conuitions of living within
contempoianeity on a fiagile planet.

Each of the thiee cuiients uisseminates itself (not entiiely, but pieuominantly)
thiough appiopiiate--inueeu, matching--institutional foimats. Remoueinism,
ietio-sensationalist anu spectaculaiist ait aie usually founu in majoi public oi
ueuicateu piivate museums, piominent commeicial galleiies, the auction iooms of
the "gieat houses," anu the celebiity collections, laigely in oi neai the centeis of
economic powei that uiove moueinity. Biennales, along with tiaveling exhibitions
piomoting the ait of a countiy oi iegion, have been an iueal venue foi postcolonial
ciitique. These have leu to the emeigence of a stiing of new, aiea-specific maikets.
The wiuespieau ait of contempoianeity appeais iaiely in such venues--although
some of it uoubtless will, as the institutions auapt foi suivival anu ceitain aitists
7
make theii accommouations--piefeiiing alteinative spaces, public tempoiaiy
uisplays, the net, zines anu othei uo-it-youiself-with-fiienus netwoiks. Theie is, of
couise, no exclusive matching of tenuency anu uisseminative foimat. }ust as
ciossoveis between what I am uisceining heie as cuiients aie fiequent at the level
of ait piactice, connections between the foimats abounu, anu aitists have come to
use them as gateways, moie oi less accoiuing to theii potential anu convenience.
The museum, many aitists will say touay, is just one event-site among the many that
aie now possible. But this mobility acioss institutional anu quasi-institutional sites
is iecent, anu has been haiu won. While conveigence ceitainly occuis, tempoiaiy
alliance--the confluence of uiffeiences--is moie common. In these conuitions--
wheie a multiplicity of languages coexists in close pioximity--,/)+4&),3'+ becomes
the meuium of necessity, of possibility anu of hope.

While these cuiients aie contempoianeous now, how might we imagine them
changing, in themselves, in ielation to each othei, in iesponse to as yet
unpieuictable new cuiients anu even less pieuictable changes to the whole flow of
ait in the woilu. The fiist of the cuiients I have uisceineu is uominant now, but is
histoiically iesiuual anu may eventually faue; the seconu took shape uue to local
necessities but was also, eveiywheie, a ieaction to the uominance of Euioameiican
ait. It has iecently come to piominence anu will pievail foi some time. Theie is a
uialectical antagonism in opeiation between these two cuiients, because both aie
piouucts of moueinity's innei histoiical logic, itself uialectical. But the thiiu cuiient
is emeigent anu will incieasingly set the teims of what will count in the futuie:
these teims may be uiffeient in kinu fiom those fiist foimeu uuiing mouein times.

The Planet to 0veiiiue the ulobal

Ny aigument about the cuiients within contempoiaiy ait can stanu without
uepenuence on the moie geneial iuea of contempoianeity, but genuinely histoiical
hypotheses must encompass both the geneial anu the paiticulai. The emeigent-
uominant-iesiuual paiauigm that I just invokeu is of couise that of Raymonu
8
Williams: his 197us, New Left ievision of the ielationships between the base anu the
supeistiuctuie in Naixist cultuial theoiy. 1u Bespite its iecognition of volatility,
this paiauigm implies a continuation of the uialectical unfoluing of human histoiy,
as a piocess of continuous iesolution of oppositions. But theie is, I believe, a laigei,
ueepei anu moie unsettling challenge facing us touay. Big scale woilu pictuies, anu
global foices anu histoiical tiansfoimations, seem not only competitive but also
incommensuiable--inueeu, they seem uangeious to the point of thieatening
histoiical extinction. This is how many in the West view teiioiism fiom the Rest--a
feai paiouieu by the Russian gioup ASE+F in theii 93,+#44 '5 ,"# >B,B/# seiies of
postcaius. Noie uistuibing is the uawning iealization that the evolution of the
planet anu the tiajectoiy of human uevelopment may have uiveigeu, fatally. As
these laigei tiajectoiies contenu anu imploue, the uaik eneigy in uaik mattei comes
to light. We see it eveiywheie touay. Contempoianeity of uiffeience, it seems, may
be all that is left to us.

Intiouucing the essays that constitute his book !"# C##:4 '5 !3-#, baseu on his
Welleck Lectuies given at the 0niveisity of Califoinia, Iivine, in 1991, Fieuiic
}ameson obseiveu that

Even aftei the 'enu of histoiy,' theie has seemeu to peisist some histoiical
cuiiosity of a geneially systemic--iathei than meiely anecuotal--kinu: not
meiely to know what will happen next, but as a moie geneial anxiety about
the laigei fate oi uestiny of oui moue of piouuction as such--about which
inuiviuual expeiience (of a postmouein kinu) tells us that it must be eteinal,
while oui intelligence suggests this feeling to be most impiobable inueeu,
without coming up with a plausible scenaiio as to its uisintegiation oi
ieplacement. It seems to be easiei foi us touay to imagine the thoioughgoing
ueteiioiation of the eaith anu of natuie than the bieakuown of late
capitalism; peihaps this is uue to some weakness in oui imaginations.

9
Be goes on immeuiately to say: "I have come to think that the woiu .'4,-':#/+
ought to be ieseiveu foi thoughts of this kinu." 11

In 1991 }ameson's uiagnosis of the sickness in the woilu pictuie was acute, anu the
concept of postmoueinity as he ueployeu it was the most accuiate analysis. I have
come to think, howevei, that +'7--as the conuition that }ameson uiagnoseu so well
has become exaceibateu beyonu what even he might have pieuicteu--the concept
of contempoianeity offeis us the best key to unlock an analytic toolkit auequate to
unueistanuing oui contempoiaiy conuition. It uoes not encompass all of this
conuition, yet is essential to unpacking its uaunting complexity. We must to be able
to imagine the ueteiioiation of the eaith )+: the bieakuown of late capitalism, along
with many othei woilu-shaping tiajectoiies, less as constituting one, essentially
conflicteu but ultimately unifieu "moue of piouuction," iathei as unfoluing thiough
time contempoianeously, as a set of antinomies iathei than eventually (oi at least
potentially) iesolvable contiauictions, these elements being in ielationships of
contingency iathei than of necessaiy ueteimination, anu thus as geneiative of the
paiauoxes of the piesent--foi example, the cuiient coexistence of woilu capitalism
anu the eaith in a state of ciisis, with the iesultant paiauox that a futuie containing
both of them in a peimanent state of ciisis is all that most commentatois seem able
to imagine.

Is it possible to move oui thinking about the contempoianeity of uiffeience towaius
a fiamewoik that will encompass positive action in the face of impenuing uisastei.
In hei D#)," '5 ) D34@3.&3+#, uayatii Chakiavoity Spivak uigeu stuuents of wiiting to
"cioss boiueis unuei the auspices of a Compaiative Liteiatuie supplementeu by
Aiea Stuuies" by imagining themselves as "planetaiy iathei than continental, global,
oi woiluy." Noie explicitly, she stateu:

I piopose the planet to oveiiiue the globe. ulobalization is the imposition of
the same system of exchange eveiywheie. In the giiuwoik of electionic
capital, we achieve that abstiact ball coveieu with latituues anu longituues,
1u
cut by viitual lines, once the equatoi anu the tiopics anu so on, now uiawn
by the iequiiements of ueogiaphical Infoimation Systems. To talk planet-talk
by way of an unexamineu enviionmentalism, iefeiiing to an unuiviueu
'natuial' space iathei than a uiffeientiateu political space, can woik in the
inteiests of this globalization in the moue of the abstiact as such. The globe
is on oui computeis. No one lives theie. It allows us to think that we can aim
to contiol it. The planet is in the species of alteiity, belonging to anothei
system; anu yet we inhabit it, on loan. It is not ieally amenable to a neat
contiast with the globe. I cannot say "the planet, on the othei hanu." When I
invoke the planet, I think of the effoit iequiieu to figuie the (im)possibility of
this unueiiveu intuition. 12

Theie is much to be uone to invest with substance Spivak's pioposal that "the planet
shoulu oveiiiue the globe" in oui imaginative woilu-pictuiing. To that enu, let us
now shift geais up thiough the scale of the psychic, social, economic anu political
woilus-within-the Woilu that--layeieu togethei anu fiameu by the eaith within the
univeise--constitute oui planetaiy spheie. The cuiients in the visual anu othei aits,
I have been aiguing, aie manifestations of the gieat changes that have occuiieu
since the miu-twentieth centuiy in the uistiibution of powei within anu between
these levels. 0n the political anu economic levels, it is now a commonplace to
obseive that, while the eia of the Euiopean anu Noith Ameiican colonizeis seems to
be in uecline, theii enoimous influence peisists, anu is taking new foims. Some, in
the yeais aftei 1989, believeu that the 0niteu States stoou alone as the woilu's "last
iemaining supeipowei," as the only "hypeipowei." Bowevei, its failuies in
inteinational policy anu national goveinance uuiing the yeais since 2uu1 aie cleai
eviuence that no nation ietains the kinu oi extent of geopolitical influence once
wielueu by the auvanceu countiies of the mouein peiiou. The economic iise of
China, Inuia, Biazil anu otheis is eveiywheie acknowleugeu, but it iemains to be
seen whethei theii effoits at global anu iegional influence will be of the same kinu.
1S

11
In the twenty-fiist centuiy, nation states no longei align themselves accoiuing to the
foui-tiei system of Fiist, Seconu, Thiiu, anu Fouith Woilus. Nultinational
coipoiations baseu in the Euioameiican centeis no longei contiol the woilu's
economy, just significant paits of it. New global coipoiations aie locateu in South,
East, anu Noith Asia. Nanufactuiing, uistiibution, anu seivices aie themselves
uispeiseu aiounu the globe, anu linkeu to ueliveiy points by new technologies anu
olu-fashioneu laboi. Some woulu aigue that, with globalization, oi, moie bioauly,
within "the postwai oiuei of mutually suppoiting libeial uemociacies with mixeu
economies," capitalism has achieveu its puie foim. Ceitainly, the living stanuaiu of
millions has been lifteu, but only at enoimous cost to social cohesion, peaceful
cohabitation, anu natuial iesouices. National anu local goveinments, as well as
many inteinational agencies, seek to iegulate this flow anu assuage its woist siue
effects÷so fai without conspicuous success. The institutions that uiove moueinity
seem, to uate, incapable of uealing with the most impoitant unexpecteu outcome of
theii effoits: the massive uisiuptions to natuial ecosystems that now seem to
thieaten the suivival of the Eaith itself. Bespite the effoits of vesteu inteiests to
foieclose uebate on these issues (notably the campaigns against climate change
science), consciousness of oui inescapably shaieu, mutually uepenuent existence on
this fiagile planet is giowing.

Nany aitists woiking touay imagine the physical conjunction of a numbei of
uiffeient kinus of woilu: the intimate, peisonal sense of "my woilu"; the close
neighboihoou of the local; neaiby woilus, then incieasingly uistant beyonus, until a
sense of the Woilu in geneial is ieacheu. In between these, anu tiansveising them,
aie tiansitoiy spaces, "no-places," passages of physical tiafficking anu viitual
inteiconnection. This multi-scalai pictuie also evokes both the geophysical
aujacency of these woilus anu theii cultuial co-tempoiality. It iecognizes the
uiffeiential iates of theii movement thiough actual time, anu the mobility of those
whose lives weave between anu thiough them. When it comes to inuiviuual anu
collective expeiience, antinomial fiiction is the most stiiking featuie of ielationships
between people anu theii woilus, howevei peisistent eveiyuayness might be.
12
Within contempoiaiy expeiience, one also sees gestuies of connection, of
ieconciliation, anu of coexistence. Both fiiction anu connection aie essential
components of the (im)possible figuie of planetaiity. To imagine this figuie is the
task that the piesent iequiies fiom aitists of all kinus, inueeu, fiom all woikeis in
the iealms of the imagination.

Cuiating contempoianeous woilus

The gieat, histoiic task of the biennial exhibition--to suivey the ait being maue
aiounu the woilu touay, anu to position local ait in ielation to it--is ietieating as its
main goal. Insteau, many laige-scale exhibitions attempt to show ciucial aspects of
contempoiaiy ait's contempoianeity--that is, it's being-in-the-woilu, ,"34 woilu, as
it is now, anu as it might be.

To uate, no single exhibition has attempteu to exhibit the thiee cuiients that, in
theii uiffeientiation anu connecteuness, constitute contempoiaiy ait's ways of
woilu being--peihaps because this woulu be akin to mapping the woilu with a map
that woulu be inuistinguishable fiom the woilu itself. Some exhibitions, incluuing
!"# %&'()& *'+,#-.'/)/0 anu u0C0NENTA (1S), offei caiefully consiueieu
pioposals about ait's contempoianeity, that is, its cuiient woilu situateuness. They
explicitly question teims such as "global ait," oi "woilu ait," in favoi of ait that is, in
some stiong sense, "woiluy." To show such ait, anu at the same time show the
woilus in which it is being maue, has become ,"# challenge facing ambitious
exhibition-makeis touay. Ceitainly, it is the goal of those who woulu make an
exhibition that aspiies beyonu local significance.

Eveiyone embaiking on piojects of this kinu is acutely awaie of contioveisial
pieceuents, such as EF/3-3,3G34-H 3+ IJ
,"
*#+,B/0 8/,1 8553+3,3#4 '5 ,"# !/3()& )+:
K':#/+ (1984), K)?3@3#+4 :# &) ,#//# (1989) anu Bocumenta 11 (2uuu-2uu2). 12
}ust as impoitant has been the giounuwoik laiu in exhibitions that have, since 1989,
piofileu the majoi changes in ait in uiffeient paits of the woilu. These incluue (to
1S
name just one of a numbei fiom each continent, with a piefeience foi an exhibition
that tiaveleu) *3,3#4 '+ ,"# K'G#1 *'+,#-.'/)/0 843)+ )/, ), ,"# !B/+ '5 ,"# I;
4,

*#+,B/0 (1997-8), 85,#/ ,"# 9)&&1 8/, )+: *B&,B/# 3+ F'4,A*'--B+34, LB/'.# (1999),
M+G#/,#: N,'.3)41 8G)+,A%)/:# 8/, 3+ O),3+ 8-#/3@) (2uu4), anu 85/3@) 2#-3P1
*'+,#-.'/)/0 8/, '5 ) *'+,3+#+, (2uuS anu 2uu8). Each of these, along with many
otheis, has askeu: what is uistinctive about the contempoiaiy ait of oui iegion, how
uoes it ueiive fiom, bieak away fiom, oi stanu at an angle to, ait maue uuiing oui
moueinity, anu how uoes it ielate to "inteinational" (Westein, then tiansnational)
contempoiaiy ait. These aie ait ciitical, anu then ait histoiical, questions, to which
these exhibitions give cuiatoiial answeis. 14

The cuiatois of !"# %&'()& *'+,#-.'/)/0 insisteu that they wanteu to highlight the
impoitance of a "global piactice that has changeu contempoiaiy ait as iauically as
'new meuia' hau uone pieviously." 1S At ZKN, &'@B4 @&)443@B4, if theie is one, of new
meuia anu uigital ait, this claim has a stiong iesonance. Leaving asiue uebate about
whethei "new meuia" has, in fact, hau as iauical an impact as the compaiison
implies, this is a poweiful geneialization about contempoiaiy ait. A numbei of
contempoiaiy aitists explicitly state that achieving such a piactice is theii goal, anu
many, such as the RAQs Neuia Collective, aie among its most aiticulate theoiists. 16
Some have poseu it as a geneiality, foi example, Inuian cultuial theoiist anu cuiatoi
Nancy Auajania uiaws on Enwezoi's iuentification of a wiuespieau "will to
globality" on the pait of peoples eveiywheie to chaiacteiize "globalism" as "the
founuational piemise" of hei piactice, one that is "not meiely a ieaction to
globalisation, but as the auuacious anu positive ieflection of a uesiie to ielease the
cultuial self towaius otheis in a mannei that bypasses uepenuency anu embiaces
collaboiation, thus making foi a piouuctive cosmopolitanism." 17

The claim that the ait exhibiteu at Kailsiuhe uemonstiates the emeigence of a
"global piactice that has changeu contempoiaiy ait as iauically as 'new meuia' hau
uone pieviously" is a cuiatoiial, ciitical anu histoiical iuea as impoitant as any that
have been pioposeu in the past two uecaues. It is iuentical to that I make about
14
what I call the tiansnational tiansition: that, in the many ait-piouucing centeis in
the iest of the woilu outsiue Euioameiica, a vaiiety of local negotiations between
inuigeneity, tiauition, moueinity, anu globalization leu, fiist, to the foiging of
uistinct kinus of mouein ait, anu then, in aitistic exchanges within neaiby iegions
anu with uistant centeis, the emeigence of specific kinus of contempoiaiy ait. These
uevelopments have been unueiway since the 19Sus in Afiica, the 196us in Latin
Ameiica, the 197us in the Cential Beseit of Austialia, the 198us in Cential Euiope
anu China, the 199us in Southeast Asia, the 2uuus in Inuia anu the Niuule East, etc..
18 Taken togethei (theii sepaiate oiigins connecting into a woilu cuiient) they
amount to a substantial ieoiientation of the way ait is maue in the woilu: they claim
value foi the making visible of local issues anu they have become an impoitant way
in which both local anu global inequities aie ienegotiateu towaiu iespect foi
uiffeience. In uoing both, they aie aitists' contiibutions towaiu the coming-into-
being of what has been calleu a "new inteinationalism" oi a "cosmopolitan
aesthetic." 19

In moie geneial teims, we can see that in iecent yeais many suivey, biennial anu
mega-exhibitions have uemonstiateu that the seconu cuiient is a majoi foice in the
woilu's ait. 0f couise, theie aie many challenges facing aitists anu cuiatois who aie
active in this cuiient, not least is the seuuction of easy exoticism, the invitation to
fall foi aesthetic touiism of the 0thei, oi to simplify the local specificity of woik÷in
othei woius, to become the steieotype that unciitical auuiences in the West
instinctively uesiie. Yet these exhibitions have helpeu us see the shape of its flow
thiough the iegions that they tieateu anu in some of the nations that constitute each
iegion. They aleit us to the connections between iegions anu those that ieach acioss
to what weie once the colonial centeis. In some cases, these olu centeis iemain
impoitant foiums thiough which ait must pass to have inteinational puipoit. Yet
new ones constantly emeige, uiiven fiist by ait, with maikets following on behinu.
(If the ieveise occuis, as is happening the Niuule East at the moment, the maiket
soon ietieats.) Among the next steps to be taken by histoiians anu cuiatois is the
ieseaiching, staging anu ciiculation of ietiospectives of majoi aitists fiom the
1S
uecolonizing iegions who have maue bieakthioughs of woilu-pictuiing ielevance.
Foi example, Emily Kame Kngwaiiye anu El Anatsui. 2u

Some iemaiks in conclusion. I have uesciibeu what I believe to be the actual
situation of contempoiaiy ait within contempoiaiy conuitions. I am not auvocating
this state as uesiiable oi iueal--fai fiom it. I believe that we must move fiom the
piesent situation, in which a ciisis contempoianeity of conflicteu anu mutually
uestiuctive incommensuiabilities is the noim, to a state in which the planet anu
eveiyone anu eveiything on it can imagine a constiuctive mutuality baseu on an
inspiieu shaiing of oui uiffeiences. "Contempoianeity" anu "planetaiity" aie the
woius I have come to think shoulu be ieseiveu foi thoughts of this kinu. They open
us to the multiplicitous inteiactions thiough which we continuously make oui
woilus-with-the-Woilu, a woilu still being globalizeu at the same time that it moves,
quickly, beyonu globalization.


1. Key texts by these authois incluue }ohn A. Walkei (with Rita Batton),
CB.#/@'&&#@,'/1 8 */3,3QB# '5 *")/&#4 C)),@"3 (Lonuon: Ellipses, 2uuu); }ulian
Stallabiass, 8/, M+@'/.'/),#:1 !"# C,'/0 '5 *'+,#-.'/)/0 8/, (0xfoiu: 0xfoiu
0niveisity Piess, 2uu4); anu }onathan Baiiis eu., %&'()&3R),3'+ )+: *'+,#-.'/)/0
8/, (Lonuon: Wiley-Blackwell, 2u11).

2. Robeit Bughes, 6',"3+? M5 6', */3,3@)&1 C#&#@,#: L44)04 '+ 8/, )+: 8/,34,4 (Lonuon:
Baivill, 199u).

S. uiueon Rose, "Naking Noueinity Woik: The Reconciliation of Capitalism anu
Bemociacy," in uiueon Rose anu }onathan Teppeiman eus., !"# *&)4" '5 M:#)4 (New
Yoik: Foieign Affaiis, }anuaiy¡Febiuaiy 2u12), 2.

4. Teiiy Smith, 9"), 34 *'+,#-.'/)/0 8/,S (Chicago: Chicago 0niveisity Piess,
2uu9); anu Teiiy Smith, *'+,#-.'/)/0 8/,1 9'/&: *B//#+,4 (Lonuon: Lauience King;
16
0ppei Sauule Rivei, N}: Peaison¡Pientice Ball, 2u11). Ait histoiians inteiesteu in
histoiiogiaphy anu methouology might like to consult "The State of Ait Bistoiy:
Contempoiaiy Ait," 8/, TB&&#,3+, vol. XCII, no. 4 (Becembei 2u1u): S66-S8S.

S. See, foi example, Kobena Neicei eu., *'4-'.'&3,)+ K':#/+34-4 (Lonuon: Institute
of Inteinational visual Ait; Cambiiuge, Nass.: NIT Piess, 2uuS).

6. See, foi example, Chailotte Byuei, %&'()& 8/,7'/&: M+@U1 V+ ,"# %&'()&3R),3'+ '5
*'+,#-.'/)/0 8/, (0ppsala 0niveisity Piess, 2uu4), Petei Weibel anu Anuiea
Buuuenseig eus., *'+,#-.'/)/0 8/, )+: ,"# KB4#B-1 8 %&'()& F#/4.#@,3G#
(0stfiluein: Batje Cantz, 2uu7), Bans Belting anu Anuiea Buuuenseig eus., !"#
%&'()& 8/, 9'/&:1 8B:3#+@#4W K)/X#,4 )+: KB4#B-4 (0stfiluein: Batje Cantz, 2uu9);
Kitty Zijlmans anu Wilfieu van Bamme eus., 9'/&: 8/, C,B:3#41 LP.&'/3+? *'+@#.,4
)+: 8../')@"#4 (Amsteiuam: valiz, 2uu8); anu Amy }. Elias anu Chiistian Noiaiu
eus., !"# F&)+#,)/0 !B/+1 8/,W D3)&'?B# )+: %#')#4,"#,3@4 3+ ,"# I;
4,
*#+,B/0
(Evanstown, Il.: Noithwestein 0niveisity Piess, 2u1S).

7. Biscusseu in moie uetail in Teiiy Smith, "Cuiients of Woilu-Naking in
Contempoiaiy Ait," 9'/&: 8/,, vol. 1, no. 2 (2u11): 2u-S6. valuable essays by Ian
NcLean anu Naisha Neskimmon may also be founu in this issue.

8. 0n "contempoianeity" as a woilu-pictuiing teim, see Teiiy Smith, 0kwui
Enwezoi anu Nancy Conuee eus., 8+,3+'-3#4 '5 8/, )+: *B&,B/#1 K':#/+3,0W
F'4,-':#/+3,0W *'+,#-.'/)+#3,0 (Buiham, NC: Buke 0niveisity Piess, 2uu8).

9. The impact of this cuiient on the woilu as a whole has tuineu it into what 0kwui
Enwezoi names "The Postcolonial Constellation," see Smith, Enwezoi, Conuee eus.,
8+,3+'-3#4 '5 8/, )+: *B&,B/#1 K':#/+3,0W F'4,-':#/+3,0W *'+,#-.'/)+#3,0, 2u7-2S4 .

17
1u. Raymonu Williams, "Base anu Supeistiuctuie in Naixist Cultuial Theoiy," 6#7
O#5, 2#G3#7W vol. 1, no. 8 (Novembei-Becembei 197S): S-16; in }ohn Biggins eu., !"#
2)0-'+: 93&&3)-4 2#):#/ (0xfoiu: Blackwell, 2uu1), 1S8-178.

11. Fieuiic }ameson, !"# C##:4 '5 !3-# (New Yoik: Columbia 0niveisity Piess,
2uu4), xi-xii.

12. uayatii Chakiavoity Spivak, D#)," '5 ) D34@3.&3+# (New Yoik: Columbia
0niveisity Piess, 2uuS), 72.

1S. The euitoi of >'/#3?+ 855)3/4 is in no uoubt about the way things aie going: "The
much-ballyhooeu 'iise of the iest' has involveu not the uiscieuiting of the postwai
oiuei of Westein political economy but its ieinfoicement: the countiies that have
iisen have uone so by embiacing global capitalism while keeping some of it
uestabilizing attiibutes min check, anu have libeializeu theii polities anu societies
along the way (anu will founuei unless they continue to uo so)." uiueon Rose,
"Naking Noueinity Woik: The Reconciliation of Capitalism anu Bemociacy," 6.

14. I uevote a chaptei of !"3+X3+? *'+,#-.'/)/0 *B/),3+? (New Yoik: Inuepenuent
Cuiatois Inteinational, 2u12) to a suivey of exhibitions that have tackleu these
questions, incluuing the iemaikable numbei that have tiackeu feminist
contiibutions uuiing the past foui oi five uecaues. See Smith, !"3+X3+?
*'+,#-.'/)/0 *B/),3+?, chaptei 4.

1S. Bans Belting anu Anuiea Buuuensieg, "Intiouuction," !"# %&'()& *'+,#-.'/)/0,
exhibition guiue, ZKN Kailsiuhe, 2u11, 6.

16. See the link "piint" at http:¡¡www.iaqsmeuiacollective.net¡piint.aspx. Foi
example, the }anuaiy 2u12 uiscussion, "Bas the Noment of the Contempoiaiy Come
anu uone."

18
17. Nancy Auajania, "Time to Restage the Woilu: Theoiising a New anu Complicateu
Sense of Soliuaiity," in Niianua Wallace eu., I;
4,
*#+,B/01 8/, 3+ ,"# >3/4, D#@):#
(Biisbane: Queenslanu Ait galleiy¡ualleiy of Nouein Ait, 2u1u), 222-229. Foi the
inteinal quotation, see 0kwui Enwezoi, "The Black Box," in D'@B-#+,) ;;1 F&),5'/-
Y (0stfiluein-Ruit: Batje Cantz, 2uu2), 42.

18. I tiack them in the cential chapteis of *'+,#-.'/)/0 8/,1 9'/&: *B//#+,4.

19. INIvA (the Institute foi Inteinational visual Aits) has aigueu the fiist since the
199us; Naisha Neskimmon piofiles the lattei in hei book *'+,#-.'/)/0 8/, )+: ,"#
*'4-'.'&3,)+ M-)?3+),3'+ (Lonuon: Routleuge, 2u1u). See also Nikos
Papasteigiauis, *'4-'.'&3,)+34- )+: *B&,B/# (Lonuon: Polity Piess, 2u12).

2u. See, foi example, N,'.3)1 !"# %#+3B4 '5 L-3&0 Z)-# Z+?7)//#0#, National Ait
Centei, Tokyo, anu Nuseum of Austialia, Canbeiia, 2uu8; L& 8+),4B31 9"#+ M O)4,
9/',# ,' ['B 8('B, 85/3@), Royal 0ntaiio Nuseum, Toionto, 2u1u. Foi my ieview of
the lattei, see 6X)1 \'B/+)& '5 85/3@)+ 8/,, no. 28 (Spiing 2u11): 142-4S; foi an essay
on Emily Kame Kngwaiieye, see "Kngwaiieye Woman Abstiact Paintei," in }ennifei
Isaacs, eu., L-3&0 Z)-# Z+?7)//#0# (Syuney: Ciaftsman Bouse, 1998).