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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Biennial Places: Reciprocity, Expertise, and the Expansion of the Global Contemporary Art Industry

  • Author(s): Checa-Gismero, Paloma
  • Advisor(s): Kester, Grant
  • Wardwell, Mariana
  • et al.
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What institutional forms sustain aesthetic colonization today? How do they contribute to Western cultural hegemony? What social groups benefit from this phenomenon? This dissertation evaluates how three biennial exhibitions of contemporary art helped expand the Euro-American art complex to the U.S./Mexico borderlands, Cuba, and Eastern Europe in the 1990s. It analyses the discourses of international solidarity and forms of local recognition behind la Bienal de La Habana, InSITE, and Manifesta, during the forge of supra-national polities in their regions. This study argues that new forms of cosmopolitan curatorial expertise developed art organizations that often acted as institutional outposts of the Euro-American avant-garde and colonized aesthetic regimes hitherto autonomous from its legacy. In my dissertation I show how, although the globalization of the contemporary art industry was sustained in situated forms of social reciprocity in Havana, San Diego/Tijuana, and Rotterdam, the industry ultimately failed to amplify for global audiences the aesthetic traditions upheld at the local level.

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This item is under embargo until June 24, 2021.