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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Istanbul Next Wave and Other Turkish Art Exhibits: From Governance of Culture to Governance through Culture

  • Author(s): Wolbert, Barbara
  • et al.

Exhibited from November 12, 2009, through January 17, 2010, three art shows under the common title Istanbul Next Wave introduced a newly narrated Turkish history of modern art to German audiences. This Turkish intervention, which led to unprecedented curatorial co-operations by established German and Turkish institutions of contemporary art, is juxtaposed with other Istanbul exhibits from the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, such as Urbane Realitäten – Focus Istanbul, berlin . istanbul . vice . versa, and Call me ISTANBUL ist mein Name, in order to examine the controversies, negotiations, and collaborations that defined recent presentations of Turkish artists’ work in Germany. In a diachronic approach focusing on questions of interventions, this article thus inquires into this particular strand of the history of exhibiting contemporary art in Germany, going back to the early displays of works by Turkish artists in the 1970s and 1980s. Layer by layer, it examines the intricate relations between the presentation of Turkish art and the representation of Turks in Germany, which have done more than merely reflecting, shaping, and molding audiences’ receptions, reviews in the media, and public debates at large. The paper aims at evaluating Turkish art interventions in Germany in relation to processes of Europeanization.

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