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To Walk on Worn-out Soles: The 2005 International Istanbul Biennial and the Global Drift of Twenty-First Century Art


This dissertation draws upon the curatorial tenets of Istanbul, the 2005 Istanbul Biennial. The dissertation aims to make observations about visual art reception in the early twenty-first century. To this end, the focus is audience: namely, how it collectively absorbs and formulates meaning when faced with art in offsite exhibitions removed from the traditional enclosure of the art museum. Audience members in urban exhibitions such as 2005's Istanbul Biennial resemble older forms of urban wandering central to history modern art, embodied in the figure of the flaneur. As Istanbul exemplifies the globalized visual art distribution system by the cultivating an ambulant and recurrent audience, it also characterizes visual art's progressive elements. Istanbul stands as a model for how itinerant communities and unconventional exhibitions can displace artworks themselves as primary resources. Unlike art movements defined by historical objects, the affective dispersal of reception has redefined contemporary art in the last two decades.

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