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The booming global market of contemporary art

Thomas Fillitz

The present economic and financial crises do not seem to particularly influence the global art market of contemporary art. In an attempt to understand this apparent opposition, I adopt a macro perspective, combining my own research ventures in Dakar and Vienna with general art market studies. I argue that this market is a special representation of millennial capitalism (Comaroff and Comaroff 2001). The global art market puts in place an organization of diversity that allows a high flexibility in including specific centers and marginalizing others, as well as a special focus on a globally acting group of “ultra high net worth” individuals. Striking features are the concentration of capital flows to a few major centers, the constitution of complex, transnational networks, the dominant logics for each market field (gambling, glamour, moral economy), and the diversification of the commodity character of the work of art.

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Anthropological Approaches to the Istanbul Biennial of Contemporary Art

Danila Mayer

The Istanbul Biennial (IB) editions, as cultural events for the wider region and the Middle East, are examined in this article with regard to their relevance for art and artists and their interactions with their host city. Biennials of contemporary art, as main exhibition events of the present, and the urban transformations of Istanbul form the context of the research. Biennials, including the IB, often address controversial topics. Accordingly, the discrepancy between the critical stance of curators and artists, as well as the uses that a Biennial is subjected to by various interest groups, has to be taken under scrutiny.

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Anthropology and discourses on global art

Thomas Fillitz

The notion of ‘global art’ acknowledges that there are major changes in the art worlds‐network, and refers to new concepts of contemporary art and art worlds. The anthropology of art, however, has participated in a limited way in these art theoretical debates, although it could fruitfully contribute to them. This article discusses one major issue of global art using three ethnographic examples from Francophone West Africa: how to analyse the local specificity of contemporary art?

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From the Margins to the Center

The São Paulo Biennial, the Biennale of Sydney, and the Istanbul Biennial

Rebecca Coates

This article explores the continuing evolution of biennials, particularly those outside the traditional European/North American “centers”. From their early beginnings in Venice in 1895, biennials have become one of the most vital and visible sites for the production, distribution, and discussion of contemporary art. A “third wave” of biennials in the 1980s was part of a growing focus on a global “south”, and played a key role in redefining notions of center and periphery in the global contemporary art world. This article shows how the São Paulo, Sydney, and Istanbul biennials were part of these trends toward the “biennialization” of contemporary art, mass spectatorship, the interweaving of the global and the local, and the rise of a generation of nomadic curators and artists whose work exemplified these themes. It argues that the most recent editions of these biennials may reflect a further shift in the evolution of the biennial model: a possible fourth wave, where the biennial provides an international platform for local politics.

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The Mining of History, Cognitive Disorder and Spiritualism in Olivia Plender’s A Stellar Key to the Summerland

Dan Smith

work is exhibited, shown and discussed in mainstream contemporary art fora, and who have also made use of the form. One facet of this use of comics in British contemporary art can be identified in the work of David Blandy, which is orientated towards

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The Misrepresentation of Hong Kongness

The Revamped Hong Kong Museum of Art

Vennes Cheng

city's contemporary art in 1992 at the HKMoA. In a review written by in Cross Border , Jin Rizin (1992) commented on the introduction to the exhibition catalogue, which failed to address the position of art in dealing with sociopolitical changes

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Pushing the Boundaries

Curating LuYang, a Global Artist Embedded in Local Situatedness

Nora Gantert and Malte Lin-Kröger

institutional art circuit with its biennials, institutions, residencies, talks, and other multifold hybrid formats. His art is reviewed by leading media in the contemporary art scene and major international media in general. He has gallery representations in

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Fillitz, Thomas and Paul van der Grijp (eds.) 2018. An anthropology of contemporary art: practices, markets, and collectors. London: Bloomsbury. 272 pp. Pb.: £22.49. ISBN: 9781350016231.

Melanie Janet Sindelar

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Collaged Culture

Larissa Mellor


This article explores the relationship between my cultural inheritance and its impact on my work as a visual artist. Questions in the work related to language and geography are tied to my lived experience. These themes led me to explore the contemporary context of German clubs in the United States. I found the art process of collage – cutting and pasting to rearrange parts on a surface – to be an apt visual for the position of the German clubs today, arriving at the term ‘collaged culture’. Similarities between visual art and life reveal that both carry histories. By investigating the relationships between these, we can better perceive the current state of the work of art.

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The Value of Ecocriticism?

Kaitlin Mondello

Modern and Contemporary Art and Literature. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. In an era of worsening climate crisis, the role of ecocriticism in literary study and beyond has become an increasingly urgent debate. Two recent scholarly works weigh in on this