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.
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.
Zeynep Kılıç and Jennifer Petzen
This article invites scholars of race and migration to look at the visual arts more closely within the framework of comparative race theory. We argue that within a neoliberal multicultural context, the marketing of art relies on the commodification and circulation of racial categories, which are reproduced and distributed as globalized racial knowledge. This knowledge is mediated by the racial logic of neoliberal multiculturalism. Specifically, we look at the ways in which the global art market functions as a set of racialized and commodified power relations confronting the “migrant“ artist within an orientalizing curatorial framework.