Reference to a "Grand tour," a country outing of noblemen in the 18th century. The costumes are tailored from printed African cloth."
AimsToday’s lecture will be looking at the intersection of art and globalisation The impact of globalisation upon contemporary visual art and its socio-cultural spheres of production, circulation, and consumption. Two major issues of globalisation are communication as the driving force of social change, and increasing dependence on mobility.Whilst our focus on globalisation is from an art-historical art art-practice sense of the term it clearly refers to the whole organisation of societies beyond art. These forces – as we will see – originated mainly from the West, that is to say Europe and the US, and they have spread and dominated partly through centuries of Western colonialism and imperial conquest.Origin/development/impactAnd globalisation isn’t a new phenomenon:Two historical examples might be globalisations impact on the world’s religions for instance Christianity as a belief system which has been globalised since it was adopted by the Roman Empire which then disseminated it around Europe and then following the rise of European nationalism and colonisation it spread worldwide.A second example is Communism which became a global phenomenon in the 20th century.These are just two instances but it illustrates the point that there are clearly a myriad of examples of globalisation that can be found in the past.Globalisation is a key theory that has emerged since the collapse of the Eastern Block. Most recently, the world wide growth in 'Biennials' has provided the most obvious evidence of the radical changes which have been taking place in the global economies of contemporary art practice. In the past 15 years or so we have seen biennales springing up in for example Istanbul and Johannesburg. So the “international” is no longer what the traditional art centres can aspire to, but equally available to every culture in the world.Alongside this imposing phenomenon of globalisation we have also saw the rise of nationalisms and claims to specific cultural identity. Questions of identity and identification have frequently been raised since the fall of the Berlin Wall, in reaction to the collapse of the old hierarchies and the ideologies of the past.
In order to explore the impact of globalisation on art it might also be useful to understand the difference between ‘globalisation’ and ‘globalism’. Globalisation is mechanism that tries to chain and connect the planet together whereas globalism is an attempt to make sense of it or even counteract it.Globalism, at its core, seeks to describe and explain nothing more than a world which is characterized by networks of connections that span multi-continental distances. It attempts to understand all the inter-connections of the modern world — and to highlight patterns that underlie (and explain) them.In contrast, globalisation refers to the increase or decline in the degree of globalism. It focuses on the forces, the dynamism or speed of these changes. In short, consider globalism as the underlying basic network, it describes the reality of being interconnected, while globalisation refers to the dynamic shrinking of distance on a large scale and captures the speed at which these connections increase — or decrease.
Along side issues related to globalisation national identity can be seen to underpin the ideas and the work of many artists since the end of the 1980’s and more so has been a major influence on curators. Recently the 2006 British Art Show 6 curators also debated the impact of issues of NATIONALITY AND INTERNATIONALISM. “Exhibitions delimited by nationality, continents and other geographical demarcations have been subject to vigorous critique over the last few years, for many of the right reasons. In a cosmopolitan art world, in which artists travel to make work and take part in exhibitions, the fact an artist is British, Brazilian or Chinese is of diminishing significance. To compare artists from the perspective of their geographical origins is often to emphasise the most superficial aspects of their practice. The approach is fraught with the perils of reductiveness and stereotyping.”(FARQUHARSON, ALEX and Andreas Schlieker, British Art Show 6, 2005, P12)
What is globalization? So what is globalisation?I thought it would be a good idea to begin with this description of the process of globalisation by Anthony Giddens, who is one of the main proponents of globalisation debates,This quote is taken from his 1998 book The Third Way. The concept of globalisation is one of the most discussed subjects, not only in art but in political, economical and academic debates, and refers to the worldwide diffusion of practices, expansion of relations across continents, organisation of social life on a global scale, and grown of a shared global consciousness. Globalisation is not just expansion of capitalism and opening of financial markets round the world. The economical part of globalisation is surely important and perhaps the easiest to notice, but according to Giddens globalisation is concerned with the organization and transformation of time and space in our lives.Globalisation has a long history of development, over thousands of years of continental patterns of migration, cross border trade, conquest and cultural borrowings.However, since 1945 the pace and depth of globalisation has increased in economic, cultural, ideological and political terms.The world today is increasingly globalised and interconnected, yet also ever more precarious, as old certainties – historical, ideological and material – give way to pervasive threats of climate change, economic collapse, war, and terrorism.The 2008 sub-prime mortgage default was the trigger that set off the worldwide economic collapse as a number of investment banks collapsed in the US, and banks in the UK and Europe rapidly became destabilized….the world has become financially and materially interdependent. Most people come to know about events like these via media sources linked to global communications – TV and internet – this indicates that globalisation and our knowledge of globalisation are bound up together.The world is becoming much smaller due to advancements in information and communication technologies. Globalization is the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole. It is a process leading to greater interdependence and interconnection between the global and the local, the universal and the particular It is characterised by the increased mobility of money, commodities and people across the frontiers of nation-states. While these movements are as old as human history, what makes globalisation different today is the speed with which these international transactions, distributions and migrations occur.When we talk of globalization today the tendency is to think as if it were a new phenomenon
Globalisation is often employed to connote the character of advanced capitalism – it has become synonymous with Americanisation/Westernisation/Imperialism which highlights the dominance, still, of European and Western interest throughout the world. Biennials play an increasingly important role in sanctioning reputations and propagating trends.Most of the artists present are represented by major, commercial galleries.Biennials don’t establish alternative poles in the art world; they extend the reach of old nerve centres of the West. In effect they fill a vacuum left by the museum, which has been slower than commercial galleries to respond to the rise of global market in art.To many living outside Europe and North America it is deemed as Westernisation or Americanisation since most of the visible cultural expressions of globalisation are American e.g. Coca-cola, McDonalds. It can be viewed as something that the developing countries play little or no part in. It can be considered as destroying local cultures, widening world inequalities.these associations of the term with cultural and economic neo-imperialism spawned, particularly in the course of the 1990s, an ‘anti-globalization’ movement – or more precisely, some sort of alignment of various interest groups against the globalizing establishment.
Political Left: Sceptics, dispute globalisation claiming that the global economy is not very different from that which existed previously and that most countries only gain a small amount of their income from external trade since most economic exchange is between regions rather than being world-wide e.g. trading between countries in the European Union, or trading within other blocs such as those of the Asia Pacific or North Africa.Political Right: Radicals argue that the consequences of globalisation can be felt everywhere and the global market is indifferent to national borders. They claim that nations have lost most of their sovereignty, politicians have lost most of their capabilities to influence events, and that the era of the nation state is over.The Left, claim that globalisation is a myth because this allows them to maintain that governments can still intervene in economic life. They claim that globalisation is an idea proliferated by free marketeers who want to dismantle the welfare system and reduce state expenditures. They point out that in the late 19thc there was already an open global economy, with a great deal of trade.The academic term to cover these approaches to globalisation is ‘postmodern geographies”, a termwhichtheorises aboutspace and environment, its a discipline that is primarily concerned with the way in which a shift toward a globalised perspective might shift how we interact with spaces and also to our political position in relation to these changes.Postmodern geographies is a conflation of different possibilities and is often used to discuss these kinds of positions since there’s a plurality of positions that might be taken, that is to say that there’s no idea of simple battle between left and right when discussing globalisation, that kind of polarity ended for postmodern geographers with the end of communism, so there’s no overall paradigm from a political point of view that we can map onto this particular way of looking at the world. Globalisation and artToday, contemporary art is a global phenomenon. Biennales, museums, art fairs, galleries, auction houses, academies and audiences for contemporary visual art are all institutions whose presence on a global scale has widened tremendously during the past two decades. Another aspect of globalisation on arts is border.consider the role and impact of art and artist in an increasingly borderless world.the impact of globalization upon contemporary visual art and its socio-cultural spheres of production, circulation, and consumption. technology, activism and culture. how we curate culture through networks growing complexity of the art business and its relationship to globalisation. One of the most important factors to affect contemporary art has been cultural and economic globalisation. Increasingly, international art exhibitions draw their contents from all over the world, and artists address a wide range of subjects relating to this developing situation.
Looking at the historical precedents for the relation of western art to the rest of the world.In terms of the origins of globalisation and the impact on artists…There is a long history of artists ‘borrowing’, appropriating and stealing inspiration, source material and imagery from other cultures. This tended to be a one-way street (i.e. Europe ‘borrowed’ from ‘exotic’ cultures) rather than true cross-cultural fertilisation. These developments accelerated in the 19th century with Industrialisation – expanded trade networks, faster transportation, the rise of printed mass media and art magazines, mechanical reproduction of images, the growth of museums and large-scale exhibitions and World Fairs and so on all worked to ‘shrink’ the world and spread ideas and images world-wide.
- Artist collecting non western works and took inspiration from them, though the art of the indigenous populations did not figure prominently in this context. Picasso’s appropriation of the African mask is one example of hybrid forms of expression that beg, borrow and steal from elsewhere. In doing so they raise the question about the significance of power relations in doing so.This highlights that it is important to avoid assumptions that everyone regardless of culture makes the same reading of a symbol, image or icon etc
In 1978 Edward Said published his book Orientalism.Here he identifies that Orientalism in one form or another dates from at least the eighteenth century, and then resurfaced prominently in early modern art with the efforts of Gauguin, Picasso, and Expressionists everywhere who endeavoured to enact forms of exoticism and primitivism as routes to a more authentic Western consciousness – a search that provided only further stereotypes of the white mind’s desire to escape itself in fantasies of the oriental, the native, and the natural.The notion of universality is a European invention. As asserted by Edward Said, Europe had only considered its own culture and its peculiar expressions as universal in contrast with the so-called indigenous cultures, considered as regional phenomena. Since the 19th century, art and culture were comprehended through a euro-centric point of view, while the claim for universality made this eurocentricity unconscious for most people.
Eurocentricism – the purported superiority of ‘Western Art’The notion of universality is a European invention. As asserted by Edward Said, Europe had only considered its own culture and its peculiar expressions as universal in contrast with the so-called indigenous cultures, considered as regional phenomena. Since the 19th century, art and culture were comprehended through a euro-centric point of view, while the claim for universality made this eurocentricity unconscious for most people.considers some historical precedents for the relation of western art to the art of the rest of the world. In particular the early 20th century avant-gardist notion of 'the primitive' and the break-up of this idea in the later 20th centuryMajor challenge…Magicians of the Earth (Magiciens de la terre) was an exhibition at the Pompidiou Centre in Paris in 1989 curated by Jean-Hubert Martin and was intended to counteract ethnocentric practices within the contemporary art world and confront problems presented by several exhibitions that perpetuated a colonialist mentality, the most recent being the show having been, “Primitivism” in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Many critics condemned the “Primitivism” show, as it fell into a similar Modernist trap of providing only a pure aesthetization of the work of native cultures. “Primitivism” stated that it was only interested in displaying tribal works that influenced Modern artists and studying how this phenomenon functioned within the Modernist discourse. Many of the tribal works were presented alongside Modernist works when little or no historical evidence of these works drawing inspiration from specific “Primitive” works or, in some cases, even a “Primitive” idiom.Magiciens de la Terre (1989) in Paris was the significant point that diversified contemporary art world, where 50 western artists and 50 artists from non-western traditions shared equal billing within the postcolonial frame of the exhibition.
There remains a legacy of European Imperialism - that has existed since the Renaissance – that defined the west as ‘civilized’ and non-western peoples as ‘primitive
Legacy of Eurocentric standardsWatch documentary on line that traces the rise of both Asian and Western civilization in one global perspective
The biennale culture now determines much of the art world.Over the last 20 years a number of new biennials have been established and the older biennials have, by all accounts, played an increasingly important role in sanctioning tendencies, entrenching reputations and directing debate in the art world. Biennials play an increasingly important role in sanctioning reputations and propagating trends.Most of the artists present are represented by major, commercial galleries.Biennials don’t establish alternative poles in the art world; they extend the reach of old nerve centres of the West. In effect they fill a vacuum left by the museum, which has been slower than commercial galleries to respond to the rise of global market in art.This trend has not always been well received. Some criticise the biennials on curatorial grounds, maintaining that they are too large and multivalent to offer a coherent experience, while others argue that they are a force for homogenisation – that they pay lip-service to site-specificity and inclusiveness while showing broadly the same band of well-travelled artists. If ‘globalisation’ implies the creation of a single system within the world, one that erodes pre-existing though still active localised systems, then the same must be hypothetically true of the contemporary art world if it has become part of this system? [p9]Often present works that respond to generalised themes such as ‘diversity’, and ‘multiculturalism’
Global Style?The idea that globalisation has produced some radical homogenisation in life that flattens and reduces human experiences and values is certainly a common judgement on so called ‘global art’ or an 'International Style’. This refers to a formulaic style of painting or video installation work for example that that is produced by artists who are endlessly crossing the continents to exhibit at biennales, directed at the same group of dealers, curators and gallerists.The main criticism directed at such work is that they simply appear to be the same in any kind of location. In response to the blandness of such 'airport art', many Biennials have recently sought to encourage a direct 'engagement' with the 'cultural specifics' of their location.
The rise of biennials and globalisation has contributed to the creation of a generation of plugged-in artists who are unfettered by geography. As has the ease of travel due to open borders and for a period, low air fares, resulting in the art world itself being less bound to its traditional capitals. This is manifestly clear with dozens of international biennials which now the calendar. All this has raised questions about the ways in which contemporary artists deal with issues of mobility and attachment. What sort of place does art connote if it is constantly evoking the shuttling between places? So if we accept that the authority and permeability of borders and the transgression of national confines, of geographical limits and of specific cultural identities is an essential issue of contemporary life and art, then central to this is the question; what does it mean to be a nation in an era of globalisation when we might expect that the physical/geographical bases of marginality may have become increasingly fluid and uncertain.Thomas Hirshhorn’s World AirportThe image of the airport, and transportation systems in general, conveys the expediency of the markets, placenessness, immigration and tourism.Citizenship of the artworld is measured by frequent-flier air miles, suggesting that the activities that constitute the art world are indivisible from the activities of globalisation.
This is due to the fact that artworks, whether contemporary or historical, cannot be adequately understood in isolation from the societies in which they were produced.Several exhibitions have called for attention to the globalization of contemporary art and the emergence of a global art world which has inherent contradictions, being seen as homogenized and diversified, expanding and contracting. Globalization may also signal a general relativism, (relativism being in direct opposition to universalism), this is the position that claims that spectacular international biennials prefigure the end of the hegemony of the USA and Western Europe in contemporary arts.SituationArtists, such as Jeremy Deller, Francis Alys and Santego Sierraare revisiting the notions of site and space to underline the increasing importance of situations. Situation—a unique set of conditions produced in both space and time and ranging across material, social, political, and economic relations—has become a key concept in twenty-first-century art. These concerns are rooted in artistic practices of the 1960s and 1970s,however the idea of situation has evolved and transcended these in the current context of globalization. In the work of these artist the situation where the the work is created is no longer the context but the definitive feature of the artwork.
Photographyin an era of increasingly global capitalist production, photographers have become more and more preoccupied with documenting social spaces…the kinds of places represented in this work represent a substantial challenge to one of the central myths of globalisation theory - namely, that the world is increasingly becoming the same.Andreas Gursky’s photography depicts this estranging modern society. On the other hands, many argue that local characters will adapt to Internationale style and distinguish themselves from it. Images…brims with the confidence of a successful globalised economy, purged of labour, and saturated in money and leisure time,
Globalisation and art
CONTEMPORARY ARTAND GLOBALISATION Deborah Jackson
Aims• Today’s lecture will be looking at theintersection of art and globalisation•The impact of globalisation uponcontemporary visual art and its socio-culturalspheres of production, circulation, andconsumption
‘Globalisation’ and ‘Globalism’• Globalisation is a mechanism that tries to chainand connect to planet together whereasglobalism is an attempt to make sense of it oreven counteract it• In contrast, globalisation refers to the increaseor decline in the degree of globalism. It focuseson the forces, the dynamism or speed of thesechanges
“Exhibitions delimited by nationality,continents and other geographicaldemarcations have been subject tovigorous critique over the last few years,for many of the right reasons. In acosmopolitan art world, in which artiststravel to make work and take part inexhibitions, the fact an artist is British,Brazilian or Chinese is of diminishingsignificance. To compare artists from theperspective of their geographical origins isoften to emphasise the most superficialaspects of their practice. The approach isfraught with the perils of reductivenessand stereotyping.” Hew Locke(FARQUHARSON, ALEX and ANDREAS Black Queen (2004)SCHLIEKER, BRITISH ART SHOW 6, 2005, P12)
The concept of globalisation is one of the mostdiscussed subjects, not only in art but inpolitical, economical and academic debates, andrefers to the worldwide diffusion ofpractices, expansion of relations acrosscontinents, organisation of social life on a globalscale, and grown of a shared global consciousness.Globalisation is not just expansion of capitalism andopening of financial markets round the world. Theeconomical part of globalisation is surely importantand perhaps the easiest to notice, but according toleading globalization theorist Anthony Giddensglobalisation is most of all transformation of time andspace in our lives.See Giddens, Anthony. The Third Way - The Renewal of Social Democracy.Cornwall: Polity Press, 1998
Cooperation or CorporationGlobalisation is often employed to connote the character of advanced capitalism
What is Globalisation?Left critics of globalisation Political Right: Radicals arguedefine the word quite that the consequences ofdifferently, presenting it as globalisation can be feltworldwide drive toward a everywhere and the globalglobalized economic system market is indifferent to nationaldominated by supranational borders. They claim thatcorporate trade and banking nations have lost most of theirinstitutions that are not sovereignty, politicians haveaccountable to democratic lost most of their capabilities toprocesses or national influence events, and that thegovernments. era of the nation state is over.
The Origins of Globalisation and the impact on artistsThere is a long history of artists ‘borrowing’, appropriatingand stealing inspiration, source material and imagery fromother cultures. This tended to be a one-way street(i.e. Europe ‘borrowed’ from ‘exotic’ cultures) rather thantrue cross-cultural fertilisation. These developmentsaccelerated in the 19th century with Industrialisation –expanded trade networks, faster transportation, the rise ofprinted mass media and art magazines, mechanicalreproduction of images, the growth of museums andlarge-scale exhibitions and World Fairs and so on allworked to ‘shrink’ the world and spread ideas and imagesworld-wide.
Picassio in his studio, Detail: New CaledonialOceanic Display 1908. Note New roof fiial figure from(detail), Trocadero Caledonian Picasso’s collection andMuseum, Paris, 1895 (Melanesia) figures Picasso’s Portrait of behind him Henry Kahnweiler (detail), 1910
Picasso, Sitting Nude, 19 Mask from Baule in Ivory Coast
Eurocentricism – the purported superiority of ‘Western Art’ Paddy Jupurrurla Nelson et al.Ground Sculpture installed in Magiciens dela terreExhibition 1989 with Richard Long’s Mud Circle on the Wall
Legacy of Eurocentric standardsThere remains a legacy of European Imperialism - that has existedsince the Renaissance – that defined the west as ‘civilized’ and non-western peoples as ‘primitive’
Legacy of Eurocentric standardsCultural Borrowing in World of Legacy: The Origins ofWarcraft CivilizationThe visual iconography of the horderaces suggests real-world cultures http://topdocumentaryfilms.co(e.g. totems, tents, face paint), and m/legacy-the-origins-of-the horde in general are portrayed as civilization/"primitive."
“Biennials produce press releases and catalogues that constantly recyclethe same buzzwords, ‘exchange’, ‘dialogue’ and ‘hybridity’ among them.What they don’t say is that in the profusion of the biennial these termsbecome almost meaningless. In Venice, diversity comes across asdispersal, as flattening out.”Marcus Verhagen, Biennale Inc, Art Monthly, June 05
Thomas HirschhornWorld-Airport(1999) VeniceBiennale)
“It has been said that arguing againstglobalization is like arguing against the laws ofgravity.” Kofi Annan “Globalization, as defined by rich people like us,is a very nice thing…you are talking about theinternet, you are talking about cell phones, youare talking about computers. This doesn’t affecttwo-thirds of the people of the world.”
Further ReadingJames Elkins (Author, Editor), ZhivkaValiavicharska(Editor), Alice Kim (Editor) Art and Globalization(Stone Art Theory InstitutesBaudrillard, J. (1994), Simulacra and Simulation,trans. S, Glaser, Michigan: The University of MichiganPressGlobalisation is Good - Johan Norberg onGlobalizationhttp://youtu.be/12YDLZq8rT4