ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
Room of Histories

Of Mediating in the Global Age


The conference Curating in Asia, ZKM_Media Theater. Image: Felix Gruenschloss. © ZKM

A Review by Sara Giannini.

The conference Curating in Asia (ZKM, 09-10.12.2011) was a follow up of the workshop that the research program Global Art and the Museum had held in Hong Kong in collaboration with the Goethe Institute in 2009. The challenging task to frame curating in Asia in many cases brought the discussion to the topic’s very theoretical foundations. The audience was able to witness a tendency – which is perhaps symptomatic of a deeper need – to find definitions and metaphors for a contemporary figure oscillating between being an organizer, an interpreter, a communicator, an author and even an artist. Continue reading ...


Deterritorialized Complexity – Visualizing Artworlds after 1989


Stewart Smith, Robert Pietrusko, Bernd Lintermann »trans_actions: The Accelerated Art World 1989–2011«, 2011. Video: © ZKM

Throughout the world biennales have been literally mushrooming over the last two decades. Whereas, in the mid-1980s there were six Biennales of contemporary art, today over 150 of them form a densely-knit network spanning across the world, which constitutes what is influential, interesting and relevant in today’s art scenes. Hence, commissioned by the ZKM Institute for Visual Media, Stewart Smith, Robert Gerard Pietrusko and Bernd Lintermann have collected and evaluated data on the temporal and spatial development of the Biennale system before going on to visualize it in trans_actions: The Accelerated Art World 1989–2011 (2011) on an eight- meter wide, three-meter high panorama screen. With this, trans_actions makes it clear that what we today call the global art world is, in fact, a conglomeration of globally recruited artists, globally active curators, disparate art markets and a concurrently emerging biennale landscape. Continue Reading ...


„Change the System!“ – Rasheed Araeen‘s Third Text Journal


Cover Scans of Third Text Journal. Rasheed Araeen's »The Reading Room, 1979–2011« introduces exhibition visitors to the

art magazine.

For those who may have asked themselves why The Global Contemporary has dedicated an entire reading space to the Third Text Journal, here is a brief history of the magazine and a few selected reasons as to why it plays a central role for the definition of a global contemporary art. Continue Reading ...


Face the Facts: 1989 & the Arts


Art in America, July 1989, The Global Issue. The issue included statements of 14 artists about the 'advent of a new global

post-modern visual culture'. Magazine cover scan.

When reviewing the events of the year 1989, a great number of images spring to mind: perhaps it is the day when Günter Schabowski accidentally declared the Berlin Wall open, or the uprising in South Africa prior to the reforms that led to the collapse of the apartheid regime. One could not but think of the end of the Cold War, and there may even be a few who recall Nintendo’s release of the first GAME BOY. But who has ever considered the year 1989 as a turning point for the arts? Continue reading ...


Is Art Forever Contemporary? 1989 and the Globalization of Art


Yto Barrada »TECTONIC«, 2004/2010, Wooden model with movable continents. Installation view. Picture: © Yto Barrada

When did we start to refer to art as being 'contemporary'? After modern art ceased being contemporary? And at what point does contemporary become historic? During the 20th century, the understanding of art was based on a conception of art history that made it possible to refer to art in terms of a clear timeline of styles. In this sense, each work of art could be related to a certain point in history, either by way of a response or else in contrast to what had already become established in art. However, now, one may observe, this idea is no longer relevant for contemporary art. Were we to cast back in time in order to address something as apparently paradoxical as the 'history of the contemporary', we would then find ourselves in the 1980s, the era in which globalization first became a buzzword. Continue reading ...