Paperback144 PagesSize: 200 × 130 mm
14 B&W illustrations
ISBN: 9781848223882Publication: July 01, 2021
Series: New Directions in Contemporary Art

'Seen as both symptoms of globalization and incubators of its critique, biennials have become the most significant form of contemporary exhibition-making. Niemojewski’s accessible survey takes us on a highly readable grand tour, taking in all the key issues and developments since 1989 – from Havana to Yokohama, Sharjah to Sydney, Moscow to Mercosul.' Claire Bishop, Professor, PhD Program in Art History, CUNY Graduate Center, New York


The Exhibitions we Love to Hate

Rafal Niemojewski


  • Offers a first-of-its-kind assessment of the contemporary biennial, simultaneously looking at its proliferation and its critical reception

Biennials: The Exhibitions We Love to Hate examines one of the most signi­ficant recent transitions in the contemporary-art world: the proliferation of large-scale international recurrent survey shows of contemporary art, commonly referred to as contemporary biennials. Since the mid-1980s biennials have been instrumental in shaping curating as an autonomous practice. They have also been responsible for substantially reconfi­guring the art world and disrupting the existing value chain of the art market, which now relies on biennials as much as it does on major museums’ acquisitions and exhibitions.

At the same time, the arrival of new biennials in various parts of the world has also been associated with some of the most palpable side-effects of globalization. Branded by some critics as dollar-generating leisure events and showcases for highly consumable works of art, biennials have been repeatedly accused of homogenizing artistic and curatorial practices and leading to a certain fatigue. This publication makes an essential contribution to a fascinating cultural debate.

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